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Apple TV to Become iTV?

Andy Vandervell


Apple TV to Become iTV?

Today's been a day of rumour and conjecture, much of which has emanated from the halls of Engadget. Its sources are often prescient, however, and the latest news provides more light on the previously discussed Apple TV replacement.

The story thus far ran a little like this:

  • The the new Apple TV would use iOS 4, or the lastest iPhone OS as it was at the time.

  • It would also utilise the iPhone and iPad hardware, namely the much-touted A4 chip.

  • Pricing would be around the $99 mark in the hope generating mass-market adoption.

  • Other hardware specs included 16GB of storage, and the ability to playback 1080p video.

So what's changed? Well the basics remain roughly the same. If Engadget's sources are to be believed, the new Apple TV will still be a sub-$100 product, with the emphasis remaining on streaming and on-demand content - it was ever thus.

However, the device will reportedly only offer up 720p video content, and Apple has also decided to return to the iTV name originally given to the Apple TV before it was changed. Unsurprisingly this is bound to have some impact here in the UK as we already have a broadcaster called ITV, albeit one with a better understanding for the use of capital letters. There's also confirmation (if one can call it that) that the new device will have apps, though whether it's an independent platform or part of the iPhone/iPad universe is unclear.

Regardless of the name change, the real story here is clearly the resolution support. After all, a device that can play 720p video sounds a lot less exciting than one that can play 1080p, no matter the name. But two minutes searching the TrustedReviews archives reveals numerous devices, such as the Asus O!Play Air HDP-R3, Eminent EM7075-DTS hdMedia, A.C. Ryan Playon!HD Mini, and the ViewSonic VMP74, all of which handle 1080p video for £100 or less. They might lack the polish, and the integration, that a possible iTV might have, but they do 1080p damn it!

via Engadget


August 12, 2010, 7:44 pm

If they devoted more time to quality programming than rules for capitalisation, I'd yell, "Lower that case, ITV!"


August 12, 2010, 7:54 pm

I wonder how long it will be before we have Apple fans claiming that 1080p is an irrelevance and that its all about the UI and how everything just works.


August 12, 2010, 7:56 pm

Even the ol' WDTV (one of the first) I got off Amazon for £63 does 1080p.

As for that name: iAm not amused.


August 12, 2010, 8:11 pm

@TechnicPuppet - and how many will be queued outside the apple stores at stupid times of the night in order to be one of the first to buy one?


August 12, 2010, 8:50 pm

I wonder if the reason for no 1080p is because the current Apple TV's only does 720p Video. And with the current AppleTV's costing more than $99 it might annoy a few.

Tim Sutton

August 12, 2010, 8:56 pm

I'm trying really hard to have an opinion on this.

Basically though, anyone who only buys all their films and music from iTunes = Apple TV/iTV natural customer. They won't care about the limitations.

Anyone who has films/TV/music in any other format than Apple approved doesn't have any use for this anyway because it won't work.

This really is only for the iZombies, so yeah. Meh level 9 from me, maybe only level 7 if I can laugh about 720p only in 2010 for a bit.


August 12, 2010, 8:56 pm

@TechnicPuppet - Its already started, check the MacRumours website where the majority are already battling the 720p benefits over 1080i and 1080p

TBH I can kind of see why this will be 720p only, the appletv (not accepting the iTV name yet) will not have any storage so it will have to sync with an itunes account on your PC or some kind of cloud account that has yet to be announced (but is suggested by Apples new server farms). Apple want you to buy films from them rather than rip DVD's/Blu Rays and they only sell/rent 720p films so why would they bother supporting 1080p

Plus since 720p downloads already bring my broadband to its knees I dread to think what 1080p would do


August 12, 2010, 9:46 pm

I am NOT a fanboy but for regular home viewing of video content is there really anything other than a minute difference in quality between 720 and 1080? I've never really noticed much of a difference to be honest. Up close to the TV I can certainly see a difference between, say, Sky's HD Watchmen broadcast and my Bluray copy but when on the couch? Nothing noticeable.

With many of the home media streamers they often chug a little with 1080 content with stuttering video and a bit of noise. I would glady have that removed if the sacrifice was 720 only - and knowing Apple it will most likely be a smooth and intuitive set up and viewing experience.

Saying all that, I'll no be buying one!


August 12, 2010, 10:03 pm

It does seem a little stupid to me. But it is only a rumour and may prove to be false. However I only have a TV capable of 720p so wouldn't make any difference to me. Not that this changes the fact i will not be buying one. Not a big television guy. Just the odd film so its probably easier to buy it from play.


August 12, 2010, 10:36 pm

@Stelph: Fair enough, but:

- A 1080i/p device would be future proofed, ready for new developments.

- Even if the video content is only 720p, the interface would look better at 1080p. Photo viewing, one of the device's core features, would also benefit from a 1080p output.

As Tim said, 720p in 2010 is a joke. Previous generations of Apple TV have proven that this market is hard to crack, so why release a product that's already hamstrung out of the blocks? Are Apple so arrogant that they'll actually wait until the second generation to fix the gaping hole in their spec sheet?

Facetime capable iPad, anyone?


August 12, 2010, 11:31 pm

If they could bring it in at that sort of price point, then I doubt very much that the target market would care if it were 1080p or not. I have a 40" Samsung LCD, am fairly tech-savvy, and I can't tell the difference between 1080p and 720p.


August 13, 2010, 12:13 am

Everytime they take a product to market it lacks a major feature (3g for iphone1, video for iPhone 3g, camera for ipad, etc) yet the magic happens, it still sells like hot cakes and they bring in the feature in question for the next Gen which will sell even more. No comprendo.


August 13, 2010, 12:16 pm

And so it begins.

I can easily tell the difference between 1080p and 720p. What media players chug a little with 1080p?

Andy Peat

August 13, 2010, 1:16 pm

What your missing is that a year later Apple will then say " Now apple has brought you something REALLY special, iTV II now with FULL 1080p!" It's how they work, they did it with the iphone 3g (to 3gs) also ipad (no camera hence no facetime) then they make a song and dance about ipad II with facetime. I love apple products but hate that about then so much, to the point that I now hold back on my purchases.


August 13, 2010, 1:48 pm




August 13, 2010, 3:47 pm

@Chris: the interface would look better at 1080p

If it's like the current AppleTV then it does 1080p for interface/photos. I assume It's just on about 720p decoding.


August 13, 2010, 5:26 pm

@Keith: Quite right, I stand corrected. In which case, it would seem that Apple are simply matching the device to the limitations of the iTunes store, presumably assuming that Apple customers get their content from nowhere else. Grr...


August 13, 2010, 6:18 pm

@TechnicPuppet: I can easily tell the difference between 1080p and 720p. What media players chug a little with 1080p?

From reading a fair amount of reviews for media streamers (Im fairly interested in buying one eventually) it would seem that most have some issues with playback of some of, if not all, full HD files. Maybe its a codec issue? It isnt usually a problem when hard wired with playback from onboard hard drives but streaming over home networks is a different kettle of fish - and no, it isnt always am unexpected networking issue.

As for the difference between 720/1080 I'll just have to take your word for it. I have very good eyesight and cant spot a difference at 3 or 4m. Up close, maybe, but Im basing this on Sky HD broadcasts against the Bluray alternative so slightly unfair. For Xbox/PS3 in 1080 or 720 I genuinely cant spot a difference at any distance.

Maybe the whole visual difference argument is much the same as with audio files. I swear I can tell the difference between 320kbps and lossless while most would find it far too difficult to spot the difference.

At the end of the day I really dont see it as an issue for video playback. If it was really such a big deal then no one would be bothering with Sky HD!


August 13, 2010, 6:19 pm

@Chris: To be honest I'm not sure if the 1080p is just an up-scaled mode. I've only got a 32inch FullHD TV so I've never really noticed the difference, I've also got a Revo that does do 1080p to compare it to.


August 14, 2010, 1:45 am

With the TV manufacturers rapidly getting themselves into gear - pretty soon there will be little point buying the extra box to go under the tv - as the tv itself will do it all.

i suspect the imminent arrival of googletv - either as a standalone box or built into tv's directly is what is spurring this - time to stand back and watch the fight commence - it would be foolish to spend money on a device at this stage unless you just don't care about the money.

Oh hang on what am i saying - that's apple's target market ... it'll sell by the million :)

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