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Introducing Apple TV
by kp

Apple TV
Introducing Apple TV: now you can have the movies, music and photos on your Mac right in your family room without moving your computer. Apple TV is a digital hub that can turn your television into a multimedia center. Think of it as home theater simplified without all the wires and manuals to work through.

At 1.1 inches tall, Apple TV is smaller than the Mac mini, but has enough room to hold a 40GB hard drive and an Intel processor. It can store up to 9,000 songs (with the average song 4 minutes) or 50 hours of video. Apple TV doesn't limit you to just songs and movies; you can add podcasts, home movies, and photos. Transferring these files to Apple TV is a cinch with the built-in WiFi receiver for 802.11n/g. This hi-speed WiFi comes in handy when syncing gigabytes of information and can run up to 540Mbits/s. Apple TV also allows you to set up streaming with a maximum of five computers in your home - Mac or PC - as long as they have iTunes installed.

If you know the iPod interface, learning to use Apple TV is a no-brainer. The Apple TV remote resembles a first-generation iPod Shuffle with a raised click-wheel and that makes it easy to scroll through your selections. For video, you get a quick preview of your available movies as you scroll through plus the music menu has the cool 3D rotating album art (similar to iTunes' Cover Flow) as you flip through your songs.

Main Menu Movie Menu Music Menu

Apple TV

To connect Apple TV to your television, you need to have a set that is HDMI- or component video-compatible. If you have a non-HD TV (an analog television using composite video), you are out of luck. You also have the choice of optical audio (also called TOSLINK for Dolby Digital® or DTS® surround sound) or RCA connections. An Ethernet port is available for wired networking and a USB port is another way to get content to the Apple TV.

TV Settings
Under the Settings menu in Apple TV, you can set everything from screensavers to display modes. Apple TV is compatible with HD displays with 1080i, 720p, or 480p capability. It is important to note that a typical compressed video file purchased through iTunes is 320 x 240 pixels which is fine for an iPod screen, but can loose picture quality when played on a widescreen display. An alternative is to rip your DVDs at high resolution (typical DVD resolution = 720x 480, HD resolution = 1280 x 720). The only drawback is an increased file size that takes up more hard drive space and is slower to sync.

Apple TV offers an efficient alternative to having a wall of legacy A/V equipment. With the advantage of WiFi, you can have control of your music and movies from any system running iTunes minus the miles of wiring. This multimedia hub gives you access your files locally, but if you don't already have the benefit of HD, it requires a significant investment to upgrade your television. Apple TV provides the freedom to enjoy media from any room with easy setup and interactivity.

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