Luddite Article - Apple of your eye: Apple TV


The new iPad has taken Apple’s constant spotlight in the last few weeks, but I’m not going to be reviewing that this month. For a previous Actuarial Post iPad review look here http://bit.ly/wk9ImT and just add the sentence- ‘The screen is also a lot better than the previous iPad’.

 By Sam Richardson

 The new iPad has taken Apple’s constant spotlight in the last few weeks, but I’m not going to be reviewing that this month. For a previous Actuarial Post iPad review look here http://bit.ly/wk9ImT and just add the sentence- ‘The screen is also a lot better than the previous iPad’.

 Here I will be looking to another of Apple’s incredible products that doesn’t get the credit it deserves: Apple TV. At just £99 it is a small investment that can change the way you view films, TV shows and listen to music. The newest model of Apple TV has an improved 1080p capability and a new iOS type user interface.

 This new model looks exactly the same as its predecessor in its sleek black box that looks great sitting alongside a Sky HD box and right below your huge new January sale bought TV. On the back of the box is space for the power cable, a HDMI port, an Ethernet cable and an optical audio output. The Ethernet cable is not a necessity for most users who will capitalise on the built-in WiFi. Simply plug in the power cable and HDMI cable then use the beautifully simple silver remote to switch on. Just connect to your wireless router and enter your existing iTunes username and password and all of your previous purchases from iTunes will be right there.

 Up until now Apple has offered 720p HD content as the highest resolution that customers can buy and rent from iTunes. With this latest edition they have upgraded content to 1080p in the iTunes store and as an added bonus; any previous purchases will be upgraded to this Full HD as soon as they are available. Netflix and Vimeo are leading the way for external providers, with both now providing this Full HD content in the Apple TV catalogue.

 The new user interface is much more simple and easier to look at. It looks as familiar as the mobile operating systems on show in the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch models that so many of us are now so very familiar with. There are large icons showing Films, TV Programmes, Music, Computers and Settings above external providers including the aforementioned Netflix and Vimeo with extras that can be changed around such as YouTube. Apple has also introduced the ability to sign up to services such as Netflix, directly from the Apple TV, including billing the monthly subscription to your iTunes account. One thing I would have loved to see here is an App Store icon so that many more third party apps could be downloaded to enhance the device- this seems to be just a matter of time though and I hope they’ll release an update in a few months with this functionality.
 My favourite function that Apple TV offers is AirPlay- the ability to mirror exactly what is on your iPhone or iPad. Whilst doing more Apple nerd research I also discovered that the next Mac desktop software, OS X Mountain Lion- coming this summer, will also include this function. This means that the possibilities are endless of what can be easily shown on your TV. BBC iPlayer, ITV Player and 4oD will all be available so TV on demand will never be the same again.

 

 Imagine the possibilities of AirPlay in the office too. Here at Actuarial Post we will be using it to design the magazine on a larger screen and it’s incredible for presentations- interacting with an iPad means your audience are so impressed by how you’re presenting it doesn’t matter what you’re presenting! They will be eating out of the palm of your hands regardless!

 At the end of the day, if you already have the second generation Apple TV then there is no real need to upgrade to this version. The software improvements such as the new User Interface and other tweaks will be a free upgrade which means the only real difference is the 1080p Full HD support.

 If, though, you don’t already own this little known Apple gem, then there’s an even bigger reason to buy it now with the amazing 1080p support that matches the new iPad. And at £99, it is a true bargain that every Apple lover should have to compliment the rest of their devices.
  

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