Apple TV

Everyone’s heard of the iPod. This small, sleek device help revolutionize the way music people listen to music. Apple wasn’t the first company to produce a small mp3 playing device, but they’re ability to market it was superb. In addition, Apple is great at designing electronics that look beautiful and are easy to use. Yet very few people have heard of the Apple TV.
The Apple TV came out in March of 2007. It only supports enhanced-definition or high-definition televisions, plugging in with either HDMI or component video (as opposed to RCA, or the red/white/yellow wires most people are used to). The Apple TV will function with a standard TV if it has component input, but the picture may be distorted. Audio can be transferred using the usual RCA audio connectors or optical.
Next you connect your computer to the device using either Ethernet or wifi. This is how you transfer videos to the device. It also has a USB port for diagnostic purposes. It comes with an Apple Remote to use with the device. The Apple TV has a forty gigabyte hard drive and syncs like an iPod. Each Apple TV can be paired with a computer’s iTunes library. Syncing copies your videos from your computer onto the Apple TV. The Apple TV can then be removed from the network and used independently from iTunes, just like an iPod. Videos can also be streamed straight to the Apple TV. Up to five computers can stream videos to a single Apple TV. This means that you don’t have to sync or move files on to the Apple TV. The Apple TV can load the files over the network straight from a computer and play them on your television.
The Apple TV supports a variety of formats. Videos can be encoded either in H.264 or MPEG-4. It supports AAC, mp3, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV audio formats. It also supports JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG formats for images. In addition, Apple QuickTime, Apple’s video playing software for computers, has an export function to re-encode videos that weren’t originally compatible with the Apple TV for use with the device.
Just like with the iPod, Apple wasn’t the first to have this idea. In fact, it has been around for years. In my apartment we simply have a computer plugged directly into our TV at all times, and other computers are plugged into the TV once in a while too. However, hopefully Apple will bring this into the mainstream just like the iPod brought mp3 playing devices into the mainstream. Microsoft’s attempts at media center PCs was, in my opinion, not very successful. We’ll see if Apple does better with the Apple TV!