Apple TV is designed to work with many Apple products and services, including iPhones, iPads, iTunes, a desktop PC and of course a TV. The built-in software, a stripped-down version of Mac OS X, offers access to movies and shows that you can rent any time, and the built-in Wi-Fi chip utilizes your broadband connection to push the rented video to the Apple TV box.
It also connects with your desktop-based iTunes library to create a single hub with which to view your media in the comfort of your favourite chair. Despite not physically storing video, the 8GB flash chip is used to cache films as they are playing to ensure that they do not skip and in most cases the full film will be downloaded to the Apple TV flash memory even if you haven’t finished watching it.
The controller software is the hub around which everything works. Once connected to a TV and a computer running iTunes, it will detect when changes are made, such as renting a video, and it will then send the relevant information to each part of your network. For example, it will allow your desktop to send the film to the TV box and onwards to the TV itself.
Apple TV is designed to do one thing above all else: stream video and photos. Because of this it is capable of assigning all of its resources to this one task and does not have to deal with multiple instructions at the same time.
The A4 processor has to deal with multiple functions and provided the incoming broadband connection is stable and fast, the whole experience will be faster than competing streaming products. The built-in 8GB of flash memory ensures that the streamed video is cached while it is playing, which in effect stores the film ahead of its playing time to eliminate any stoppages.
The low price point has been reached by using parts that are either mass produced by other companies or already in volume production by Apple, ie the A4 processor, which is used in the iPad and new iPod touch devices. The technology behind Apple TV is surprisingly simple, but of high enough quality to pull off the task at hand at lightning speed.
Use Apple TV
The software built in to Apple TV 2 is designed to work on your TV and you can browse the latest movies and TV shows just as you would on iTunes. Click the ‘Rent’ button and your movie will be streamed to the box and start playing immediately. The system includes menu options to access YouTube and NetFlix as well which work just as they do on an iPad or desktop. On top of this you have access to your home movies and photos stored in your iTunes library so all of your media is just a click away. Throw HD podcasts, web browsing and internet radio into the mix and you can start to see how quickly Apple TV could become a big part of your life.
Step 1 – Search the library – In the Computers menu choose from the list of iTunes libraries. You may only search through one library at a time.
Step 2 – Select a menu – Select from six menus. Choosing the Genre option organizes your movies into handy categories to scroll through.
Step 3 – Choose a movie – Select the movie of your choice and it’ll play. As with a DVD you can use the fast-forward, rewind and pause options.