yesterday revealed Apple TV (often referred to as iTV), a wireles device that will allow consumers to play iTunes content, including movies, TV shows, music, photos and podcasts, (shouldn't iTunes be rebranded to iMedia or something?) from a Mac or PC on a TV. Users will be able to browse and view their entire collection of digital media from across the room using the Apple Remote. Apple TV connects to almost all modern widescreen televisions, and will be shipping in February for just $299.
So what will it be for you--the SlingCatcher, Xbox 360 or the Apple TV? To us, it all comes down to where you have your media. If a user doesn't hold a lot of content, i.e. movies and television shows in iTunes, then what is the attraction for the Apple TV? While we admit that iTunes does offer a nice selection of content, one will always be limited to iTunes. This is exactly what Sling Media's CEO Blake Krikorian referred to
"Apple TV is like a DVD player for the 21st century—you connect it to your entertainment system just like a DVD player, but it plays digital content you get from the Internet rather than DVDs you get from a physical store," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. "Apple TV plays the same iTunes content that users enjoy on their computers and iPods, so now they can even watch part of a movie in their living room, and watch the rest later on their iPod."
Apple TV has a 40GB hard drive to store up to "approximately" 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each and is capable of delivering high-definition 720p output. (Video playback based on 640x480 iTunes video content. Music capacity based on four minutes per song and 128-Kbps AAC encoding. Photo capacity based on Apple TV viewable photos transferred from iTunes. Actual capacity varies by content.)
Apple TV is easy to connect to a broad range of widescreen TVs and home theater systems and comes standard with HDMI, component video, analog and optical audio ports. Using high-speed AirPort 802.11g/n wireless networking, Apple TV can auto-sync content from one computer or stream content from up to five additional computers right to your TV without any wires.
The seamless integration of Apple TV and iTunes lets users choose from over 250 feature-length movies and 350 TV shows in near DVD quality; four million songs, 5,000 music videos, 100,000 podcasts and 20,000 audiobooks. Users can enjoy their favorite music on a home entertainment system and view slideshows of their photo albums on a widescreen TV. Apple TV makes it easy for users to explore their entire media collection with an easy to use and intuitive new interface. With the Apple Remote, consumers can easily browse through their favorite movies, TV shows, music and photos from up to 30 feet away.
Apple TV requires iTunes 7 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later, or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home/Professional (SP2). An 802.11b/g/n wireless network using AirPort, AirPort Extreme or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking required. Internet access is required and a broadband connection is recommended. Apple TV requires an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen TV. iPod games will not play on Apple TV. iTunes is available in the US and select countries.