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First look: Unboxing Apple's new $99 Apple TV with streaming HD content

post #1 of 175
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Apple on Wednesday made good on its promise to deliver the first shipments of its new HD-streaming Apple TV media box to early adopters who plunked down the $99 for the device in the hours following its announcement earlier this month. AppleInsider offers an in-depth first look at the product in this extensive series of unboxing photos.

The new Apple TV ships in a box that's roughly 4.25-inches square and slides open like a box of highbrow chocolate truffles to reveal the device itself. Underneath rests the slim form, aluminum Apple TV remote, a matte black AC power cord, a pair of white Apple logo stickers, a Setup Guide and standard warranty pamphlet.

All four edges of the Apple TV itself -- which is about a quarter the size of its predecessor -- come wrapped in a black film, which peels away to reveal the devices four I/O ports -- AC Power, HDMI, Optical Audio, and Ethernet -- in addition to a micro USB port which Apple says is only for service and diagnostic purposes.

Setup is painlessly simple. From the time we plucked the Apple TV from the box, it took less than a minute to plug in our AC Adapter, HDMI cable and optical audio cables and get the box booted up into the setup dialog.

Gone from the previous-generation Apple TV is the traditional start-up video. Instead, the new $99 Apple TV thrusts users directly into the standard configuration screens, asking first for a preferred language, wireless network password, and permission to allow Apple to receive diagnostic information over the internet.

From there, the Apple TV home screen loads almost instantly, with no noticeable lag. Browsing through the various media categories is similarly smooth, with thumbnails for movies, TV shows, podcasts and built-in screen savers popping into place within seconds.

Most HD movie rentals continue to fetch $4.99 while HD TV shows are all priced at into Apple's new $0.99 model. However, only 8 TV stations are currently available to choose from, coming from just 3 providers: Fox, Disney (ABC) and BBC. They include 20th Century Fox, ABC, ABC Family, ABC News, BBC America, BBC Earth, Disney Channel, Disney XD, and Fox. Shows from other networks who participated in the previous-generation Apple TV model are not accessible. There is, however, a selection of free TV shows.

Under movies, Apple has also added a new section called "In Theaters" which graphs the company's extensive library of movie trailers into the Apple TV universe, letting users preview dozens of HD trailers for current big-screen features. Also making its debut is Netflix integration, which requires a netflix account.

AppleInsider will be spending a few days with the new Apple TV before publishing a formal, in-depth review of the device. Stay tuned.





























































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post #2 of 175
Looks really tempting ...!
post #3 of 175
Ample pictures. Love the black strip that goes around it.
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post #4 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

Looks really tempting ...!

I'm liking the interface. Will probably pick one up for Christmas.
oneof52
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post #5 of 175
Still no firm eta on my order, I wonder when the retail stores will stock them, getting impatient now! Lol

Seems that Apple once again heavily underestimated consumer demand and so are flat on their backs not able to stock up on these.

Still not a bad position for them to be in, just annoying that I ordered mine on September 9th and probably have to wait at least another 2 weeks.
iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
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iPad, Macbook Pro, iPhone, heck I even have iLife! :-)
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post #6 of 175
For those ordering an AppleTv, don't forget to order a HDMI cable as well.
post #7 of 175
Still no visualizer? Surely there's enough power now.

The interesting thing about the ATV to my mind has been the way it represents vastly different things to different people. I think this has also been a great part of Apple's difficulty in marketing it. For me it's been an excellent GUI for my music and video collection - I've never been interested in TV shows or possible DVR functionality - and the internal storage has been important since I've not wanted to stream media. With my living room ATV bumped up to 320 GB it holds all my lossless music files... so I wonder what's in this new version for me?
post #8 of 175
I don't get it. It's a smaller version of the old AppleTV with no local storage. The Netflix integration is pretty nice. Still need multiple boxes to do everything. I actually prefer the older AppleTV. Syncing it makes music and movies, etc available even when the network is running slow, etc.

Is it true that 802.11n slows down to g speeds if there are g devices on the network? Or does it transfer at the highest speed available between two devices?

I have three g devices on my network (Wii, PS3 and iPod touch 2G), hoping these don't slow down my entire network to g-speed.
post #9 of 175
Nice idea as for $99 I can bring additional content to big screen viewing. Seems simple enough.
The one thing lacking is the Quality content from the Itunes store that is available such as current T.V. Shows etc, which i'm sure will be available eventually.
Might be worth waiting for next generation model as perhaps other features will be in place.
post #10 of 175
that fedex truck can not get to my house fast enough this afternoon.
post #11 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by webpoet73 View Post

I don't get it. It's a smaller version of the old AppleTV with no local storage.

But it is also significantly cheaper.
post #12 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

But it is also significantly cheaper.

Exactly! And that's why this thing starts getting interesting. Even if it is just to play around with and see what it's capable of. With the next iteration, when things get even better, you know what you will get and be probably willing to upgrade. Especially if it stays at that price.
post #13 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by webpoet73 View Post

I don't get it. It's a smaller version of the old AppleTV with no local storage.

But at one third of the price. The old Apple TV which I have and like involved a buying decision that most people have to think about fairly seriously. At $99 the new one is virtually an impulse buy. At this price point Apple is hoping to drive the sales volume out of the hobby category.

As for still needing multiple boxes, yeah, welcome to the world of modern video. TiVo, ATV, DVD player, A/V receiver with HDMI switching, cable box...and of course the TV itself. I think of it as job security: my wife says that without me she'll never figure out how to watch TV.
post #14 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by webpoet73 View Post

... Is it true that 802.11n slows down to g speeds if there are g devices on the network? Or does it transfer at the highest speed available between two devices?

I have three g devices on my network (Wii, PS3 and iPod touch 2G), hoping these don't slow down my entire network to g-speed.

It's not as simple as "everything slowing down to g speeds," but yes, if you run a network of mixed devices, things will be slower than if you have a dedicated "n" network.

The easiest solution is to buy an old Airport device to run the g devices and attach it to your main router running the n devices. Everything still talks to each other, you just have two separate networks for each type.
post #15 of 175
Yeah, Apple stickers!!
post #16 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

It's not as simple as "everything slowing down to g speeds," but yes, if you run a network of mixed devices, things will be slower than if you have a dedicated "n" network.

The easiest solution is to buy an old Airport device to run the g devices and attach it to your main router running the n devices. Everything still talks to each other, you just have two separate networks for each type.

Better still buy a new AE with auto dual band
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From Apple ][ - to new Mac Pro I've used them all.
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"Google doesn't sell you anything, they just sell you!"
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post #17 of 175
If it had upgradable "channels" a la the Roku box, then that would have made it different. If Apple announces some sort of developer program for this ATV or perhaps use the USB for adding local storage, then I might pick one up. As of now, it isn't capable of replacing my old ATV.

I am looking at the 99 dollar Roku box. At least with it, you can add local storage via USB. Unfortunately, it doesn't support AAC, so there goes most of my music. Except that it can be played the old fashioned way... from the cd! [via DVD player]
post #18 of 175
The packaging is uncharacteristically sloppy for Apple.
post #19 of 175
I can see in the screen saver menu there is more option of screen saver than before. instead of only floating photo it seems there is origami photoshot like iphoto got. Why not integrate a itunes effect when music is playing, like thegelé, stix and iTunes animation. It will be great on a big screen.
post #20 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prof. Peabody View Post

It's not as simple as "everything slowing down to g speeds," but yes, if you run a network of mixed devices, things will be slower than if you have a dedicated "n" network.

The easiest solution is to buy an old Airport device to run the g devices and attach it to your main router running the n devices. Everything still talks to each other, you just have two separate networks for each type.

Actually, the easiest solution is to get one of the new dual band AirPort extremes. Run one band as 5 GHz N only, and run the other one as 2.4 GHz Mixed Mode (N, G & B). Go ahead and give them two separate names so you can specifically assign devices to whichever band you want. If you have two N devices that are going to talk to one another frequently, I've found that it is better to attach one of them to the 5GHz N and the other to the 2.4 GHz Mixed, otherwise during any given transfer the two devices are competing for wireless bandwidth with one another. By putting one of the N's on the mixed mode (and potentially slightly handicapped) band the contention is removed, and the result is better throughput... even if there are some G devices attached (but not currently doing anything).

Thompson
post #21 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Orlando View Post

But it is also significantly cheaper.

And apparently faster.

But taking flash pictures of a TV screen makes me sad.
post #22 of 175
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post #23 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by webpoet73 View Post

I don't get it. It's a smaller version of the old AppleTV with no local storage. The Netflix integration is pretty nice. Still need multiple boxes to do everything. I actually prefer the older AppleTV. Syncing it makes music and movies, etc available even when the network is running slow, etc.

Is it true that 802.11n slows down to g speeds if there are g devices on the network? Or does it transfer at the highest speed available between two devices?

I have three g devices on my network (Wii, PS3 and iPod touch 2G), hoping these don't slow down my entire network to g-speed.

Think about this one.
post #24 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post

The packaging is uncharacteristically sloppy for Apple.

What you're not buying the [quote] "slides open like a box of highbrow chocolate truffles" stated in the article?

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post #25 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chintan100 View Post

Ample pictures. Love the black strip that goes around it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by speedxdesign View Post

that fedex truck can not get to my house fast enough this afternoon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rbonner View Post

Yeah, Apple stickers!!

Calm yourselves Fanboys.
post #26 of 175
I wish the article had more pictures
post #27 of 175
I ordered an Apple TV yesterday. I was wondering if it is worthwhile considering hard wiring ethernet to my TV location or should WiFi n be satisfactory?

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post #28 of 175
I'll stick with my original AppleTV so I'm not required to stream everything. I also like buying movies occasionally which you can't do on the new device. Netflix streaming is pervasive and I've got it on three other devices. Certainly for current AppleTV owners, there is little to no reason to buy the new one.
post #29 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by fishstick_kitty View Post

I wish the article had more pictures

Yes, and I wish the pics were a bit closer up. I couldn't quite see the individual molecules on some of those.
post #30 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Better still buy a new AE with auto dual band

I just realized my new iPhone 4 can't connect to my AE dual-band on the 5ghz band I've reserved for N devices. The iPhone does N, but not at 5ghz. I'd prefer N for streaming to the Apple TV, not sure where that bottleneck will live...

The iPad can connect to 5ghz N.
post #31 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by mstone View Post

I ordered an Apple TV yesterday. I was wondering if it is worthwhile considering hard wiring ethernet to my TV location or should WiFi n be satisfactory?

11N works just fine for streaming Elgato EyeTV recorded shows from a Mac on the old AppleTV... All I've ever used it for. Hope the new one is happy doing that as no NetFlix option here in Europe.
Bah, my AppleTV is currently sat in a cargo jet somewhere half a planet away
Oh, and the drop in power draw from 35watts to 6watts with instant-on should pretty much cover the upgrade cost...
post #32 of 175
I love my current 160 GB Apple TV however, I would buy new one for two reasons:
1) Silence - I can hear the hard drive spinning, which is annoying during late night music listening.
2) Higher res Netflix streaming than I currently get with my Wii. (It's my only other streaming device)

However, holding me back is the loss of having some hard drive storage for those times when my computer is not on, and more importantly, the lack of emphasis on music.

I work from home and play music on my Apple TV virtually all day. It's an excellent transport. Not perfect, but very very good. The new interface concerns me from that perspective.

For everyone else, of course, this is a must have device.
post #33 of 175
I still don't get why they did;nt use the iOS and make a killing on more apps sold and distributed. Get everyone hooked just like the iphone....Then just have an iTV app on the front.
post #34 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I just realized my new iPhone 4 can't connect to my AE dual-band on the 5ghz band I've reserved for N devices. The iPhone does N, but not at 5ghz. I'd prefer N for streaming to the Apple TV, not sure where that bottleneck will live...

The iPad can connect to 5ghz N.

Bingo. That's one reason I run the other band in 2.4 GHz NGB mixed mode.

I did a lot of experimenting with large file transfers when I first got the Dual band express, and I can tell you that for MY use cases, I got best results when I put only the main computer (that the other devices will talk to most often) on the dedicated 5GHz band. I generally attach all the others devices to the 2.4 GHz band even if they are capable of doing the 5 GHz. In this way, more often than not, if two devices are streaming data from one to the other, they are usually not riding the same band and competing with one another. (Because one end is almost always my main computer.) Try it. It works. Also, I'm not typically streaming high bandwidth to more than one device at a time, so there doesn't tend to be a lot of contention on that mixed mode network even though the majority of my devices are assigned to it.

Thompson
post #35 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chintan100 View Post

Ample pictures. Love the black strip that goes around it.

Wonder why it's black. Wouldn't a clear strip effectively achieve the same color?
post #36 of 175
I want to see screen shots of what it looks like when you play music. A visualizer would be great.
post #37 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by yensid98 View Post

I'll stick with my original AppleTV so I'm not required to stream everything. I also like buying movies occasionally which you can't do on the new device. Netflix streaming is pervasive and I've got it on three other devices. Certainly for current AppleTV owners, there is little to no reason to buy the new one.

If you buy movies with the previous Apple TV, they get transfered back to your host computer, right? Why don't you just go to that computer and buy them through iTunes directly? Then you can stream them to the new AppleTV.

The only problem I see with this is you have to get off the couch to make an impulse buy. The solution is simple: either don't make impulse buys of movies, or get off the couch. :-)

Thompson
post #38 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by walshbj View Post

I just realized my new iPhone 4 can't connect to my AE dual-band on the 5ghz band I've reserved for N devices. The iPhone does N, but not at 5ghz. I'd prefer N for streaming to the Apple TV, not sure where that bottleneck will live...

The iPad can connect to 5ghz N.

Put your new AppleTV on the dedicated 5GHZ network if you feel like it's necessary. (FWIW, when streaming from the internet I suspect that your bottleneck will most likely be your internet service to your house, regardless of whether you use 5 GHz or mixed mode 2.4 GHz.)

Then, if you intend on streaming stuff from your computer to the AppleTV, put the computer on the other band in mixed mode. You're really not going to have a lot of competing info streaming about there are you? I can tell you this: any decreased bandwidth your main computer experiences just because it is running on a mixed mode network is going to be better than the guaranteed slowdown you'll get from having both ends of the streaming (computer and AppleTV) riding the same band and hitting it very hard simultaneously.

So, my advice is actually this:

Put your main computer and AppleTV on different bands. Probably doesn't matter which one is on the mixed mode network unless you have other devices that have to be on the mixed mode network and that will stream content to/from your main computer now and then. Then you want the main computer on the 5 GHz network.

Thompson
post #39 of 175
A smaller aperture would make for pictures that are in focus.

When do owners of earlier models get NetFlix?
post #40 of 175
Quote:
Originally Posted by thompr View Post

Actually, the easiest solution is to get one of the new dual band AirPort extremes. Run one band as 5 GHz N only, and run the other one as 2.4 GHz Mixed Mode (N, G & B). Go ahead and give them two separate names so you can specifically assign devices to whichever band you want. If you have two N devices that are going to talk to one another frequently, I've found that it is better to attach one of them to the 5GHz N and the other to the 2.4 GHz Mixed, otherwise during any given transfer the two devices are competing for wireless bandwidth with one another. By putting one of the N's on the mixed mode (and potentially slightly handicapped) band the contention is removed, and the result is better throughput... even if there are some G devices attached (but not currently doing anything).

Thompson

Interesting... I have (if all were on at the same time) 8 wireless devices in my house. And normally 3 to 4 on the network at any one time. Can I hook a hard drive to the AE and use as a time machine drive? I know you can hook one and use as a NAS drive. Nothing on the Apple site mentions a time machine drive.

Getting my wife to allow me to spend 180 bucks on a router.... and a hard drive to match... will not be easy... Maybe my TC will take a dive soon.
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