CNET First Look
Apple TV (2012)While it offers fewer native channels than the competition, the Apple TV is an indispensable living-room companion for anyone who's already invested in the iTunes and Apple hardware ecosystems.
Hey. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and we're gonna take a look at the new Apple TV. The new model looks exactly the same as the old one but inside, it's got a faster processor, (??), and there's a redesigned user interface. The look of the box is still the best I've seen, it's small, it blends in with your home theater, and the power supply is built into the box so there's no annoying AC adapter or power break, there's just a tiny white light on the front that lets your know it's on and that's it. Around the back, there's an HDMI port and optical audio output, an Ethernet port and a micro USB port although the USB port is only used for service and support. There's also built in WiFi for connecting to your wireless home network so the outside of the box isn't new but the user interface is, it's a new icon driven design and when you scroll down, it really makes your TV look like a giant iPad. If you're looking at iTunes for movies or TV shows, there's also a new menu bar across the top, letting you quickly access useful categories like purchase content and search. iTunes on the Apple TV is even better than before with both your movies and TV show purchases saved in the cloud for re-watching. The selection of both movies and TV shows is excellent and HD content looks fantastic; although, when we tested it again against the order 720p Apple TV, you really couldn't tell a big difference between the two. The big downside is that for HD content, you're looking at paying $3.00 per episode to but TV shpws, and movies costs around $5.00 and between $10.00 to $20.00 to purchase so it really adds up fast if you watch a lot of content. Outside of iTunes, there aren't nearly as many content options, Netflix is still there as well as MLB. TV and YouTube but there's no Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, Pandora. HBO Go, all of which are available on the competing Roku LT for half the price. The Apple TV also isn't as capable of playing back all kinds of different digital media format so if you have a lot of MKV and DivX files, you're gonna wanna look at something else like the Boxee Box or the WDTV Live. While, it doesn't have as many content sources, the Apple TV does have another killer feature if you have other Apple products, AirPlay; it lets you take almost any photo, music or video you have on your IOS device, and stream it right to your TV so if you're listening to Pandora on your phone, you can play it on your Apple TV eventhough it doesn't have a native Pandora app. And outside of AirPlay, the Apple TV also works with other Apple-Cloud based services like iTunes Match and photo string. So, altogether, if you're invested in the Apple ecosystem and you already own an iPhone or iPad, the Apple TV is pretty much a must-have gadget at this point. Although if you're not in to Apple Products, you'll get a better value from competitors, especially the Roku LT; and if you've already got an old Apple TV that looks like this, don't worry about upgrading as they offer almost the same exact experience. I'm Matthew Moskovciak from CNET and this is the Apple TV.