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Apple introduces new Apple TV software, lowers hardware pricing

post #1 of 95
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Presenting at the Macworld Expo on Tuesday, Apple unveiled an all new version of its Apple TV software that allows movie fans to rent movies on the iTunes Store directly from their widescreen TV, and also lowered the price of Apple TV hardware to just $229.

With iTunes Movie Rentals and Apple TV, users can just click a button on their remote to effortlessly rent movies from a catalog of over 1,000 titles by the end of February, including over 100 titles in high definition video with 5.1 Dolby Digital surround sound, with no computer required.

DVD-quality iTunes Movie Rentals are $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99. Apple will provide the new Apple TV software free of charge to existing Apple TV owners when it releases the new Apple TV priced at $229 in about two weeks, the company said.

"With the new Apple TV and iTunes Movie Rentals, movie lovers can rent DVD-quality or stunning HD movies from their couch with just a click of a button," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "No more driving to the video store or waiting for DVDs to arrive in the mail."

Once a movie is rented, it starts downloading from the iTunes Store directly to Apple TV, and users with a fast Internet connection can start viewing the movie in seconds. Customers have up to 30 days to start watching it, and once a movie has been started customers have 24 hours to finish it -- or watch it multiple times.
With Apple TV, users can also view photos from their computers, Flickr and .Mac Web Galleries on their widescreen TV as slideshows or screen savers, and anytime photos are updated on Flickr or .Mac, they are automatically updated on Apple TV.

Apple TV users can now also browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 125,000 video and audio podcasts, view over 50 million originally created videos from YouTube or choose from a selection of six million songs, over 600 TV shows and 10,000 music videos to purchase directly from their Apple TV. Purchases downloaded to Apple TV are automatically synced back to iTunes on the user's computer for playback on their computer, all current generation iPods or the iPhone.

Apple TV easily connects 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 802.11 wireless networking, Apple TV now automatically plays all of your iTunes content without setup or management.

Pricing & Availability

The new Apple TV software will be available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers later this month. Apple TV, which includes the Apple Remote, is available from the Apple Store, Apple's retail stores and Apple Authorized Resellers for a suggested retail price of $229 (US) for the 40GB model and $329 (US) for the 160GB model (US and Canada). Apple TV requires an 802.11g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV. iPod games will not play on Apple TV. iTunes Movie Rentals are available in the US only.
post #2 of 95
Wow! I'm impressed with your speed!

lol Bravo.
post #3 of 95
If Apple had upped the specs on this to handle 1080p playback and/or opened it up to developers, I'd be interested ... as it is, I'm leaning toward getting a PlayStation III for media playback.

That said, these improvements should boost Apple TV sales a bunch.
post #4 of 95
No Apple TV hardware announcements?
post #5 of 95
The new AppleTV 2 specs on Apple.com says it is compatible with Plasma/LCD TVs with 1080i/1080p resolution.

Supported video resolution still seem to top out at 720P. Does this mean that:
  • Apple TV 2 can display photos in 1080p resolution?
  • Apple TV 2 can upscale 480p/720p content to 1080p?
post #6 of 95
Folks

720p looks fine provided you're not running 50+ inches. I've only got an LCD that displays 1366x768 and some HD DVD movies look stunning.

Don't get caught up on the specs just yet. We've got rental access now, surround sound and a lower price. I'd take that over the illogical calls for adding Blu-ray or DVD drives to the thing.

I'll be buying my first tv in a month or two.
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post #7 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Folks

720p looks fine provided you're not running 50+ inches. I've only got an LCD that displays 1366x768 and some HD DVD movies look stunning.

Don't get caught up on the specs just yet. We've got rental access now, surround sound and a lower price. I'd take that over the illogical calls for adding Blu-ray or DVD drives to the thing.

I'll be buying my first tv in a month or two.

720P looks fine for movies, but displaying photos at 720p on a 52" 1080p screen doesn't look nearly as good. Something to do with how the human eye can resolve static images vs motion. I am more interested in the Apple TV as a way to keep my photos and music more accessible in the living room. At almost $200, it is probably the best solution for serving photos and music out there even if one were not to use its movie features at all...
post #8 of 95
These are great enhancements however, I did not like that I only get 24hrs to watch the whole movie after I start playing it, they should've made that to be at-least 48 hrs. I may start playing it to see the quality or to see if it downloaded properly, heck I may start playing it by mistake.
Anywho, I'm glad I don't have to buy a new Atv
post #9 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmjoe View Post

If Apple had upped the specs on this to handle 1080p playback and/or opened it up to developers, I'd be interested ... as it is, I'm leaning toward getting a PlayStation III for media playback.

That said, these improvements should boost Apple TV sales a bunch.

1080p is a waste of money for most consumers. Apple is right to not chase the diminishing returns point that's been reached in video quality.
post #10 of 95
So about this new MacBook Air....do people think we will be able to swap the 80gig HD for a 160 1.8? Or are we stuck with that paltry HD??

Can we upgrade to 4 gigs of RAM???
post #11 of 95
HD movie rentals only? No HD for sale? Not good.
If you can buy or rent a regular movie you should be able to do the same for HD.
post #12 of 95
I don't agree with you guys about 1080p having diminishing returns. You can clearly see a detail difference between 720p streams and 1080p streams on my 42" 1080 Plasma. You can try this yourself by getting a 1080p DVI->HDMI adapter and running 720p and 1080p streams on your mac to your computer. Or you can take a PS3 and a good quality blu-ray (ratatouille) and force your ps3 to display as 720p or 1080p. There is clearly a detail difference even at 7 feet back.

While I agree that distributing 1080p over itunes doesn't make a ton of sense... I don't agree to limit Apple TV's playback. I for one would much rather have a refurbished Intel Mac mini for another 250 and stream all my videos to it. Perhaps hook up a terabyte drive and rip all my dvds to it and use DVDPedia to play them from a library selection. AppleTV internals haven't changed in a year. Sad.

Wrong thread Louis.

 

 

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post #13 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Folks

720p looks fine provided you're not running 50+ inches. I've only got an LCD that displays 1366x768 and some HD DVD movies look stunning.

Don't get caught up on the specs just yet. We've got rental access now, surround sound and a lower price. I'd take that over the illogical calls for adding Blu-ray or DVD drives to the thing.

I'll be buying my first tv in a month or two.

HDTV is all about specs. And you still can't buy HD movies.
post #14 of 95
So, 24 hours after start. But does it self destruct after viewing once?

I know my kids will watch Monster's Inc. 25 times durring the three days we have it from Blockbuster. Sure that's over three days, but they will watch the same movie 4-5 times in a day, if I let them. Even my 10 year old will watch Harry Potter 3 times in a day, again, when she's allowed...

And what about my own dumb self? I hit play, and an hour later I'm asleep. I usually don't stop the movie as I have fallen asleep... If I fall asleep at the rental do I miss out on what I slept through?


Just wondering...

Honestly I was hoping Apple would update the hardware. My Father-in-Law has the AppleTV, if he had to upgrade to the new bit of tech I'd get first dibs at the old Apple TV, for free! Sure no rentals, but it gets my music and pictures into the living room really easy...
post #15 of 95
I have to say I am a little disappointed with this update. It dosen't make a lot of sense for me to rent from iTunes as Blockbuster and Netflix are far cheaper when you get 10 movies a month. I was hoping for a subscription based rental I suppose. I am glad to see some progress forward but I don't think I will not pull the trigger just yet. Personally I would like to see the external USB superdrive that you can get with the Macbook air usable for the Apple TV for those of us who still have a large DVD library and do not want to rip them. I am well aware that this does not fit into Apple's "Business Model" but if they did that they would get more people using this device which in turn, I think, would get people into the new rental service.
post #16 of 95
NO web browser for Apple TV.
Oh well I guess that would have cut into computer sales. And it would have been so easy to add Safari to it.
post #17 of 95
Ace, a free update to my Apple TVs!
post #18 of 95
Well done, Apple. Well done. HD Movie rentals with 5.1 surround, a fair price, and support from all major studios. The Apple TV is suddenly relevant.
post #19 of 95
I was hoping for a 22" MacBook Pro.
post #20 of 95
I just wish it would have been opened up to 3rd party tuners and dvrs. That would have made it a sweet set top box for us free over the air hd folks. Looks like I'm gonna be stuck with a MacMini. But even the Mini doesnt have HDMI out like some other OS's machines. Apple has all the sweet ways to interact with media, but they never quite go all the way.
post #21 of 95
Seems Apple is intent on ripping of UK consumers though. £199 when it is now only $229? I think someone at Apple needs to check the currency calculator - they haven't lowered the price at all here.
post #22 of 95
OK, here's an odd thought. With AppleTV getting more and more functionality, and connecting to your TV screen... Add a web browser and bluetooth for a wireless keyboard, and you now have a computer that my Mom could use. now THAT would generate a sale.
post #23 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by bambuhiphop View Post

I have to say I am a little disappointed with this update. It dosen't make a lot of sense for me to rent from iTunes as Blockbuster and Netflix are far cheaper when you get 10 movies a month. I was hoping for a subscription based rental I suppose. I am glad to see some progress forward but I don't think I will not pull the trigger just yet. Personally I would like to see the external USB superdrive that you can get with the Macbook air usable for the Apple TV for those of us who still have a large DVD library and do not want to rip them. I am well aware that this does not fit into Apple's "Business Model" but if they did that they would get more people using this device which in turn, I think, would get people into the new rental service.

Agreed. Unless Apple plans to offer a $20/month service that lets you rent as many movies as you want, the current $2.99/3.99/4.99 per 24-hour viewing period option would be quite non-competitive against the likes of NetFlix....
post #24 of 95
The only thing i can say is they're probably setting up for bigger and better things.
I was really hoping to hear about releasing a web browser for AppleTV.
post #25 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by macshark View Post

The new AppleTV 2 specs on Apple.com says it is compatible with Plasma/LCD TVs with 1080i/1080p resolution.

Supported video resolution still seem to top out at 720P. Does this mean that:
  • Apple TV 2 can display photos in 1080p resolution?
  • Apple TV 2 can upscale 480p/720p content to 1080p?

AFAIK the existing Apple TV has no problems showing photos at 1920x1080.

It's video that's tied to the 720p max resolution.
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post #26 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Folks

720p looks fine provided you're not running 50+ inches. I've only got an LCD that displays 1366x768 and some HD DVD movies look stunning.

Don't get caught up on the specs just yet. We've got rental access now, surround sound and a lower price. I'd take that over the illogical calls for adding Blu-ray or DVD drives to the thing.

I'll be buying my first tv in a month or two.

They took your advice Murch. Almost everything you said in the other thread.

I'm still not sure that it'll be a winner, but it is much more appealing. What download speeds are necessary in order to rent these HD movies?
post #27 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by macshark View Post

Agreed. Unless Apple plans to offer a $20/month service that lets you rent as many movies as you want, the current $2.99/3.99/4.99 per 24-hour viewing period option would be quite non-competitive against the likes of NetFlix....


I mean, hell. Even if they added the functionality to be able to use the new Air Disk feature, OS X is OS X right?, they would gain huge market share a lot like the current ipod market. It seems in the video realm that they are using the itunes to drive video sales and rental. On the music side it is the hardware (ipods) that drive music sales on itunes. With Amazon coming up in the world Apple still is selling ipods. Do that with video, huh! Gain that extra market share in terms of hardware sale by opening up the hardware to pull those Netflix, Blockbuster, PS3, xbox, blu-ray consumers over to your product and then tie them into iTunes. They did it with audio! I understand that the Apple TV is ahead of its time and is trying to get people away from physical media but the fact of the matter is that there is still a large group of people with physical media. Get them into this and then transition them to your model. Sorry for the rant.\
post #28 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

Well done, Apple. Well done. HD Movie rentals with 5.1 surround, a fair price, and support from all major studios. The Apple TV is suddenly relevant.

Purchasing HD would have made it relevant. As is- it's adequate.
post #29 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

Purchasing HD would have made it relevant. As is- it's adequate.

People will spend $3-$5 to rent a digital movie, but they won't spend $10-$20 to buy a digital copy they can't play anywhere else and have to be responsible for archiving. That's the reason we have a rental system today, instead of the purchase-to-own system that wasn't working.
post #30 of 95
Gorgeous piece of technology, I have to say. I'm just awaiting the announcement of Movie rentals in Europe,
and than I'll purchase this beauty, immediately.
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post #31 of 95
The AppleTV box has component (RGB) outs on the back. Can you only get 480p from these?
post #32 of 95
Ignoring Netflix online viewing capability I still believe Netflix dominates the aTV in quality, available catalog and usability. The aTV wins for instant access (vs. a couple days turnaround for Netflix).

I'll wait and see if they show the mini any loving in the next couple months. Otherwise I'll look at other solutions. Obviously the aTV is not what I'm looking for.

For those that want what the aTV offers I'm happy for you. It's an interesting device in a nice form factor.

hmm...

Maybe if that superdrive add-on for the Macbook Air was a viable accessory for the aTV...
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post #33 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by G_Warren View Post

Seems Apple is intent on ripping of UK consumers though. £199 when it is now only $229? I think someone at Apple needs to check the currency calculator - they haven't lowered the price at all here.

And we don't get movies....
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post #34 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by musterion View Post

The AppleTV box has component (RGB) outs on the back. Can you only get 480p from these?

On my current ATV, I can get a max of 1080i out of the component cables. My HDTV is capable of 1080i only, so I run at 720p with excellent results.
post #35 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cory Bauer View Post

Well done, Apple. Well done. HD Movie rentals with 5.1 surround, a fair price, and support from all major studios. The Apple TV is suddenly relevant.

Apparently not all HD movies will have 5.1 surround according to Gizmodo.
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post #36 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kishan View Post

On my current ATV, I can get a max of 1080i out of the component cables. My HDTV is capable of 1080i only, so I run at 720p with excellent results.

Thanks, This makes it very attractive to me, as I'm an early adopter--I bought a floor model of a 30" Tube Samsung before HDMI came out.

How big is your TV and what is the diff in visual quality to you between 720p and 1080i ?
post #37 of 95
I can now say the AppleTV is more appealing than it was yesterday. no computer required, movie rentals, and a nice easy user interface for selecting movies. Nice touch. Glad Apple made these changes.

Yes, I agree, I think a subscription model would have been nice to see too but I'll take what I can get.

I think I just might actually get one now....
post #38 of 95
am I the only one to get that Steve Jobs said there was a software update for existing Apple TV owners and NEW hardware in 2 weeks from the Apple store? Everyone here seems to be saying this update is software only.
post #39 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by G_Warren View Post

Seems Apple is intent on ripping of UK consumers though. £199 when it is now only $229? I think someone at Apple needs to check the currency calculator - they haven't lowered the price at all here.

Nope they haven't. And we still haven't got any movies at all to buy never mind rent them.
post #40 of 95
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

HD movie rentals only? No HD for sale? Not good.
If you can buy or rent a regular movie you should be able to do the same for HD.

I guess that's the deal with the devil... er, I mean studios they had to settle on. Of course, if you want to run out and buy a BD players and discs, you can still do that.

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