The latest Apple TV might not be enough of an advancement to suck yet another $99 from your wallet, but after reading our review you might still want to lay down the dough for another trophy on your entertainment stack. It is unclear what Apple is thinking in the long-term vision of TV media, but it is clear that they are making a stab at it.
The latest iteration of Apple TV includes a few long awaited changes. First off, there is the new ui, followed by the latest, greatest A5 SoC. The one change that has come a bit too late is the streaming ability of iTunes movies, and especially the 1080p iTunes and Netflix streaming.
The physical externals are identical to the last Apple TV. Why change a good thing? This little baby will fit inside your pocket and anywhere else you want to put it. It is elegant in appearance, sporting a simple Apple logo and single blinking light.
The same cannot be said of the remote, though. It desperately cries out for an overhaul. The directional buttons especially need greater differentiation from the center button. It is far too easy to inadvertently tap the wrong one. It works well for simple scrolling, but anything beyond that and you are left helpless. I guarantee you will be craving to a bit more than just scroll through a mind-numbing Netflix list. While the input can be a strenuous marathon just to enter your username, owning an iPhone, an iPod touch, or an iPad allows use of a full keyboard.
As for ports, there is just the HDMI port and the optical audio jack for speakers. Apple has not released any specs on the unit, aside from the A5 over the A4 processor in this Apple TV. However, this is neither a dual-core nor an A5X. The performance hit is minimal.
Setup is a 3-step process:
- Plug the box in
- Enter your Wi-Fi password
- Enter your iTune credentials
After this simple procedure, you can rent a movie in about 3 seconds flat. If you want to move your Apple TV to another location it is just as simple.
The Apple TV allows for watching movies and TV shows in the Cloud of iTunes, paid or rented movies and shows, or even straight from your own computer. There are still some wrinkles to iron out in licensing before the likes of HBO and Hulu show up. There are times when HBO locks their shows in an exclusive licensing and viewers must wait to re-watch movies. Negotiations are in the works, but the wheels are turning too slowly to be of interest to many.
In fact, this shortcoming is the most irritating of all in the Apple TV experience. Apple has Netflix, but none of the other dozens of methods for watching TV. One need only think of Hulu for the obvious oversight. Cable companies and tech companies have been rivals from the beginning of the Internet, so any negotiations will be dragged along grudgingly.