Homing in on the Apple TV

Trends Trends & Culture - May 4th, 2007

by Robert Estel

For those happily living the iLife, with your iBook and iPod, loaded with iTunes and iPhoto, and just about everything starting with a lower case i, which I stop to admit, that’s a lot of i’s, Apple has yet a new iToy for you to keep your i on. Alright, enough with the i’s already, my spell check is already groaning. While the iPhone is on the horizon, Apple has its hardware sights set on a more pressing issue, something that a lot of people’s lives revolved around. That’s right, the old television. And if you couldn’t guess, they are keeping it quite simple, with the iTV, or as it is officially known as, the Apple TV.

For the Apple lover, no living room can’t be com­plete without this small white box sitting on your tel­evision. This box will allow you to wirelessly stream content from your PC or Mac and iTunes to your tel­evision, meaning no more huddling around the moni­tor to watch that copy of Pirates of the Carribean that you just downloaded from the Apple Store. Since it is wirelessly streaming from your iTunes library, this means you can not only watch movies and TV shows, but also listen to your music collection or that latest podcast. But not to stop there, it also features iConnectivity with iPhoto and lets you view your photographs on your television as well.

As for the actual tech specs, Apple TV sports a 40GB hard drive so you can store your content in the box without having to boot up the old iBook. This will supposedly allow you to store up to 50 hours of video content or 9,000 songs. In picture words, that’s 25,000 pictures, ready for viewing at anytime. It comes with all the important connectors, including an HDMI port, the latest thing in audio/video connections. Not only that, but it includes a remote, that looks suspiciously like an old generation iShuffle. And the best thing? It is available now in Japan for the tidy sum of ¥36,800.

So what are the downsides? you may ask. Well it is Apple, so there is a certain amount of protection involved, as to what you can connect to it and play from the Apple TV. You can only play movies and content that you’ve downloaded from the Apple store, and that means there are some codec limitations. Basically this means you can’t play those xvid divx encoded video files that are so popular among net users. However, not to fear, as the Apple TV is providing to be quite modification friendly, and within days of its release, a plethora of modifications have appeared on the net. From upgrading the hard drive, to enabling divx codecs, to even running other operating systems, there is most likely the hack just right for you. Of course, for those who’d rather avoid voiding that warranty, the Apple TV should perform well enough to complement your iLife. So next up, the iTVShuffle?