New Apple TV heads for the cloud

As has become tradition, Apple guru Steve Jobs had one more thing to announce at today’s iPod event. This time, it was a new version of Apple TV that has its head decidedly in the clouds. The new home-theater accessory lacks local storage and is clearly optimized for streaming content. TV shows will be available to rent for 99 cents each in either standard- or high-definition formats, and HD movies will cost $5 a pop for new releases and $4 each for “library titles.” SD movie rentals will run a dollar less than their HD counterparts, although I don’t imagine too many people will opt for the standard-def rentals given that the Apple TV’s only video output is an HDMI port.

Before you get too excited about the prospect of streaming HD content, Engadget has confirmed that the device can only handle video at 720p resolution. It looks like that limitation applies not only to content streaming from the Internet, but also media accessed via a local network.

Although the new Apple TV has a USB port, the system’s spec sheet says the port is for “service and support.” Odds are you won’t be able to plug in a USB storage device to loaded with content. The Apple TV does, however, have a 10/100 Ethernet jack and built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi. Apple throws in a simple remote, too.

The new Apple TV is tiny, of course, and it’s quite a bit cheaper than the original at just $99. Units are expected to start shipping in four weeks, and you can already place your order online.

Comments closed
    • Da_Boss
    • 9 years ago

    To those who lurk the forums and shit a brick when they see the A-word in a post.

    First of all, we’ve been over this every time TR makes an Apple post. What does it matter to you that TR likes or reports on Apple stuff. It doesn’t affect their great work in the PC space in the least–Chill out. It’s a tech site. They can do that. Those who are so defensive about things like TR enjoying Apple products typically haven’t accepted that Apple makes a few great products, and cannot fathom a world in which people can enjoy both Apple and non-Apple things at once. Seemingly, the division is the only way to rationalize. It’s human nature, but it’s kinda pathetic. I’m sorry for you.

    Because this ‘need’ to label and divide in order to comprehend spills into people’s opinions of Apple’s success as well. In order for Apple to be a hit with regular consumers, why do they need to be under-specced, under-powered, under-functional, over-simplified, and over-designed to you? Do you really think that the only way Apple makes a hit product is to market a product as magical and pretty? Your not giving Apple (or yourself) enough credit.

    Get out your dark corner and look around. People enjoy the product because of the experience with them. I don’t doubt that there are better values for your dollar at $100 than the AppleTV feature-for-feature. But if you were looking for a no-hassle way to stream your iTunes library to your TV, this is it. You won’t find a better solution. To some, that is worth $100.

    At it’s heart and soul, TR is still holding true to their commitment to fair, accurate journalism and editorial. It might not always be your cup of tea; but that’s why God gave you all mouths and legs: So that you can shut the hell up and keep it movin’*.

    *That’s probably not why we have mouths and legs.

    • LoneWolf15
    • 9 years ago

    Western Digital’s WD TV Live Plus seems like a lot better deal for an extra $20…

    ยง[< http://www.wdc.com/en/products/index.asp?cat=30< ]ยง ยง[<http://www.wdc.com/en/products/Products.asp?DriveID=832<]ยง

    • Thresher
    • 9 years ago

    Amazing how this all turns around.

    A few years ago, TR editorial staff got yelled out for HATING Apple. Now they are accused of being in Apple’s pocket.

    Perhaps, the accusations say more about the accusers than they do about the TechReport.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Right, because there was and is always one monolithic opinion with no opposition. /sarcasm

    • Fragnificent
    • 9 years ago

    Although I don’t agree with pdjblum’s method of presenting his idea, I do agree with the premise…TR does seem to have a hard on for Apple, lately. I say buy whatever you like, but honestly, Apple is not as innovative or wonderful as everyone thinks. Their products are frequently flawed, underdesigned, or outrageously expensive, usually some combo of the three. I had two iPods die on me months into owning them, I’ve used the iPhone, it sucks, Android is the only phone worth considering right now, and I’;ve fixed more than my fair share of PowerBooks and MacBooks recently. What good is it if something looks cool but doesn’t work? I miss the Apple of the 80’s where they made cool stuff and it actually worked. Have fun paying for your overpriced crap guys….lol..

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      q[

        • Skrying
        • 9 years ago

        But those opinions don’t count. Those are closed minded idiots! Why must you make sense!

          • Fragnificent
          • 9 years ago

          Ahhh yes, lost to the RDF I see…..sorry to hear that.

            • Palek
            • 9 years ago

            What part of Skyring’s or my post indicates the effects of Mr. Jobs’ RDF? Is it the part where I countered your shaky arguments based on nothing but your limited personal experience with my own limited personal experience? Or is it the part where I pointed out the undeniable fact that the iPhone is indeed a very popular device and many tech-related publications give it praise where praise is due?

            • Fragnificent
            • 9 years ago

            It’s the part where you don’t fix computers for a living, otherwise you’d understand why we shake our heads at people who are willing to buy a $2500 paperweight that requires repair constantly. Like I said, it’s not that I don’t think Apple should exist or make interesting gadgets, it’s that I am amazed, there are a lot better options out there than the crap they turn out, but people will pay any amount of $$$ to look trendy and snazzy, or to fit into some kind of group. Apple computer is nothing more than a religion. I tell you what, spend a few months doing computer repair. Get back to me on how many hippies bring in their new $600 iPhone that won’t make calls, or keeps rebooting, and they just tell you “oh it’s sad, or it doesnt feel well can you make it better??? ๐Ÿ™ ” Ugh.

    • Cuhulin
    • 9 years ago

    Does anyone know whether the existing AppleTV will continue to work — at least to stream (which it already does)?

    • Kurotetsu
    • 9 years ago

    Ignore

    • albundy
    • 9 years ago

    this will easily get killed off when gaming consoles provide the same…

    • YeuEmMaiMai
    • 9 years ago

    dispite the fact that this device has craptastic abilities in a HD area, people eat this crap up like no tomorrow.

      • UberGerbil
      • 9 years ago

      I suspect “Apple” and “$99” make for a pretty potent catnip.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 9 years ago

      Right. Apple depends upon marketing hype and gaga media attention, along with some occasional FUD, to get the sales they get. People just aren’t willing to do some independent research or ask for input but that makes sense – people are generally dumb, even more so when it comes to technology, so being told what they want is easier than knowing what they want and deciding on the best choice. The fact that this device is so limited and does nothing new or special and yet still might sell well because ‘Wow! It’s from Apple and only $99 and they say it’s great!’ just says it all.

        • Skrying
        • 9 years ago

        What are the other options? The popular option in this market seems to be the Roku HD or Roku XR. They’re about equal on features with the Roku XR offering 1080p.

        I think the Roku XR is probably a better choice but if someone is already invested in a few other Apple products or a heavy iTunes user I can easily see that being enough to sway them towards the Apple TV.

        Other options like the Pop Box don’t have near the same streaming options and rely on the customer having an existing library of their DVD and Blu-Rays ripped (or obtained illegally).

        You make it seem like it’s incredibly clear cut but that’s far from the truth.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          An xbox or PS3 with a netflix account.

          Although that is more expensive.

        • jdaven
        • 9 years ago

        I use to like your posts Madman but now I wish you would go away. Anyone who calls people dumb because they buy a product from a company they hate has no benefit to this world. Please go away.

          • jackbomb
          • 9 years ago

          Don’t go away, Madman. Everyone here but jdaven (and possibly Adi) loves you.

          *Sticks tongue at jdaven (and possibly Adi).*

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          If only you knew that you’re thrice as annoying.

          • MadManOriginal
          • 9 years ago

          I was here first, why don’t you go away? ๐Ÿ™‚

          And sorry if it makes you upset but people are generally dumb especially when it comes to technology. When people who go to places like Best Buy to get advice and info on tech from employees who are pretty clueless themselves it just proves my point, and it’s not just wrt Apple. The thing about Apple is what they make really *isn’t* all that special, and certainly not as special as their marketing hype makes it out to be, but people accept their marketing hype as fact because they’re dumb.

            • Skrying
            • 9 years ago

            Nope, Apple products don’t change the world. You’re right. But Apple does make some products that are worth considering. It’s sad because your reply to Thresher is actually what you’re doing. Your reply to YeuEmMaiMai suggests that the Apple TV is worthless but you’ve yet to state a product that makes the Apple TV worthless in comparison.

            From what I can gather your opinion is that Apple doesn’t make a single worthwhile product and that a person must be dumb to disagree with you. How is that not what you’re accusing Thresher and others of doing? I don’t think you’re dumb, just extremely biased and close minded. Not in the sense that your opinion is wrong for you but in the sense that you don’t believe others can have a valid opinion on this topic. They can, a number of Apple products can make perfect sense for others. That’s reality.

        • demani
        • 9 years ago

        To play devil’s advocate a bit:
        You mean that people saying they want 1080p output aren’t responding to hype? Because that was total hype presented by Sony- it’s not even an official standard (unlike 720p and 1080i).

        I have no idea who this is really marketed to, nor do I plan to get one at all (my Win7 HTPC works just fine thank you). But I can seem the same argument for sticking with a brand in other endeavors (food: Heinz vs. Hunts ketchup; cars: Japanese vs. American; TVs: Samsung vs. Sony vs. Panasonic, ad infinitum). Sometimes people walk in, and say “hey, I liked the last product and that was good enough* so let me follow that decision without spending a lot of time on research.

        This device isn’t any more limited than the Roku box (differently limited), but I’ve yet to hear anyone proclaim that Rokus are for people too dumb to research.

    • pdjblum
    • 9 years ago

    I could write volumes on why all this apple fervor on tech report is so antithetical to what I always believed tech report is at its heart and soul, but with the editor and chief preordering iphones and saying it is the only smart phone worth getting, dismissing all android phones out of hand, on a podcast, and editors going out of their way to follow his lead and go gaga over the iphone, I guess I don’t know what kind of readers the tech report is after these days. The vast majority of readers of tech report, I suspect, are leaders when it comes to tech hardware purchase decisions, and not part of the herd that has no clue as to what is available, a multitude of capable media boxes for instance, and do not buy things because they are cows or cowards who need other people’s approval and are incapable of thinking for themselves.

    • jjj
    • 9 years ago

    Just about the shittiest device ever,it has very limited functionality compared to what’s already on the market and soon many more phones,tablets,TV’s,game consoles,BD players,media players will be a lot more capable than a device that does next to nothing for 99$.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      It’s aimed at the Roku crowd, and it does a good job competing with that device. Are there better boxes for more money? Absolutely; the PS3 should be the go-to media device in every home, IMO.

    • UberGerbil
    • 9 years ago

    Seems like making it an iOS device, with access to the library of apps (and especially games) for the iPad would be the long-term future for something like this; at that point, it’s a pretty compelling alternative to consoles at the low end (where the Wii has shown that overwhelming hardware specs are not the only way to win the living room).

    Of course they’d need an input device (though maybe that’s what future iPods will double as, to keep that upgrade train chugging)

    • Farting Bob
    • 9 years ago

    Up to $5 for “HD” movies (720p, similar to youtube quality at same res, marginally better than actual DVD quality)? Do people actually think thats a good deal?

    Having to stream and pay for each thing you watch indivually is not a great idea. Stick a ethernet port on there and allow me to hook up my fileserver and the appleTV would be just as good as the other streaming boxes out there. right now its a more expensive, inferior option.

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      But you can stream from a computer (assuming you have a library in iTunes)… are people only reading the article and not actually checking out the specs?

      And I’d bet 720p is plenty better than DVD (of course much is dependant on both the quality of the streaming compression and the DVD mastering). I wonder if the limitation has more to do with appeasing the networks so that they can still tell the cable providers and the affiliates “We aren’t giving them our very best stuff, see we love you!”?

      What does Xbox show its video library in?

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        Plenty of movies on Xbox Live are 1080p, also Netflix streams some stuff in 1080p as well.

        • Farting Bob
        • 9 years ago

        l[

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          Luckily I have an old 50″ 720p plasma; I might just get one for that, for Netflix streaming.

          Crazy; that would be my first fruit product ever. Will I be able to escape the RDF?

            • sweatshopking
            • 9 years ago

            “old” plasma? wtf? what is it you do for a career man? OLD plasma? man, there is no way i could afford ANY plasma, never mind to say one is OLD. No wonder the economy is crashing, OLD plasmas!

            • Meadows
            • 9 years ago

            The economy is not crashing.

            • axeman
            • 9 years ago

            Yeah, it’s a cadaver.

        • MadManOriginal
        • 9 years ago

        I’d say it’s more likely because whatever SoC Apple used for this can’t do 1080p. Or maybe they’re just saving it for next year’s model, it might even be the exact same hardware lol.

          • NeelyCam
          • 9 years ago

          CD says the SoC is A4.

    • cygnus1
    • 9 years ago

    Basically it’s now a Roku box with NO Netflix and tied into the iTunes garbage heap…. Thanks, but no thanks

      • demani
      • 9 years ago

      Except it does have Netflix?…

      Anyway, while it doesn’t suit my needs, I’ve found cutting the cable bill and going with online and broadcast only is perfectly usable (and football games on broadcast seem to be less compressed than the cable counterparts-a nice plus). Windows 7 media center functions are pretty good- and while this wouldn’t do it for me (I’d rather DVR the broadcast shows than pay for them, plus everything I get on Hulu that isn’t on broadcast, e.g. SoA on FX) but I could see that if the network backing was increased it has potential for less tech-savvy people.

      • cygnus1
      • 9 years ago

      NVM, it does have Netflix… so it’s just a Roku with access to iTunes… Still thanks, but no thanks

        • cygnus1
        • 9 years ago

        Correction #2, it’s a Roku without local streaming, except from iTunes. Definitely not interested…

          • eitje
          • 9 years ago

          Edit button, man! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jdaven
    • 9 years ago

    I’m still not sold on replacing your traditional cable service with streaming rentals. I think the cost is still too high even without commericals. However, the device is cheap enough to be a good Netflix and local iTunes content streamer.

      • tay
      • 9 years ago

      Is it a good way to watch an HBO series without subscribing to HBO? Big pluses are the price, netflix, and itunes content as you mention.
      I can’t get rid of cable because of sports so I’m stuck.

        • Usacomp2k3
        • 9 years ago

        Agree on the sports.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        yeah, MLB.tv totally screws the pooch with local blackouts. if they lifted that restriction it would be enough for me because I don’t care for any other sports really. Hulu Plus + Netflix + MLB.tv with in-market games is a winner that would get me to cut cable, if I could get a reliable service where I lived other than Comcast. That’s teh other problem. ๐Ÿ™

      • blastdoor
      • 9 years ago

      Cable is a better deal if you watch a lot of shows. I could imagine that if you have pretty narrow interests, but those interests require that you pay for a cable package that includes a bunch of stuff you never watch, then the economics of these rentals might work out. But it does seem to still be a pretty niche appeal. I don’t see AppleTV becoming another “leg of the stool” for Apple anytime soon (and I doubt they see it that way either).

      • Palek
      • 9 years ago

      An alien invasion is more likely than Apple TV supporting Netflix. This device exists solely to sell content from the iTunes store. Netflix is a direct competitor to iTunes.

      <EDIT> Oh, it does support Netflix… Run for the hills! Alien invasion in 3… 2… 1…</EDIT>

        • Forge
        • 9 years ago

        Didn’t watch the keynote or read the summary, eh?

        Netflix is explicitly supported. Steve said it is the best Netflix client anywhere, but he would say that.

        I’m actually tempted to get one for the wife/kids to use, just as a simple dump Netflix player. 99$ is cheap in the circles it aspires to.

          • Palek
          • 9 years ago

          Alternatively, if you’re looking for something to go in a bedroom/kids’ room/kitchen, there are some excellent small-screen connected TVs in the market now that sell for just a little more than a vanilla TV. The KDL-22EX308 from Sony is a marvellous piece of engineering, with excellent picture and sound quality and reasonable online content support. The M220NV from Vizio supports just about any streaming service out there. Both are 22″ in size and sell for around $300. LG and Samsung also have some great connected TVs, although they start at 32″.

          PS. No, did not watch/listen to the keynote. Did not read the Engadget article either, just the TR summary. ๐Ÿ™‚

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