In addition to its iPhone announcement, the newly-renamed Apple Inc. put a price tag on the Apple TV, its forthcoming set-top box designed to bridge the gap between digital media and video stored on a Mac or Windows computer and your high-definition living room televisions. Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention it ties in with Apple’s iTunes store, wouldn’t we?
As envisioned by Apple, the Apple TV basically acts as a storage receptacle for movies, TV shows, and other video downloaded to or stored on a Mac or PC. Equipped with a 40 GB hard drive, 100Base-T Ethernet and 802.11n Wi-Fi, users sync content with their iTV, then watch it on their living room enhanced- or high-definition wide-screen television using a simple Apple remote and a Front Row-like interface. The Apple TV will offer HDMI and component video output, optical audio output, and offers 720p high-definition output.
"Apple TV is like a DVD player for the 21st century—you connect it to your entertainment system just like a DVD player, but it plays digital content you get from the Internet rather than DVDs you get from a physical store," said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, in a release. "Apple TV plays the same iTunes content that users enjoy on their computers and iPods, so now they can even watch part of a movie in their living room, and watch the rest later on their iPod."
And, of course, Apple would love it if Apple TV users purchased lots of movies from iTunes for playback via the Apple TV: the company just announced that in addition to feature films from studio Disney, Paramount will be making a good portion of its movie catalog available for download via iTunes as well. (Apple is also touting that more than 2 billion songs have been downloaded from iTunes since its launch, with more than a billion of those sales coming in the last year.)
The Apple TV will be available in February for $299, and requires iTunes 7 or later for Mac OS X or Windows XP, an 802.11b/g/n wireless or wired Ethernet network, and broadband Internet access.
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