M+E Daily

Third–Gen Apple TV Brings 1080p Content Home

By Lyndsey Schaefer

While consumers focused on Apple’s much-hyped release of its new 4-G compatible iPad, the company also released an upgraded Apple TV streaming set-top box featuring FullHD 1080p resolution and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio, providing an easy, direct link to its iCloud and iTunes services.

The new Apple TV goes on sale for $99 on March 16, and includes streaming services available through the device, including iTunes, Netflix and Vimeo. Now, consumers can join Netflix directly from an Apple TV, and use iTunes billing. This marks the first time Netflix has allowed billing for its services to be controlled by another company. Current Netflix users can log in using their Netflix credentials to stream videos, although it isn’t clear if it users will be able to transfer an existing Netflix account to iTunes billing, or if an account created on AppleTV would allow you to watch on other devices.
Netflix also said that most of its HD programs could be streamed in 1080p, and Apple is also introducing full HD versions for much of the content available through iTunes. Apple advises a connection faster than 8Mbps for watching 1080p content. The Apple TV interface also features a choice of preferred video quality based on connection speed. Apple TV requires iTunes 10.5 or later, and an 802.11 g/n Wi-Fi or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection, a 1080p or 720p-capable HDTV and an HDMI cable.

Apple said that the new device also features an updated user interface to allow for easier access to purchased movies TV shows and music with iTunes Match from iCloud. The iCloud enables consumers to purchase movies and TV shows on Apple TV for playback through the set-top device or on an iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Mac or PC. AirPlay can be used with the the iPhone, iPad and IPod Touch to stream music, photos and videos directly to HDTVs with AppleTV.
Some see the new Apple TV as a stepping stone for Apple’s foray into the television space. Still, none of Apple’s products contain Blu-ray Disc playback capability.