What I know or have figured out or am just guessing about AppleTV

by Erica Sadun

I've spent a lot of time between yesterday and today going through the AppleTV specs, watching videos of the AppleTV and so forth. Here's a basic functionality wrap-up. Feel free to let me know what I've messed up on. Follow the jump for the details. Updated Thursday with more details.


2007-01-10 11:57:51
> "There will be probably be a bricklike power supply to go along with it a la the mini though. This is still unconfirmed."

Er... apple.com/appletv/specs.html

"In the box
* Apple TV
* Apple Remote
* Power cord
* Quick Start guide

* Built-in 48-watt universal power supply"

Doesn't that mean no brick?

2007-01-10 12:03:36
The power supply is built in to the unit. Steve highlighted this at the preview in 2006 and again yesterday. You can also see the power supply and power cord references here:


Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 12:05:46
Yeah, I saw that but I couldn't tell if that meant built into the power cord or built into the unit. Maybe I'm just being dense?
2007-01-10 12:18:19
I'd like to know Apple's approach to the "multiple HDMI" problem. The Apple TV will likely be sold to those who already have an HD ready Flat Screen Plasma or LCD with one or two HDMI sockets. SKY HD satellite (in the UK) will take up one socket, a DVD the other.....
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 12:30:16
Apple says to use the components if your HMDI is already in use. I think they're already getting feedback on this one.
Daniel Smith
2007-01-10 12:32:06
Do we know which hard drive it uses? One assumes that the first mods will swapping out 40gb for 80, 100, or more ...
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 12:33:29
Google for "HDMI switcher box" and you'll find a fair number of solutions.
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 12:39:51
Daniel, we wont' know until one of the Geek Army gets its hands on it and opens it up. I'm pretty sure our pals over the Make blog will be among the first!
2007-01-10 12:54:54
How will EyeTV integration work?
2007-01-10 12:56:42
Forcing customers to have to buy an HDMI splitter box is really messy though isn't it? I'm surprised they haven't included such capability within the Apple TV. Why go to the length of ensuring there is no "power brick" if many potential customers will need something equally unattractive to combine 3 or more HDMI sources.... Strangely Un-Jobsian.....
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 12:59:26
Hamish: At this time there is no eyeTV/AppleTV integration. I was on the phone with Miglia this AM and found out they have no immediate integration announcements. One would assume that the AppleTV will work somewhat like the iPod and that you *can* get video directly onto the thing but it took forever for companies like iLuv to figure out how to do that with the iPod and its wacky directory system.
2007-01-10 13:25:01
How about getting HD content to view using the Apple TV? Is iTunes going to start offering HD content sometime soon? Once I know there is a way of obtaining HD content I will order an Apple TV.
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 13:25:19
I totally thought that iTunes was going to start offering HD content yesterday at a slight premium over standard content. I was wrong.
2007-01-10 13:50:28
I was hoping for HD content in iTunes yesterday as well. Hopefully they will announce something soon. Perhaps around the ship date of the Apple TV?
Erica Sadun
2007-01-10 13:54:51
Doing the math, you'd expect 720p to be about 3x larger than 640x480, right? So that would be about 3 GB for a 2 hour movie, and maybe 1-2 GB for a 1 hour TV show. (I'm guessing for the TV shows, they'd compress a bit more and make more tradeoffs.) Those are pretty big downloads.

Isn't it time to add more disk space to my future ZFS pool? :)

2007-01-10 14:59:33
As the the multiple HDMI connections...

Typically your home theater reciever should take care of handling the multiple HDMI connections. DVD, Cable Box, AppleTV, etc would all get plugged into it and then let the reciever do the switching. If you don't have a reciever with HDMI or multiple HDMI ports then you will need a HDMI switcher as noted in other posts. It really isn't Apple's responsibility to provide the extra HDMI ports, the AppleTV is essentially a playback device just like your DVD player.

Pretty cool box for a first rev... Will be exciting to see what they have in-store for us long term.

2007-01-10 18:53:50
Christian: No need to worry about having an HDMI splitter ugly-ing up your setup, courtesy of Xtrememac: http://www.xtrememac.com/audio/cables/hdmi_switcher.php. I saw their prototype when I was on the show floor yesterday.
2007-01-10 21:53:17
athleticsfan - thank you - a much more elegant solution.
2007-01-11 10:35:41
I get the digital hub idea, but I don't really get this product until features or potentials are unlocked. I don't buy DVD's and only rent once in awhile. If you have digital cable, most providers offer pay-per view films in the $6-$8 range. The iTunes movies are ~$14. I think if it was more TiVO-esque I would buy it because I am a huge Apple fan. Why would I want one of these? What am I missing?
2007-01-11 12:51:21
So is the Apple TV a Mac in a small box, or an iPod in a large box?
Erica Sadun
2007-01-11 13:21:48
I think this picture from the Apple store tells the whole story. On the iPod and AppleTV, you run Apple's software and Apple's UI, with closed development. On the Mac, you run your own software, with open development. On the iPod and AppleTV, you sync to your iTunes library. On the Mac, you build, maintain, and edit your iTunes library and can access the iTunes store. Of course, nothing is stopping you from putting a Mini next to your TV and running VLC but AppleTV streamlines the process and acts more like the cross between an Airport station and an iPod than a Mini.
2007-01-11 14:14:59
is Apple TV narrowly focused on video only? what about HiFi Audio support? iTunes streaming is supported but how? only to an HDTV? seems short-sighted. How route to a better quality hi-fi audio system? or can we perhaps route the Apple TV HDMI cable to an HDMI-equipped AVR (audio/video receiver) and then route HDMI between AVR and HDTV?
2007-01-11 15:01:10
"...what about HiFi Audio support? iTunes streaming is supported but how? only to an HDTV? seems short-sighted. How route to a better quality hi-fi audio system?..."

There are 2 audio ports on the AppleTV, an RCA stereo port, and an optical TOSlink port. So Dolby 5.1 is supported.

Bill C
2007-01-11 19:01:34
Has no one noticed a huge potential problem for Airtunes users who want to upgrade? Many people have their cable modem near their stereo and TV, so the most likely airport basestation they have is the airtunes, so that they can use the audio wireless streaming. But nowhere on Apple's site does it say that the AppleTV box is also a basestation like the airtunes was. So that means we have to buy 2 boxes for our stereo cabinet- the new airport Extreme (if we want full 802.11n speeds) and the AppleTV, and put them side by side! THis is ridiculous. How could Apple remove such an important feature? My $150 airtunes is more useful than this new device.
Major MacRant
2007-01-11 20:01:40
What I most want to know about the Apple TV today is "Can I use it with a non-HD TV?" I have a 2-year-old Sharp conventional picture tube set with component video input. It's not "widescreen" or HD -- just standard resolution. My iPod video plays on it just fine. I can't see any reason Apple would not want to support this, but the Apple TV site sure makes it seem like you can't play if you don't want to play in HD. I will make that move eventually, but I want my Apple TV now! Anyone know for certain? If I can use it, I'll order one tonight. Anything to wash the taste of the Linksys Media Center Extender out of my mouth. (Hey, any of those Apple TV naysayers who tout the Media Center Extenders as being "just like it" wanna buy mine? Hardly used -- largely because I can't make the bloody thing work reilably, even over a Cat 6 wired Ethernet connection.)
2007-01-12 07:46:09
f i'm not mistaken, it should be possible to use this hama device to hook up the apple tv to old tv sets. it adds to the costs but it's cheaper than buying a new flat screen tv... ;-)