Apple introduces new Apple TV software, lowers hardware pricing

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 94
    Wow! I'm impressed with your speed!



    lol Bravo.
  • Reply 2 of 94
    pmjoepmjoe Posts: 565member
    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.
  • Reply 3 of 94
    No Apple TV hardware announcements?
  • Reply 4 of 94
    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?

  • Reply 5 of 94
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,278member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 94
    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...
  • Reply 7 of 94
    suhailsuhail Posts: 192member
    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
  • Reply 8 of 94
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 94
    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???
  • Reply 10 of 94
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 11 of 94
    emig647emig647 Posts: 2,414member
    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.
  • Reply 12 of 94
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 13 of 94
    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...
  • Reply 14 of 94
    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.
  • Reply 15 of 94
    teckstudteckstud Posts: 6,476member
    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.
  • Reply 16 of 94
    Ace, a free update to my Apple TVs!
  • Reply 17 of 94
    cory bauercory bauer Posts: 1,286member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 94
    I was hoping for a 22" MacBook Pro.

  • Reply 19 of 94
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 94
    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.
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