Feeds
70%
Apple TV 2

Apple TV third-generation (2012)

Set-top stop-gap for the 'iTV'?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

'iTV' stand in

Meantime, Apple needs for once to think about users outside the States. Yes, the ATV's Netflix app will work with Netflix's UK video catalogue, but not too many Brits will care much about Major League Baseball, I'd say. We want BBC iPlayer, we want Lovefilm, we want 4oD. A few even want Demand 5 and ITV Player. There's no shortage of UK content Apple could add if it had a mind to.

Apple TV sans set-top

Just a TV, no set-top. Apple TV's future?

There are more content sources Apple could add for its American customers too. That it has shied away from doing so suggests it hasn't been able to make up its mind whether it wants the ATV to be merely an iTunes Store accessory or a broader IPTV platform.

Making other content sources more obvious - what else are those big colourful icons for? - points to the latter. No doubt the eagerly awaited arrival of the 'iTV' will make this bigger ambition obvious.

Apple TV Library screen

Access LAN-linked iTunes libraries but not Nas file-shares

The 3G ATV's UI, then, is a prototype, the box's userbase a focus group to be used to help Apple select the best UI for its HD TV, which, if it's to be a true success, needs to look beyond the iTunes Store for content.

Maybe a better UI is coming down the 'pike, but that doesn't help the ATV here and now. UI tweaks aside, this box doesn't really do anything the first-gen model didn't. Yes, there's 1080p playback, but you're still limited to the iTunes ecosystem, whether you get films and tunes from the Store or stream it from your computer.

Apple TV Netflix screen

Apple, Netflix and iTunes are not enough.

If you want other formats, you'll have to jailbreak and install XBMC, like I did with my still-very-much-in-use first-gen ATV. Or ignore the Apple product altogether and buy something like the WD TV Live, which has a less attractive UI, but can talk to network shares, online services - including iPlayer - and directly connected storage.

Verdict

I like the Apple TV: the UI is easy to navigate and, if retrograde, nonetheless paves the way for apps; the remote is excellent; it's responsive, and playback is good; and the box itself is compact and doesn't need a power brick. It is one elegant, compact set-top box. But it's also useless if you're an iTunes refusenik, or you like to look over the garden wall from time to time. Yes, you can jailbreak it, but you should do that because you want to, not because you need to. Alas, with so few extra, non-Apple - and, crucially, non-US - content sources included out of the box, it's a necessity here. ®

More Media Gear Reviews

August DTV700B Roku 2 XS Ten... IPTV
set-top boxes
HD JuiceBox Ten... Freesat
receivers

SANS - Survey on application security programs

70%
Apple TV 2

Apple TV third-generation (2012)

Fine media player hardware with a new, app-centric UI, but only iTunes fans need apply.
Price: £99 RRP

More from The Register

next story
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras
Time to ditch that heavy DSLR? Maybe in a year, year and a half
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad
Will iPad Air evolve into iPad Helium?
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.