Apple has announced that owners of its Apple TV will be able to stream videos from the online video sharing site YouTube beginning in mid-June. Initially introduced as a way to easily move videos from a personal computer to the living room for viewing on a big screen (or via a home theater setup) via Apple’s iTunes application, the YouTube connection marks the Apple TV’s first departure from the iTunes ecosystem—and may foreshadow Apple’s willingness to let the Apple TV tap into the rapidly growing world of online video.
The YouTube capability will be available as a free software update in mid-June. Users will be able to search, browse, and watch YouTube videos using the Apple TV and included Apple Remote without having to go back to their computer, download or save the videos separately, or reconfigure their existing Apple TV setups within iTunes. YouTube members will be able to log in to their accounts and access their favorite videos.
“This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it’s really, really fun,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a statement. “YouTube is a worldwide sensation, and Apple TV is bringing it directly from the Internet onto the widescreen TV in your living room.”
Apple also announced it is offering a larger 160 GB hard drive as a build-to-order option with the Apple TV. The 160 GB version of the Apple TV carries a $399 price tag; an Apple TV with the original 40 GB drive is currently priced at $299.