Apple has rolled out a new version of the Apple TV at a special Wednesday event hosted by Apple’s big kahuna, Steve Jobs. Is it still a “hobby” for Apple? Perhaps, but if so it’s less than before and offers a way to watch your favorite HD movies and TV shows on your HD TV for US$99.
The previous Apple TV cost $249. Users of the new Apple TV — which is 80% smaller than its predecessor — can choose from the largest online selection of HD movies to rent, including first run movies for US$4.99, and a selection of HD TV show episodes to rent from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America for 99 cents.
Yes, that’s right, they’re rent only. You can no longer buy TV shows or movies at the iTunes Store. The new Apple TV has no built-in storage.
The new Apple TV also streams content from Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and MobileMe, as well as music, photos and videos from Macs and PCs to your HD TV. You can also enjoy slideshows of your photos on your HD TV using Apple TV’s selection of built-in slideshows. Apple TV has built-in HDMI, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and an internal power in an enclosure that’s less than four inches square.
Rent a TV episode and you have up to 30 days to start watching and then 48 hours to finish it — or watch multiple times. Users can also rent over 7,000 movies with over 3,400 available in HD, with most new releases available the same day they are released on DVD.
Apple TV also gives access to the Netflix streaming catalog for Netflix subscribers, and the ability to browse and search, rate content, add to or remove from your queue, or instantly stream straight to your HD TV. Apple TV users can also enjoy millions of YouTube videos, more than 200,000 podcasts, 4,000 Internet radio stations and personal photos from MobileMe and Flickr.
Music, videos and photos can also be streamed from Macs and PCs. Jobs says that the Apple TV set-up is quick and easy with a single HDMI cable connection (the HDMI cable is sold separately). Just connect Apple TV to your HD TV, join a Wi-Fi network and with a few clicks on the included, seven-button aluminum Apple Remote, you have access to a variety of content. Users can also control Apple TV with their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the Remote app, available as a free download on the Apple App Store.
Apple TV will be available late this month and can be pre-ordered beginning today on Apple’s online store (http://www.apple.com). It will be available through the Apple’s online store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers. Apple TV requires an 802.11b/g/n wireless network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition TV capable of 720p. iTunes TV show rentals and Netflix are only available in the US. Netflix features require account subscription. iTunes movies rentals are only available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.