Apple TV Review: AAPL’s Set-Top Box a Polished Experience
The first Apple TV was considered a marvel of engineering. In its Apple TV review, the New York Times called it “a gorgeous, one-inch-tall, round-cornered square slab.”
The current Apple TV (now in its third generation) is a fraction of the size of the original, just 3.9 inches square (the original was 7.8 inches) and weighing 0.6 lb (compared to 2.4 lbs). It’s also black instead of the original silver, so it blends in better with audio/video components.
Hookup is a single HDMI cable, and there’s no power adapter.
The Apple TV runs a modified version of iOS, relies on 8MB of Flash RAM for caching and streams video, audio or photos. The interface is reminiscent of an iPhone’s, with app-like presentation of services, including Netflix (NFLX).
Naturally, integration with Apple’s iTunes store is tight, making it easy to buy, rent or stream already purchased content. Users can also stream content from the iTunes library of a local computer, or mirror content from a supported Apple device onto their TV screen using AirPlay.
As noted in this Anandtech Apple TV review, the primary changes from the second- to third-generation AppleTV were the ability to support 1080p content, and a second antenna for improved streaming.
I can verify the reception improvement, after seeing a significant improvement in streaming speed and signal strength for the new Apple TV compared to the older model it replace in my family room.
See Apple’s product page for a complete list of supported formats and services.