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Apple TV switches to streaming, gains 99-cent HDTV rentals

updated 02:50 pm EDT, Wed September 1, 2010

ABC, Fox, Netflix sign on as early partners

Apple today exposed a major overhaul of the Apple TV, long the company's neglected "hobby" product. The new set-top is roughly a quarter the size of the original, and all black. It includes HDMI, USB, Ethernet and optical audio connections, as well as 802.11n Wi-Fi. In terms of interface it continues to use a button-based remote, and the firmware resembles earlier versions. Inside, however, there is no longer any option of permanent storage.

The device is now entirely based around streaming, mostly in the form of HD rentals. Movies can be rented from Apple for $5, while TV shows can now be rented for the first time at a price of 99 cents an episode. Only ABC and Fox will initially have shows available. People will also be able to stream video from Netflix and YouTube though, or photos from Flickr and MobileMe.

Locally people will be able to stream music, photos and videos from a nearby computer. Via Apple's new AirPlay technology, people should also be able to push media from iOS devices such as an iPad. Pre-orders are beginning today at a cost of $99, although the product will only ship in four weeks.




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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -23

    Yes...

    Because the number one complaint of AppleTV owners was the inability to stream and having to store content.

    Oh, wait, the AppleTV has always been able to stream, and people wanted more space, because streaming sucks compared to having a local copy.

    Of course, I guess Apple only sells to people with newer TVs. No HDMI, no problem. Just buy a new set!

    Comment buried. Show
  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -28

    What????

    Pre-orders are beginning today at a cost of $99, although the product will only ship in four weeks.

    Why would Apple restrict it to only ship in four weeks. What happens after four weeks? Do they stop selling it?

  1. Manhamma

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2010

    +3

    @tv

    Personally I've never been able to get my head around why @tv even had local storage beyond a few gigabytes of flash for temporary caching. At the prices they were selling at I would have wanted MUCH more local storage than what they were offering. Add to that the heavy users (iTunes movie/tv buyers) would need to use a computer to store their content that wouldn't fit on local storage.

    From the description it seems like streaming from a computer is still supported, a place where high capacity storage is somewhat more cost efficient. Overall I think its the upgrade that was needed to this device, ditch the local store, make it less of a "computer" and more "device" but leave the ability to tether to other household computers.

    I'm not interested in purchasing one myself... perhaps if the OS is jailbroken so I can run a plex 9 client on it for viewing media center content on the other tv's in the house. I won't hold my breath though.

  1. vintagegeek

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: May 2007

    +5

    AppleTV = Mac Mini or Should I get an iPad

    I think if you want lots of local storage, plus streaming, plus everything else you should just by a Mac Mini. When they added the HDMI output they pretty much said....here is your new AppleTV. Having a $99 streaming device may be worth it if you watch a lot of Netflix and don't want to hear your MacBook's fans screaming away and watch the temp go to 182 degreesF. Personally, I've found my AppleTV is great once I added the aTVFlash product to it...and now I use my iPad for streaming, although its a little small for the family to watch. But the nice thing is it doesn't get hot and has no fans.

  1. bluejammm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006

    +2

    Netflix on old ATV

    So flks with an older ATV are SOL for streaming Netflix????

  1. bluejammm

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jul 2006

    0

    Also...

    No Pandora? s**** it, I'll keep my old ATV and add a Roku for $80.

  1. Woode

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2007

    +3

    $249 was too expensive...

    for what I wanted, which was to just stream stuff. And there were no TV series rentals, which is the HUGE thing for me. Well, those were answered for me, even though rentals are just ABC and Fox for now. I'm really, really hoping for rentals from stuff like Discovery, History, A&E and the like. About the only thing I might watch as far as network TV is Glee, which luckily is on ABC.

    So, I dove in anyway and ordered mine today.

    BTW, you can stream Pandora with AirFoil...

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  1. testudo

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Aug 2001

    -11

    Re: $249 was too expensive...

    About the only thing I might watch as far as network TV is Glee, which luckily is on ABC.

    It's on Fox.

    BTW, you can stream Pandora with AirFoil...

    Sure, if you want to spend $25. And have your computer tied up streaming music for you.

  1. jwdsail

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jun 2000

    0

    testudo - we rarely agree...

    I don't agree w/ you often, but yeah, Apple missed the mark on this.

    No local storage, no ability to purchase (not rent), and no iApps (even though it has a A4) = no buy for me.

    The Mac Mini remains the best Apple product to use w/ a HDTV.

    Now the new aTV has the A4, so maybe if enough people go to apple.com/feedback and say "hey we DO want storage, and we want iApps"... maybe at WWDC the AppleTV can become a real live boy, er, a decent product that I'd buy and recommend to *anyone*..

  1. AmiGod

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2010

    +2

    You can indirectly make video purchases

    " ... Locally people will be able to stream music, photos and videos from a nearby computer. ..."

    Okay, so you can't make any type of purchases directly from your aTV. But you can with your computer, then stream said videos with the aTV.

    Maybe the next version of the iOS for it will introduce the ability to make the purchase via the aTV, providing it is possible to store the purchase onto a nearby networked computer.

    Personally, I love this new aTV, and I'm more likely to purchase it than I would have the ones with hard drives. I love the idea that I can stream the videos off my computer without making yet another copy of it

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