Apple TV

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9/7/2012 6:08:53 PM

Ratings: 4/5

Price: $94


Description: Apple TV

Apple TV

Although previous Apple TV is quite nice, its 720p low output has rejected it. With the new 2012 version, Apple understanded this problem and supported Full HD 1080p. It does not change the size - with less than 100mm2 and 23mm in height, obviously it’s very small. This box will fit anywhere in your home.

At the rear, there is 10/100Mbits Ethernet (pre-installed 802.11n Wi-Fi), HDMI and an optical S/PDIF output. There is also a Micro USB port, although it is only for service and support. New Apple TV retains the simple aluminum remote control of old model. It has only 4 buttons: Menu, Play/Pause, Select, and 4-way pad. It’s comfortable to hold and the buttons bring back more responses. There is no power button, because Apple TV can turn off itself when not in use, and is powered by typing the Menu key on the remote.

Open the Apple TV at first time, you are led through a quick setting, which helps you configure your network and enter the Apple ID. Then you’re ready to start. Apple TV is easy to use before, but this model has a significant overhaul in interface. The big icons help you easy to select the content you want to view, while a top window shows you the latest focuses.

Like most Apple products, the interface is very smooth due to Apple A5 single core processor, and it works like iPod. Clicking the Menu button to go back, use the cursor and selecttion keys to select the items and type Play/Pause; there is no delay or postponement.

Start for content

With this model, Apple has focused on bringing the content without in-house server, via iCloud service. With movies and television programs, you can access and transmit content that you have purchased or rented from the iTunes store. You can also buy or rent content from Apple TV and watch it on iPad or iPhone after that.

The content has been upgraded to 1080p, and the change is impressive. When trasferring Full HD, the quality is impressive, it’s as good as a good HD TV. Surrounded sound help enhance the air, Apple TV is transmitting it as PCM sound to your surround sound amplifier. However, it does not offer lossless music from Blu-ray disk.

Apple has done a good job that making the content becomes easy to find. You can browse movies and television programs according to what you bought, by genre, TV Network and other leading programs, and you can also search for the content. Genius, which is installed, will offer content based on the programs you have purchased or rented.

There are many provided things with many new movies to buy or view. The television programs are also updated, and you can buy the programs that are currently on TV (you can only rent movies). The only disadvantage is that the iTunes version is delayed at least 1 day. We like Series Pass, which allows you to buy a series before all the episodes are showed; every week, you have a new episode to watch.

You do not need to rely on Apple content because Netflix is also pre-installed. If you have a subscription, you can transfer 1080p movies and TV shows directly to Apple TV. The quality is excellent as the television programs in high definition. YouTube and Vimeo applications added to the online video service.

Apple has designed its own Netflix interface to match with Apple TV interface. It is a great moving because it keeps a consistent interface in all parts of Apple TV. Photo Stream is also installed. It pulls out all the photos you have stored in iCloud. It is very smooth, it pulls out a set of images simultaneously, so there is no delay when switching between images – bring feeling like you’re accessing images on local storage. Flickr application help you link to your online account.

With the Music application, you will need to open iTunes match, which cost $14.2/year. This service identifies which song in your collection is available from Apple, then it just uploads the songs not available in the library. When the comparison is complete, the entire available music collection will be transfered in 256Kbit/s AAC, so you do not need to open PC and share music. There is also pre-installed Podcasts and Internet Radio applications.

One of the main uses of media streamers is the content view, which is stored locally on your network. This is where Apple V is not good, because you must use the Computers App, which only pulls content from the computer running iTunes with Home Sharing is enabled. Apple TV will not work with any UPnP or SMB server, and will not work with the media server having iTunes media sharing feature, which is different from Home Sharing.

Apple TV also has limited file support, H.264 is the only choice for 1080p video, and MPEG4 content only supports a maximum resolution of 640x480, but this format is not used frequently. Unfortunately, there is no direct support for MKV, DivX or XviD files. However, if you bought all contents via Apple you used iTunes to save files, there is no matter and Apple TV will work in a smart way.

AirPlay for today

The limitations of Apple TV rarely become problem if you have iPhone or iPad, it thanks to the AirPlay presence. This is how Apple sends audio and video from this device to another device. If you are watching a video on the iPad, you can send it to Apple TV and watch it on big screen. You can only play video formats that the Apple TV supports via AirPlay. This means a DivX video on iPad can not be sent to Apple TV, but QuickTime video can.

AirPlay is really useful when you want to use UPnP server on your network, such as servers come with NAS devices. With iPad or iPhone, you can use the media player application supported UPnP - such as Media Connect - to transfer content from the server, then you can send to Apple TV via AirPlay. Your iPhone or iPad looks like a remote control with a huge touchscreen.

The only drawback is that you need to code video as H.264, which is easy to classify with free HandBrake application for OS X or Windows. If you do not want to convert video, an application called Air Video can do it with AirVideo server that you have to install on PC or Mac. Server transcodes any video format to video format supported by Apple, so you can use AirPlay. The good side of AirPlay is that when you send content from one device to Apple TV, you can continue using it. If you have the iPad, you can send video to Apple TV, and then browse the web on tablet.

There is no doubt about the beauty, quality and easy using of Apple TV. The 1080p support, comprehensive content and built-in Netflix make it attractive at this price. If you have an iPhone or iPad, it’s even better, because AirPlay allows you to send content to Apple TV. It can not be compared with WD TV Live on the versatile, but it has the advantage on easy using.

Description: AirPlay for today

AirPlay for today


Comment: It works smoothly with movies and online TV shows, AirPlay is good, but limited file support and lack of UPnP support are disappointing.

Streaming multimedia recorder: 1 optical S/PDIF output, 1 HDMI output, audio AAC support, Protected AAC, MP3, MPEG4, H.264, MJPEG, MP4, MOV video, 1-year RTB warranty

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