Apple TV is arguably the most popular of the media streamers around, but only deep introspection can reveal whether it is the best. The 3rd generation is the latest offering of the Apple streamers. Its predecessor, the 2nd generation is still in the market with active support and, ironically, the more expensive of the two.
The 3rd gen comes with classical Apple features: clean and compact design, minimalist approach in ports, curves and baseline simplicity. Unique with the 3rd gen is 1080p video output.
The streamer has five (5) connection interfaces; all on one side of the device at the rear. Categorized as follows:
Integrated wireless adapter for wireless access together with a 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface. This is especially advantageous, as it will allow you to connect the device to practically any TV regardless of cable service availability in the vicinity
Included is a standard HDMI (High Definition Media Interface) port for HDMI audio-video devices. An optical audio output for older receivers is available.
A micro USB connection for service and support is neatly placed under the HDMI port. A 2-pin power input completes the minimal array of connections for this device
Synonymous with Apple, a limited range is available for the 3rd Gen. Compared with Boxee TV however, the apps for the 3rd Gen are fewer. The major ones include Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Vimeo, NBA TV and MLB.tv
With the 3rd Gen, you can watch (read: purchase) TV shows and movies from the iTunes store; download to PC for later watching on TV via the Apple TV streamer. Movies from Hulu Plus and Netflix are also available. Something to note here is that Apple restricts viewing local content one may have downloaded or ripped. The device can also stream music and photos from iCloud and iPhone/iPod/iPad devices through Airplay.
Remote Control and other devices
The remote control device is sleek and slim. With a minimal number of buttons, it is perfect simplicity. The Apple TV can also be used with a variety of other Infrared remote controls. Additionally, with an iOS app, it is possible to use an iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad as a touch screen remote.
Quality of the Apple 3rd Gen TV
The connectivity profile of this device easily gives it away. The 10/100Mbps interface along with the wireless adapter means quality streaming. The HDMI interface guarantees high definition content is rendered in unmatched quality as well. With Dolby surround and crystal stereo, it’s a quality device.
Form factor design and ease of use.
You cannot watch local content you might have downloaded or ripped, Apple restricts that. The 2nd Gen can be hacked to run XBMC unlike the 3rd Gen
Its Apple, I mean, it’s a premium product after all! It retails at just $100.