A Look At The Apple TV Set Top Box
Despite its name, the Apple TV is not a television, but a simple, compact , 0.9 inches tall, 3.9 inches wide, and 3.9 inches deep (and weighs a mere 270g) , “set top box” that enables it to wirelessly connect and stream content from iTunes. This means that you can display anything from music, films, audiobooks, videos, TV shows and movie rentals from as many as five Macs or PCs to a digitally enhanced-definition or high-definition TV.
The device is so tiny that it’s almost in danger of being pulled around any surface by its cables. Fortunately, the cable comes beautifully wrapped and presented in typical Apple fashion, curled up and lying nice and flat.
All this is great news, as it means a wave goodbye to all those endless hours hunched over your laptop or PC to watch a film or your favorite show. Now you can simply kick back on your sofa, pop some popcorn and let the Apple TV do all the work. And the possibilities are endless. The Apple TV can be hooked up to any monitor or TV, so you could effectively create your own home cinema with a 50″+ screen linked up to a surround sound system of your choice, and you’ll be ready to go. Just ensure that you have a fast internet connection, and you can check this with a broadband speed test.
In the box you’ll also find the wonderfully simplistic, elegant and solidly-built aluminum Apple TV remote. With seven button and four directions on the D-pad, it isn’t the greatest device for typing in emails or navigating around as a keyboard, but once you have bypassed the initial set-up, there’s seldom any reason to use it as such. What’s more, you can download the Remote App on your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch devices to control the Apple TV , ingenious. You only need to swipe up and down and tap the screen to navigate around the menus, while using the onscreen touch keyboard for typing. One thing you can’t do, however, is connect a keyboard, wired or via Bluetooth, which is disappointing.
The connections are an HDMI output, a micro USB service port, an optical S/PDIF audio output for piping audio output to an AV receiver, the figure 8 power socket (so there’s no need for a power brick) and a Gigabit Ethernet port. You’ll also have a choice for Wi-Fi convenience or Ethernet reliability and speed as Wi-Fi N is also built in. However, it’s important to note that if your network connection authenticates via a browser login, you won’t be able to go online, as the Apple TV has no web browser available.
As for general connectivity, that’s it really. There are no SD slots available for looking at your photos and videos straight from your camera, no USB port for a USB stick or hard drive, no aerial for recording TV and no Blu-ray drive.