Apple TV: an in-depth review By Jacqui Cheng, Clint Ecker March 27, 2007 Ars Technica Introduction At Macworld in January of this year, Apple formally announced the Apple TV (previously known as the "iTV"), an iTunes-compatible streaming media device meant to revolutionize the way we watch television. The announcement of the Apple TV also came at a time when Apple unveiled the iPhone and officially changed the company name from Apple Computer to Apple Inc.-a move that indicated Apple's seriousness in focusing more on lifestyle products for the general consumer than on traditional computers. Today's Apple wants into every facet of our lives, including our living rooms. And so, after several delays attributed mostly (among the rumor mill) to unfinished software, the Apple TV finally started shipping on March 20. Fans and critics alike have eagerly looked forward to its release so that we can decide once and for all how Apple could compete in the quickly-saturating downloads-to-TV market. We're approaching the Apple TV from a slightly different perspective than most of Apple's prospective customers. We've had a Mac mini hooked up to our TV ever since the mini's launch in 2005 and acting as an HTPC-like device for all of our non-live-TV needs. Our mini, which we upgraded to a Mac mini core solo last year, is able to stream music and video content through iTunes from other Macs and PCs in the house-just as the Apple TV can-but it can also play a wide variety of other files. The mini acts as a DVD player, and it can function as a DVR with the use of an Elgato eyeTV. It is a full-fledged computer, after all, with the TV as its monitor. But there are some limits to using the mini in this way. With the G4 mini, we had to use an external mouse and keyboard to control the computer (and since we're lazy and want to plant our butts on the couch the whole time, they had to be wireless). However, all the way from the couch, it was hard at times to read the screen of the mini while searching for files or going through playlists in iTunes. The Intel mini came with Front Row, which made it easier for me to stream iTunes content from elsewhere in the house, with the big, swooping menus. So what does the Apple TV have to offer us-people who have been slightly spoiled with the use of a seemingly more versatile device for years now? We tried to examine both how the Apple TV would fare among my family members who are intimidated by even the slightest hint of technology, but also how it would fare among fellow geeks. To do this, we decided to spend some quality time using our Apple TVs before reviewing it, and we seeded our staff with a few units to get feedback from both PC and Mac users, from both HD videophiles and standard definition users. This probably isn't the first Apple TV review you've read, but we also spent much more time going over everything than was possible last week. ... http://arstechnica.com/reviews/hardware/appletv.ars ---------------------------------------------------------------------- You can UNSUBSCRIBE from the OpenDTV list in two ways: - Using the UNSUBSCRIBE command in your user configuration settings at FreeLists.org - By sending a message to: opendtv-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx with the word unsubscribe in the subject line.