2nd & 3rd generation Apple TV
|Type||Digital media receiver|
|Release date||Apple TV (1st generation)
January 8, 2007
Apple TV (2nd generation)
September 1, 2010
Apple TV (3rd generation)
March 7, 2012
|Introductory price||USD $99, BRL R$399, CAD $109, GBP £99 AUD $109, EUR €109|
|Operating system||1st generation: 3.0.2
Based on Mac OS X 10.4
Released February 10, 2010
2nd & 3rd generation: 5.2.1
Based on iOS 6.1.3
Released March 19, 2013
|CPU||1st generation: Intel Pentium M
2nd generation: Apple A4
3rd generation: Apple A5
|Storage capacity||1st generation: 40/160 GB
2nd & 3rd generation: 8 GB (Not user-accessible, caching only)
|Memory||1st & 2nd generation: 256 MB
3rd generation: 512 MB
|Input||Apple Wireless Keyboard, Apple Remote, iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad (via Remote)|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), 10/100 Ethernet, Micro-USB, HDMI, Optical audio|
|Online services||iTunes Store, Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, Vimeo, Hulu Plus|
28 mm (1.1 in) (h)
197 mm (7.8 in) (w)
197 mm (7.8 in) (d)
2nd & 3rd generation:
23 mm (0.91 in) (h)
98 mm (3.9 in) (w)
98 mm (3.9 in) (d)
|Weight||1st generation: 2.4 lb (1.1 kg)
2nd & 3rd generation: 0.6 lb (0.27 kg)
|Website||Apple – Apple TV|
Apple TV is a digital media receiver developed and sold by Apple Inc. It is a small form factor network appliance designed to play digital content from the iTunes Store, Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Flickr, iCloud, MLB.tv, NBA League Pass, NHL GameCenter, or any Mac OS X or Windows computer running iTunes on an enhanced-definition or high-definition widescreen television.
Apple offered a preview of the device in September 2006, and began shipping it the following March. It initially shipped with a 40 GB hard disk; a 160 GB version was introduced two months later, and the earlier model was ultimately discontinued.
In September 2010, Apple announced a second-generation version of the Apple TV. About one-quarter of the size and one-third of the price of the original Apple TV, the new device could stream rented content from iTunes and video from computers or iOS devices via AirPlay. The new version no longer has the hard drive; however, it does have an undocumented internal 8 GB flash storage, speculated to be used for smoother playback of streamed media. All content is drawn from online or locally connected sources.
A third generation of the device was introduced at an Apple event on March 7, 2012, with new features such as higher resolution (1080p) and a new user interface.
Apple TV was unveiled as a work in progress called "iTV" at a press conference in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2006. Apple CEO Steve Jobs demonstrated a modified Front Row interface using the Apple Remote. Industry experts described the appliance as a "short Mac Mini". Jobs announced that Apple would start taking pre-orders for Apple TV on January 9, 2007, at the Macworld Conference & Expo. The name "iTV" was originally going to be used to keep it in line with the rest of their "i"-based products (iMac, iPod, etc.), but was not used because television broadcaster ITV holds the rights to the name in the UK and threatened to take legal action against Apple.
At Macworld 2008 on January 15, 2008, Jobs announced a major (and free) software upgrade to the Apple TV. Dubbed "Take Two," the upgrade turned the Apple TV into a stand-alone device that no longer required a computer running iTunes on Mac OS X or Windows to stream or sync content to it. Jobs said, "Apple TV was designed to be an accessory for iTunes and your computer. It was not what people wanted. We learned what people wanted was movies, movies, movies." The update also allowed the device to rent and purchase content from iTunes directly, as well as download podcasts and stream photos from MobileMe (.Mac at the time) and Flickr.
In the March 7, 2012 presentation that mainly dealt with the third generation iPad, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced a third version of the Apple TV. The new Apple TV is externally identical to the previous generation and includes a single-core A5 processor. It also supports 1080p content from iTunes and Netflix.
Apple TV allows consumers to use an HDTV set to view photos, play music and watch video originating from limited Internet services or a local network. The first generation (white) had iTunes, Flickr, Mobileme/.Mac and YouTube. The second generation added Netflix. Both models supported downloading/streaming podcasts.
Supported Internet media services include:
Parental controls allow consumers to limit access to Internet media service content. Internet media is split into four categories: "Internet Photos", "YouTube", "Podcasts", and "Purchase and Rental". Each of the categories is configured by a parental control of "Show", "Hide" or "Ask" to prompt for a 4-digit preset code. In addition, movies, TV shows, music and podcasts can be restricted by rating.
A user can connect a computer on a local network to maintain a central home media library of ripped CD, DVD or HD content, provide direct connectivity to photo organization software such as iPhoto, limit home video access to a local network only, play Internet radio, or preload content on Apple TV to be used later as a non-networked video player. For users who wish to connect the Apple TV to a computer, synchronization and streaming modes are supported.
Apple TV in synchronization mode works in a way similar to the iPod. It is paired with an iTunes library on a single computer and can synchronize with that library, copying all or selected content to its own hard drive. Apple TV need not remain connected to the network after syncing. Photos can sync from iPhoto, Aperture, or from a hard disk folder on a Mac, or Adobe Photoshop Album, Photoshop Elements, or from a hard disk folder in Windows.
First generation Apple TVs can stream content from up to five computers or iTunes libraries. Also, five Apple TVs can be linked to the same iTunes library. The second generation onwards of Apple TV allows users to stream content from more than one iTunes library: these additional iTunes libraries can be on the same or on different computers. This is possible when Apple TV and every iTunes library from which you want to stream content meet all of the following conditions: (1) The Apple TV and iTunes library you are streaming from are all on the same local network, (2) they use the iTunes "Home Sharing" feature, and (3) have the same "Home Sharing" Apple ID.
Apple TV supports the following audio, video, and picture formats:
Attempts to sync unsupported content to Apple TV will draw an error message from iTunes.
The first and second generation Apple TV's video output can be set to either 1080i or 1080p; however, this resolution is limited to the user interface and the viewing of photographs – all other content is simply upscaled to those resolutions. Those models cannot play 1080i or 1080p video content (e.g. HD camera video). The third generation does support 1080p output.
There is an Apple TV export option in QuickTime which allows content in some formats that the device does not support to be easily re-encoded. Applications that use QuickTime to export media can use this; e.g. iMovie's Share menu, iTunes' advanced menu, and some third-party content conversion tools.
Apple TV outputs video through an HDMI port. While the first generation also had component video and RCA stereo audio ports, they were removed in the second generation. The device does not have RCA/composite video or F/RF connectors. Of the original Apple TV, reviewers wrote that Apple is "future-proofing", and "if you do not have HDTV now, you will in the future". The product does not come with audio or video cables.
The device connects to the internet and local networks through an Ethernet or Wi-Fi connection. The device also has a Micro-USB port, but this is reserved for service and diagnostics. On the previous Apple TV, media files could be transferred directly onto the device by syncing with another computer. Once content is stored on the device, an internet connection would no longer be needed to view content.
AirPlay allows iOS devices or an AirPort-enabled computer with the iTunes music player to send a stream of music to multiple (three to six, in typical conditions) stereos connected to an AirPort Express (the audio-only antecedent of Apple TV) or Apple TV.
The AirPort Express' streaming media capabilities use Apple's Remote Audio Output Protocol (RAOP), a proprietary variant of RTSP/RTP. Using WDS-bridging, the AirPort Express can allow AirPlay functionality (as well as Internet access, file and print sharing, etc.) across a larger distance in a mixed environment of wired and up to 10 wireless clients.
Speakers attached to an AirPort Express or Apple TV can be selected from within the "Remote" iPhone/iPod Touch program, allowing full AirPlay compatibility (see "Remote control" section below).
Apple TV can be controlled by many infrared remote controls or paired with the included Apple Remote to prevent interference from other remotes. Either kind of remote can control playback volume, but for music only.
The Apple Wireless Keyboard is supported on the second-generation Apple TV and later using the built-in Bluetooth. The consumer has the ability control media playback, navigate menus and input text and other information. Third-party keyboards that use the Apple layout may also be compatible.
The original Apple TV ran a modified build of Mac OS X v10.4 Tiger that presented the user with an interface similar to that of Front Row. While this interface was merged back into Mac OS X v10.5 in late 2007, major Apple TV enhancements since then ("Take Two" and later) have not been included in Front Row. Content was organized in six groups (movies, TV shows, music, YouTube, podcasts, and photos) and presented in the initial menu along with a Settings option for configuration, including software updates. The included Apple Remote was used to navigate through the menus by using the up or down buttons and selecting options with the play button. The left and right buttons were used to perform rewind and fast-forward functions while viewing video content and perform previous and next song functionality when selecting audio-only content.
Like Front Row on the Mac, the "TV Shows" option allows the user to sort contents by show or date and the "Movies" option also allows the user to view movie trailers for new releases. All video content, including movies, TV shows, music videos, and video podcasts, includes bookmark functionality. Apple TV automatically bookmarks video content midstream to continue playback at a later time. The "Music" submenu offers similar options to those found on an iPod, presenting the available music sorted by artist, album, songs, genres, and composers, as well as offering a shuffle option and listing available audiobooks. As categories are selected with the remote, animated album art is displayed on the side of the display for the contents of the selected category. While playing "audio-only" content such as music and audio podcasts, Apple TV periodically moves album art and content info on the TV display to prevent burn-in on video displays.
From the second generation onwards, Apple TV runs a version of iOS, rather than the modified Mac OS X of the original model. The interface is similar to that of the first generation, with only slight modifications.
|Models||1st generation||2nd generation||3rd generation||3rd generation Rev 2|
|Release date(s)||January 8, 2007||September 1, 2010||March 7, 2012||March 8, 2013|
|Discontinued||September 1, 2010||March 7, 2012||March 8, 2013||In production|
|Model Number - Model ID - Order Number||A1218 - AppleTV1,1 - MA711LL/A||A1378 - AppleTV2,1 - MC572LL/A||A1427 - AppleTV3,1 - MD199LL/A||A1469 - AppleTV3,2 - MD199KS/A|
|Processor||1 GHz Intel "Crofton" Pentium M||Apple A4 (ARM Cortex-A8)||Apple A5 (Single core ARM Cortex-A9, dual core with one core closed)||Apple A5 (ARM Cortex-A9) Single core (Redesign from A5 Dual Core).|
|Graphics||Nvidia GeForce Go 7300 with 64 MB of VRAM||Apple A4 (PowerVR SGX535)||Apple A5 (PowerVR SGX543MP2)||Apple A5 (PowerVR SGX543MP2)|
|Memory||256 MB of 400 MHz DDR2 SDRAM||256 MB||512 MB|
|Storage||40 or 160 GB hard disk||8 GB NAND Flash for Cache|
|Connectivity||USB 2.0 (officially for diagnostic use only, though hackers have managed to allow connectivity of hard disks, mice, and keyboards), infrared receiver, HDMI, component video, optical audio||Micro-USB (reserved for service and diags.), HDMI, infrared receiver, optical audio|
|Networking||Wi-Fi (802.11b/g and draft-n), 10/100 Ethernet||Wi-Fi (802.11a/b/g/n), 10/100 Ethernet|
|Output||720p over HDMI, Component Video||720p 60/50 Hz (NTSC/PAL), 576p 50 Hz (PAL) over HDMI only||1080p/1080i/720p/480p over HDMI only, HDCP capable
|480p 60 Hz (NTSC)
(480i 60 Hz is unofficially supported)
|Audio||Optical audio (48 kHz maximum sample rate), HDMI, RCA analog stereo audio||Optical audio (48 kHz fixed sample rate), HDMI|
|Power||Built-in universal 48W power supply||Built-in 6W power supply|
|Dimensions||7.8 in (200 mm) (h)
7.8 in (200 mm) (w)
1.1 in (28 mm) (d)
|3.9 in (99 mm) (h)
3.9 in (99 mm) (w)
0.9 in (23 mm) (d)
|Weight||2.4 lb (1.1 kg)||0.6 lb (0.27 kg)|
|Initial operating System||Modified build of Mac OS X 10.4"Tiger"||Apple TV Software 4.0 (based on iOS 4.1)||Apple TV Software 4.2 (based on iOS 5.1)||Apple TV Software 5.2 (based on iOS 5.2)|
|Current operating System||Modified build of Mac OS X 10.4"Tiger"||Apple TV Software 5.2.1|
You can tell the model number of your Apple TV by navigating inside your Apple TV to Settings, then General, and then About, and doing a Google search for the model number shown there. For example, if you have model MC572LL/A, then you have a second generation Apple TV.
It's important to determine the generation of your device before starting any modification process. Not all modifications work on all generations. Presently there is no way to jailbreak a third generation Apple TV.
During the days of the release of the first generation of Apple TV, various non-commercial and commercial hacks became available. These allowed users to remotely access the device, add support for other codecs, install a full-blown copy of Mac OS X Tiger, access the hard drive via USB, use the device to browse the web, use non-Apple remote controls, and download metadata from the IMDb. In mid-2008, Fire Core released the aTV Flash software, which gives the Apple TV support for other media formats, a web browser, external USB hard drive support, and more. A free and open-source alternative, atvusb-creator, does much the same using a simple graphical interface on both Mac and Windows.
As of June 2011, Apple does not prevent users from modifying their Apple TVs, but does warn that applying hacks may void the product's warranty.
Installing updates for the Apple TV system software typically removes software hacks, but major Apple TV hacks are updated regularly.
Most plugins for Front Row are minor and have not been updated to work with Apple TV running iOS 2.x. AwkwardTV reports 10 plugins out of 32 have been certified compatible with the "Take Two" update.
Popular modifications include replacing/complementing Apple TV's Front Row interface with alternative media center software, including Plex, XBMC Media Center, and Boxee. Though Boxee installs a Netflix Watch Instantly plugin, the Apple TV does not have enough processing power to run the Silverlight framework that the Netflix plugin depends on.
Users have also upgraded the Apple TV (1st generation)'s internal hard drive.
True 1080p playback and video output can be enabled on the first generation Apple TV by installing a Broadcom CrystalHD PCI-e card and version 10.0 (Dharma) and later of XBMC running on Linux instead of the native Mac OS X 10.4.x based operating system. This has been available since June 2010 and was originally created by Sam Nazarko. In March 2011, Nazarko released a GUI installer for both Linux and Windows platforms allowing quick installation of his minimal distribution. The distribution offers PVR support and AirPlay and still receives updates to this day.
The Apple TV (2nd generation) is the first to have an operating system based on a version of iOS.
Developers have applied iOS jailbreaking so that software unapproved by Apple that may void the warranty may be installed on this model of Apple TV. This can be accomplished by downloading the Apple TV's firmware from Apple's servers, then using a custom firmware application like Seas0nPass or PwnageTool to create a custom firmware. Users then connect their Apple TV to iTunes, place the Apple TV in DFU mode, and restore the custom firmware to the Apple TV.
This custom firmware provides SSH support to the device where users may use APT to install software to the device, or a GUI version similar to Cydia called NitoTV which includes access to software drivers to enable the built-in Bluetooth functions. Currently there is a limited amount of Apple TV compatible software, however on January 20, 2011, the XBMC team released the first official version of XBMC Media Center for this second generation device. A recent limited thin client release of Plex Media Center has also been released.[when?]
No public jailbreak has been released for this device, so it cannot run modified software. The bootrom of Apple TV has been patched to defend against the exploit used to jailbreak the previous generation of Apple TV. A bootrom-level exploit is needed for a jailbreak because Apple TV disables its Micro-USB port while the device is fully booted. Although, according to FireCore LLC, there is a group of individuals working on something that could possibly lead to a third-generation Apple TV jailbreak.
Apple TV does not contain a TV tuner, nor a personal video recorder. Both capabilities can be applied to the connected home computer through various third-party products; allowing PVR software, for example, to connect to iTunes and enable scheduled HDTV recordings to automatically play via Apple TV for playback.
The Movies search box only searches the iTunes Store, not local hard drives and networks.
Movies rented on Apple TV must be watched on Apple TV, unlike iTunes rentals, which can be transferred to any video-enabled iPod, iPhone or Apple TV. Movies purchased on Apple TV can be moved to a video-enabled iPod or iPhone via iTunes.
Apple TV does not support the HDMI Consumer Electronics Control (HDMI CEC) protocol for automatic control by TV Remote.
On the Apple TV (2nd generation), digital output audio is up-sampled to 48 kHz, including lossless CD rips at 44.1 kHz. Although this is a higher frequency and the difference is not audible in most cases, it means the audio is not 'bit perfect' which is often a goal for digital transmission of data.
Photos were required to be synced to the device until an iTunes update enabled streaming.
The February 2008 release of the 2.0 ("Take Two") software update allowed users to rent standard-resolution or HD movies with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround. Previously, Apple TV had officially supported only Dolby Pro Logic simulated 5.1, though the full 5.1 Surround Sound digital discrete worked if a 5.1-capable receiver was connected via the optical cable to Apple TV and the audio content was encoded as lossless. QuickTime and Apple TV did not ship with an AC-3 codec, and iTunes Store content only supported 4.0 surround sound. News sites were reporting that some users had worked out how to add AC-3 (Dolby Digital) 5.1 channel support by hacking the unit.
Critics claimed that Apple TVs TV-based interface was "cluttered" and difficult to browse or search for a specific movie, requiring Netflix-like queues and "watched" flags or dates. Apple released movie wish lists, video playlists, and "watched" flags in Apple TV software versions 2.1 through 2.4.
The Apple TV uses the older QuickTime 7 engine, so it cannot play videos which use H.264 Sample Aspect Ratio (which requires QuickTime X). The second generation of Apple TV now supports H.264.
Within the first week of presales in January 2007, Apple TV was the top pre-selling item at the Apple Store. Orders exceeded 100,000 units by the end of January and Apple began ramping-up to sell over a million units before the 2007 holiday season. Analysts began calling it a "DVD killer" that could enable multiple services. Analysts also predicted that Apple could sell up to 1.5 million units in the first year. Besides the Apple Store, Best Buy was one of the first retailers to carry the device; Target and Costco followed shortly thereafter.
Two months into sales, Forrester Research predicted that Apple would only sell a million Apple TV units, because consumers prefer advertisement-supported content over paid content. Forrester predicted that cable companies would be the clear winners over content providers such as the iTunes Store. Shortly after, Apple released YouTube functionality and Jobs stated that Apple TV was a "DVD player for the Internet". Some market analysts predicted that YouTube on Apple TV "provides a glimpse of this product's potential and its future evolution", but overall, analysts had mixed reactions regarding the future of Apple TV. Some negative reactions followed after Jobs referred to the device as a "hobby", implying it was less significant than the Macintosh, iPod, and iPhone.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, sales were triple that of the fourth quarter of 2007.
In Apple's first-quarter 2009 financial results conference call, acting chief executive Tim Cook stated that Apple TV sales increased three times over the same quarter a year ago. Cook mentioned that the movie rental business was working well for Apple, Apple would continue investment in movie rentals and Apple TV, but Apple TV is still considered a hobby for the company. Due to the growth of digital TV and consumers turning to Internet media services, an analyst predicted sales of 6.6 million Apple TVs by the end of 2009.
The second generation sold 250,000 units in the first two weeks it was available. On December 21, 2010, Apple announced that they had sold 1 million units. In the second fiscal quarter of 2011, it had topped 2 million in total sales, with 820,000 sold in that quarter alone.
On January 24, 2012, Apple announced they had sold 1.4 million units in the first fiscal quarter of 2012, and 2.8 million units in all of fiscal year 2011. (4.2 million units through Jan 1 2012).
MacObserver reported statements by Tim Cook in the Q1 FY2013 earnings call that Apple sold over 2 million Apple TV units in the December Quarter (presumed to be 3rd generation).
These reports lead to a cumulative volume of the 3rd generation device of 6 million units, as of Jan 1 2013.
Apple enthusiasts seeking an alternative to the Apple TV sometimes consider the Mac Mini hardware as a more powerful, more expensive, solution for a Home Theater PC (HTPC) option. As a full-featured computer, it lacks the out-of-the-box simplicity and ease of use of the Apple TV. Unlike the Apple TV and other iOS devices, the Mac Mini must be authorized for FairPlay, reducing available authorizations for other computers. However, once configured for home theater applications, viewers were able to use the supplied remote control to activate and navigate Front Row, though other media management packages are still an option. Front Row was only available with Mac OS X 10.4 to 10.6, but was removed in Mac OS X Lion (10.7) onwards. Advantages include expandable storage, support for multiple video and audio codecs, and access to third party media management software. The Mac Mini remote can also control volume for all applications including video and music.
The Apple TV must be hacked to add software such as Plex and XBMC Media Center, to partly compensate for the lack of browser-based functionality. Since this is not a stock set up, official software updates remove the hack and it could void the warranty.
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