Apple has long been known for its music store iTunes store, and it is not surprising that at some point she decided to expand the range of products and videos -movies and TV shows. At the initial stage, users can view them on computers and mobile players, but with the advent of HD and the massive proliferation of high-definition televisions question arose improve image quality and ease of use of this function. Of course, you can use connect to a television or branded 27-inch monitors, but it was clearly not a mass solution.
announced five years ago, in September 2006, Apple TV is a compact computer with a built-in hard drive that worked only app -inherited from the Mac OS X multimedia shell Front Row. It should be noted that in the capable hands of this device was capable of and much more feats.
A year ago, the world saw the second version of the consoles, which differed markedly smaller size, platform iOS, having only digital interfaces and work exclusively in multiplayer mode.
should be noted that the domestic user to the official use of the product is severely restricted. The player has the full support of the Russian language in the menu, but the iTunes store still does not work in Russia, so you will not be able to buy the usual way movies and TV shows for viewing on the player.
Despite the fact that today the market has a lot of interesting products similar functionality, Apple TV may be of interest to many users. One reason is surprisingly democratic price -just $ 99 in the U.S..
So in this article we will look at this model and try to assess its strengths and weaknesses.
good impression of Apple products traditionally begins with the boxes -compact package size of about 10,7 × 10,7 × 6,5 cm.
Inside -player, remote control, power cable, installation guide, and a pair of brand-name labels with the bitten apple.
recall that the original design is one of the main features of the devices of Apple. This is true for Apple TV. Compact of 9,8 × 9,8 × 2,3 cm black glossy casing and matte plastic with traditional logo on the upper surface will certainly attract attention. And when you learn that it is also integrated and power supply -it`s just delights. So it remains only to establish the fact that this parameter model clearly wins by a wide margin in most other media players on the market.
On the front side is a hidden IR receiver remote control, as well as unique and almost imperceptible white status indicator.
rear there is an entrance cord, HDMI, microUSB, optical digital audio out, LAN port. As you can see, according to Apple, the analog era is over once and for all -only a digital HDMI and digital audio. It should be noted that the HDMI completely normal, and is not found today a mini-version. I wonder also why you may need a separate audio output. Comes to mind is a version -to connect the player to a TV to transfer pictures and the receiver for surround sound. But in fact, there are more interesting scenario -using the device for music listening through the receiver without the inclusion of TV. In the latest firmware have the opportunity. We`ll talk about it later.
MiniUSB officially only used for diagnostics and firmware recovery. No other options are not talking.
Network port and built-in wireless controller is the only opportunity for the media on the Apple TV from the outside world. Wired interface designed for 100 Mbit/s, and supports Wi-Fi and 802.11n standard may operate in the 2.4GHz and 5 GHz.
player stands stably on any surface through the rubber coating on the bottom.
brevity and remote control -identity Unibody confused with anything else is simply impossible. Dimensions of the compact remote player -120 × 30 × 2-6 mm. On the front side -the transmitter window at the top of the work surface -standard navigation block under it -the "Menu" and "Play/Pause". Food control panel is mounted on a single battery CR2032.
Apple devices are usually very difficult to make out. So we decided not to spoil the appearance and use of information from other users. The new version of the device uses iOS, and it is not surprising that the processor supports A4, the same set in the iPad and iPod touch fourth generation. Flash memory is 8 GB, RAM size is 256 MB.
Wireless Module is based on the universal chip Broadcom BCM4329XKUBG. Antenna he had one, made on the main circuit board of the device. Supported modes for no information, but most likely, it provides only one channel and speed up to 150 Mbit/s. Integrated power supply can operate in a voltage range of 100-240 50-60 Hz, so that the maximum inconvenience to the domestic user in case of purchasing the device from the U.S. -find a new cable or adapter for the U.S. plug. By the way, the claimed maximum power player is only 6 watts.
Connecting and setting up
As with most products from Apple, including the beginning and work as simple as possible. Just connect the power and HDMI cables, optional -the network cable and digital sound. When you first turn you will need to select the language and answer few more questions.
content of the main screen of the device will depend on the selected settings in the country. If there is a shop iTunes, then the screen will be presented points to access it.
But first a look at the settings menu. In all, six sections. Chief among these is the "General". Device status includes firmware version, serial number, network address, and the video output mode. If multiple devices on the network, will be a useful option to change the network name. Select a network connection is done automatically -if you disconnect the cable, the Apple TV will switch to Wi-Fi. IP-address of someone getting on DHCP, but there is an option and manual installation.
the iTunes Store settings affect the services available to the user. If you choose the United States, the main menu will appear reference series and films. Of course, no payment can only view trailers or free content eg, pilot issues series. If you have a fast Internet connection, then selecting "HD" in "Video Resolution", you will get a better picture.If
TV watching and children, then parents can set limitations on the availability of services and content including ratings of movies, TV shows and music. Protection provided by four-digit password.
looks very interesting item "Remote control". Besides the usual synchronization operations connect the selected remote and Apple TV, there are still two options. The first one allows you to use any IR remote control, adjusting it the player itself. In this case it is possible to have multiple panels and add some additional functions compared to the standard control. In particular, pause, rewind, skip to the next or previous track. Second -will be used to control program Remote, available free in the App Store for devices on iOS.
player can independently update the firmware via the Internet. Explicitly configure the built-in clock is impossible. But you can specify the time zone in which you are, else the device will automatically.Provided
sleep timer that turns off the unit if it is not used. You can specify the period from 15 minutes to 10 hours or disable this feature.
An item is responsible for sending information about using Apple TV manufacturer. In the default state, this function is disabled. Despite the fact that the device is not officially represented in the domestic market, the choice of interface language are Russian. To work with the player without using the TV can be useful option "Universal Access", voiced by all actions and menu items. It also supports the Russian language.
If you want to read the documents on conditions of use, you can do it through the "official text." Well, the last item in this group -reset.
second setting group is responsible for the selection of parameters saver. For a device that will be used to play music, it`s a useful feature. The user can specify a group of photos of the two built-in player, available in MobileMe, Flickr or music library on your PC, as well as transition effects and time display one image.
In the "Audio & Video" assembled media playback options repeat music, subtitles output and HDMI decoding Dolby Didital, color space HDMI. Usually there is nothing here to change is not required. Once again we note that the resolution of the video output device -only 720p.
"AirPlay" is responsible for supporting the eponymous technology. We`ll talk about it later. "Computers" allows you to access your library from the player to the PC in the local network that are running iTunes and enabled "Home Collection".
last item -"In sleep mode", you can send the device to sleep. At the same time it will be available on the network and using the remote control, you can turn it on and start the music or video.
Apple TV does not have any built-in or connected storage devices. For the user, this means that all content should act or a local network or from the Internet.Let us first look at
available to the user from the "wrong" country possibilities.
easiest option -to provide local media library of iTunes on your PC to share on the network. To operate this service have to use the same account on the PC and the player. Furthermore, the device should be in the same LAN segment.
As a result, Apple TV can be used all the songs, videos, podcasts, photos from the computer or several. The disadvantage of this scheme is that you need to keep your PC on. Available networks NAS to iTunes does not solve the problem -at the moment, these devices can not provide the necessary service "directly".
The second option
get content -numerous online services. All Apple TV users have access to:
known service videos YouTube. There are the usual choices by popularity, rating, search. You can use your account;
catalog of audio and video podcasts. There is a selection by popularity, author and keyword search;
MobileMe -the connection to the appropriate service user;
the Service albums Flickr. There is a search and add contacts;
Catalog of Internet radio stations with a huge list sorted by category;
"In cinemas" -catalog descriptions of new films and trailers.
after changing the location on the U.S. list of changes -Trailers go to another section, and the "Internet" in addition there are new catalogs videos and sports programs: NetFlix, NBA, MLB. TV, Vimeo.
Most of them to make full use require an additional subscription.
We did not try all of the country, it is possible that the composition of the menu can be individualized for each country, depending on the agreements Apple with content providers.
two new items to the main menu, available after changing the country, it catalogs films and television series. They are organized almost identically and enable you to select content by popularity, genre, and other criteria. Viewing is possible under the conditions of purchase or lease with payment through the store iTunes. Available options depend on the country.
films ranges from about $ 10 to $ 15 depending on the size and freshness HD version can be expensive. Soaps can be purchased separate series, seasons, or to subscribe to the current season. Purchased content in your media library remains forever. Allowed it up to multiple devices PC, iPod, iPad, etc.. Approximate cost -from $ 3 for one series to $ 50 for the current season in HD.
rent movies usually $ 4 -$ 5 for HD-version set some limitations -you can start watching within 30 days after purchase, if you have already started looking for it for 24 hours in the U.S. and in other countries -48 you have to finish viewing. During this period, you can watch a movie any number of times. When the time expires, the movie will automatically disappear from your library.
make purchases as possible from the Apple TV, or through iTunes on your computer. In the first case, you can usually only see video on the device, where it was purchased, and the second -on any player that can access the media library iTunes, including Apple TV, iPhone and iPad.Overall
media formats supported by the device correspond infrastructure iTunes. In particular:
images in JPEG and TIFF;
Audiofayly AAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, WAV, DD without decoding, only output on the receiver;
M4V/MP4/MOV Video codecs H.264 to MPEG4 720p/30 fps and 640 × 480/30 fps, AVI codec M-JPEG up to 720p/30 fps.
As you understand, control is by modern standards, very few buttons. So diversity in the work is not observed. In fact, the only action available to the user is navigation -fast in both directions and a quick transition to the next or previous clip. Despite the fact that the files in iTunes can have multiple audio tracks, the way they switch on the Apple TV could not find us. The music is even easier -there is only move to the next and previous track.
should also pay attention to the fact that the built-in Wi-Fi in most cases enough to see all these formats, which can not but rejoice. The only thing that can prevent -weak signal or the presence of interference.
Very interesting and handy addition to the above features is support for AirPlay. In a sense, it is an analogue of an open standard DLNA. In AirPlay network devices communicate with each other, providing the possibility of storing content, passing it to another device remote control.
In particular, if we talk about Apple TV, then after the system settings you can in iTunes on the computer selected as a playback device Apple TV and all the music and videos from the library including the record with network-accessible NAS will be broadcast on this the device. And in this case you can use video Full HD of course, remain in the TV mode, 720p.
Even more interesting looks similar scenario using iPod touch we tried it with this device, but iPhone/iPad all similar. You can stream music and video directly from the player wirelessly! And you do not need any special docks, remote controls, etc..
The above-mentioned program
Remote can also be used with this technology, speaking "mediator" between the media library on your computer and iTunes Apple TV. In it you will see the complete catalog of selected PC and can also run media on Apple TV.
device familiar iOS, of course, is of interest as regards the installation of additional software. Official way to do this, of course, does not exist, and all actions are associated with the "burglary" prefix, which for obvious reasons is not welcomed by the manufacturer.
After gaining access to the console of the embedded operating system, the user can install the utility nitoTV. It allows you to directly from the main GUI player install new software packages.
One of the most relevant ones, can significantly extend the ability to work as a media player, is widely known XBMC. Installing it on Apple TV allows you to watch most modern video formats including FullHD the output format to TV remains limited to 720p, with access to the servers DLNA, common network shared folders and NFS servers and streaming internet broadcast. The program has many options, including the choice of themes, presentation of audio/video directory, installing plugins, network control, and the like.
above means that a BD-remuksy on the device can not be viewed. Therefore, the question of the audio tracks in HD is not relevant. But DD and DTS can be displayed on the receiver via XBMC. The second conclusion is enough speed built-in wireless controller for all the audio content.We also
module Remote HD, which provides an alternative way to control the player with other iOS devices after the installation of the appropriate program.
IOS 5 for Apple TVA recent update to iOS
affected and Apple TV. Of course, most innovations do not regard this hardware-based view multimedia, but some of them may be of interest. The most striking, perhaps, will feature AirPlay mirroring -the ability to use Apple TV connected to your TV to display the screen of mobile devices such as the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. Other models do not have sufficient capacity for this purpose. As a use case, you can specify the game, viewing web-sites, multimedia applications. Some programs even allow you to show on TV and the source device different images, which is very bad falls on the game scenario. As a demonstration of the new cloud services can mention Photo Stream, which broadcasts all the new photos from the "cloud" for all user devices.
Other new features are not so impressive, and were mainly to mediakatalogam new and expanding existing ones.
impressions about the device Apple, as usual, a highlight note original design. Companies not only managed to make one of the most compact media players, but while preserving most relevant for this class of devices of technical features, in particular a standard HDMI port and built-in Wi-Fi. Moreover, we note an internal power supply, as well as miniature and convenient remote control.
Software shell player is easy to use and offers quick access to a variety of media resources -videos and broadcasts on the Internet, home media library, rented or purchased movies and television series. The latter requires an account with access to this type of content. Note interesting technology AirPlay, which allows you to stream video and music on a wireless network without the use of docks for mobile devices Apple.
dictated the content format in the company store and the current capabilities of the Internet to limit video output resolution 720p, perhaps the most significant drawback of the model examined today and it is unlikely that will be corrected in the future the new firmware. Despite that, most likely, it is technically possible, Apple will be more profitable to roll out a new device, while implementing it some more hardware innovations than to correct this deficiency in the old. So we must recognize that if you want to ensure maximum image quality -Apple TV is not for you. The "official" product users will not notice this limitation, since they now only available format 720p except your own video in Full HD with a PC and images.If
focus on the selection and/or convert your files to your media library, the device even by modern standards, and looks good as a network media player. However, it may be easier to use an informal opportunity to install additional software, significantly increases the versatility of the media player formats and content sources.
Source: Www. ixbt. comApple TV