Skip to main content

Filed under:

Apple TV with 1080p video: the full story

As part of its 2012 iPad event, Apple introduced a new version of its Apple TV set-top box that supports 1080p full HD video. It also supports streaming movies from iCloud, the company's online storage service that debuted last year. Here's the full story of Apple's latest foray into the living room.

  • Greg Sandoval

    Jun 20, 2013

    Greg Sandoval

    For HBO and Apple, a long process to partner on TV

    HBOGo-AppleTV-productshot
    HBOGo-AppleTV-productshot

    To some, Apple TV seems like a laggard.

    Since Apple, ESPN, and HBO won't discuss specifics, we don't know exactly why Apple TV took so long to get the cable networks. What we do know are some of the factors that typically hold up the process. Nothing is more time consuming than writing all the code involved and encoding HBO's massive video library, said Otto Berkes, HBO's chief technology officer, in an exclusive interview with The Verge. He said "optimizing the compression formula to deliver the high-quality video to the lowest bandwidth" is a massive undertaking. The company does this so the streaming video looks good even on slow web connections.

    Read Article >
  • Dan Seifert

    Dec 7, 2012

    Dan Seifert

    Tim Cook says that 'TV has been left behind,' Brian Williams follows up with Josh

    tim cook
    tim cook

    Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke on camera with NBC's Brian Williams on Rock Center this evening and talked about a variety of topics, including his first year as Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, Chinese manufacturing, and yes, even Apple's potential interest in the television market. While much of what Cook revealed had already been covered in his interview with Bloomberg Businessweek that was released earlier today, he did appear to be earnest about Apple possibly entering the TV market. When pressed about the endless rumors of an Apple television set by Williams, Cook said "it's a market that we have intense interest in, it's a market that we see that has been left behind," before getting nostalgic with Williams about watching The Jetsons as a child.

    Apple has long been rumored to be planning a television product that would go head to head with the Sonys, Samsungs, LGs, and Panasonics that currently dominate the living room. The company's only effort thus far, the Apple TV set top box, hasn't had the same success or ubiquity as the company's computers or mobile devices. In fact, Apple even referred to the product as a mere "hobby" that didn't receive the same amount of attention as its other products. A full television set — one with a better user interface and a built-in content delivery system — could shake up the industry and give the entrenched players a run for their money.

    Read Article >
  • Sean Hollister

    Apr 12, 2012

    Sean Hollister

    $399 iPad 2 and new Apple TV have a dual-core 32nm Apple A5 that could save battery

    Apple A5 stock press
    Apple A5 stock press

    Remember when Apple told us that the latest Apple TV has a single-core processor? That's not one hundred percent correct... according to a Chipworks teardown, the new APL2498 version of the Apple A5 chip is actually a dual-core design, and it's built on a smaller 32nm process that might help save battery life. Now, if you're thinking that the Apple TV doesn't need a battery because it has an AC plug, you'd be absolutely right, but the fine folks at Chipworks (and AnandTech) discovered that the very same APL2498 is also shipping in the new $399 iPad 2. We haven't had a chance to test a new iPad 2 quite yet to see if the chip actually leads to longer life, but you can count on it costing less for Apple to produce the (approximately 40 percent smaller) silicon slice.

    The other interesting thing about all this is that if the Apple TV does indeed have a dual-core chip, there's a slight chance that some enterprising tinkerer might figure out a way to enable the second core.

    Read Article >
  • Dieter Bohn

    Mar 19, 2012

    Dieter Bohn

    Apple TV teardown reveals second antenna, single-core A5 processor

    ifixit apple tv
    ifixit apple tv

    The third generation of the Apple TV is identical on the outside and nearly functionally identical with its predecessor — the only change being the addition of 1080p. That doesn't meant that it's the same on the inside, however, as iFixit's traditional teardown has revealed a few small details changed and an overall refinement of the internals. The first and most obvious change is the switch to a single-core A5 processor to drive that 1080p video (and everything else). Interestingly, the processor no longer has a thermal pad attached to it, suggesting it might run a little cooler than the A4 in the previous generation. iFixit also discovered a second antenna on the device, possibly for 5GHz Wi-Fi.

    Read Article >
  • David Pierce

    Mar 7, 2012

    David Pierce

    Apple TV version 5.0 update hands-on: new interface, new features

    Apple TV version 5.0
    Apple TV version 5.0

    Apple may have announced a refresh to the Apple TV today, but for those of us who already own Apple's $99 set-top box, the fun came a couple of hours later in the form of an upgrade version 5.0 of the Apple TV's software. The update is mostly an aesthetic one, with an iOS-style overhaul to the home page popping up immediately. Everything's large and icon-based, and looks pretty good on a large screen — though it's fortunate there aren't many apps, because navigating through a lot of huge icons with the overly simple remote could get frustrating. The home screen may look different, but apps haven't really changed in kind yet, and most are still heavily text-based like the Apple TV used to be.

    There are a couple of new features in the new software, in addition to the new look. The best (and most obvious) is that you can now stream movies purchased through iTunes — if you've bought a movie, you can finally watch it through your Apple TV. There are some roadblocks, so not everything is available, but it's a necessary step in an obvious and right direction. Speaking of content, you can also now subscribe to Netflix using your iTunes account, so it should be trivially easy to get an account set up, and there's a new Genius feature in the Apple TV's store that shows you movies you might like based on movies you've bought and seen.

    Read Article >
  • Dieter Bohn

    Mar 7, 2012

    Dieter Bohn

    Apple offering previously purchased iTunes movies and TV shows at 1080p

    icloud movies 600
    icloud movies 600

    iTunes 10.6 just got released with support for 1080p HD video on TV and Movies. Accessing previous purchased video content works just the same as it did with music. In iTunes, you click on the "Purchased" link from the home page of the iTunes store, whereas iOS offers a "Purchased" tab within iTunes where you can find content to download. In iTunes, you can set a preference to download in either 720p or 1080p.

    Read Article >
  • Dieter Bohn

    Mar 7, 2012

    Dieter Bohn

    New Apple TV interface now available on 2nd-generation models

    Apple TV
    Apple TV

    The update hasn't appeared for us yet, but we'll update as soon as it does. In the meantime, don't miss our hands-on video with the new interface!

    Update: Our 2nd-generation Apple TV just popped up a download for the new software, go get it!

    Read Article >
  • Nathan Ingraham

    Mar 7, 2012

    Nathan Ingraham

    Apple TV now allows direct Netflix streaming sign-ups and payment through iTunes accounts

    Gallery Photo: New Apple TV interface pictures
    Gallery Photo: New Apple TV interface pictures

    If you just can't bear to operate outside Apple's ecosystem, Netflix just announced that it is now more tightly integrated with Apple TV. Users can sign up for Netflix streaming service directly through their Apple TV and pay with an existing iTunes account. This new feature comes in addition to the already-announced 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1 combo that's coming to the brand-new Apple TV hardware. While those higher-quality features may be exclusive to the new hardware, users of both second- and third-generation Apple TV units will have these new signup and payment options. What isn't yet know is whether Apple will take its traditional 30 percent off all Netflix subscriptions activated through its services. We've reached out to Netflix for comment and will let you know as soon as we hear more.

    Read Article >
  • iTunes in the Cloud now supports movies, but HBO deal keeps some studios out

    icloud movies 600
    icloud movies 600

    Don't let the excitement over the up-and-coming Apple TV refresh (and 1080p support) overshadow the fact that Tim Cook has just announced that iTunes in the Cloud is set to receive support for movies from the iTunes store. Finally, a way to sync the Bridge across all my post-PC devices!

    Unfortunately, All Things D reports that not every movie in the iTunes store will be available with the new service. Apparently, movies from Fox and Universal cannot be re-watched on Apple TV because of "pre-existing deals with Time Warner's HBO that give the pay-TV service exclusive 'windows'" on movie content. Because HBO has exclusive rights to broadcast those movies during its window, Apple TV users will not be able to re-watch them. However, it looks like Apple is in talks to resolve the issue.

    Read Article >
  • Joshua Topolsky

    Mar 6, 2012

    Joshua Topolsky

    Sources: Apple TV update, iPad 3 for Verizon and AT&T LTE launching tomorrow, no quad-core SoC

    ipad handheld 1020
    ipad handheld 1020

    When Tim Cook takes the stage tomorrow in San Francisco, a new iPad apparently won't be the only product announced. As we reported last week, a new Apple TV model is expected to arrive alongside the higher-resolution iPad update. We're told that the forthcoming Apple TV (the product is said to likely carry the same name as its predecessor) will have 1080p capabilities, and will work in conjunction with the iPad and other Apple devices to deliver new video streaming / mirroring functionality (which will also fall inline with new Mountain Lion features).

    According to sources familiar with the matter, Apple will update both the new Apple TV and the iPad 3 (or iPad HD, a name we first unearthed last year) not with the rumored, quad-core A6 system-on-a-chip, but rather the A5X, a dual-core SoC said to have a more powerful GPU. From what we're hearing, it's basically an A5 on steroids.

    Read Article >
  • Joshua Topolsky

    Mar 2, 2012

    Joshua Topolsky

    Apple TV stock shortages appear, sources say new model imminent

    Apple TV
    Apple TV

    This follows on the heels of reports of new Apple TV SKUs appearing in Best Buy databases, as well as news this week that Apple has been forging ahead with plans to partner on new TV services. According to the New York Post, Apple's VP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue is in deep talks with content-creators and distributors trying to hammer out a deal that will please all sides. Those deals are rumored to be announced around the 2012 holiday season.

    The idea that a new Apple TV will be available on day of Apple's San Francisco event lines up with what 9to5 Mac was recently reporting, and gels nicely with rumors we've heard that the iPad 3 (or iPad HD, depending on who you talk to) will also be made available not long after its introduction. Historically Apple has shortened the length of time to availability as a product line matures, and there's no reason to think that won't be the case here.

    Read Article >
  • Nathan Ingraham

    Feb 22, 2012

    Nathan Ingraham

    Apple TV stock low, UK retailer PC World halts customer orders

    Apple TV
    Apple TV

    It looks like Apple is getting ready to replace its $99 Apple TV media streamer — while Apple.com still lists the device as available for next-day shipping, a reliable source told us that UK retailer PC World has informed its employees that they have no more units in stock and have no idea when more will arrive. Additionally, employees are also not supposed to order Apple TV units for customers who request them — typically PC World puts no time limit on fulfillment of customer orders, so it sounds like the retailer won't have them available again. Our tipster also let us know that PC World only typically does this when a new replacement product is on the way.

    Further corroborating this evidence is the fact that major electronics retailers all around the US and UK have the Apple TV as completely out of stock, with no sign of when it might be available. In the US, Best Buy, Amazon, Target, and Fry's Electronics all list the Apple TV as unavailable; UK retailers PC World, John Lewis, Comet, and Richer Sounds are similarly out of stock. While there's no guarantee that Apple's "hobby" device is truly being replaced, it wouldn't surprise us to see a new Apple product for the living room soon.

    Read Article >