After years of waiting, Apple on Wednesday finally announced support for full-HD (1920*1080) video by its third-generation Apple TV set top box (STB), adding fuel to rumours about the company's own TV set, as well as to its iTunes digital media store. Customers can now buy 1080p videos from iTunes to watch them using Apple TV 3 or other devices.
The new third-generation Apple TV is powered by a modified version of iOS operating system as well as dual-core Apple A5 chip that is also used inside iPad 2 and iPhone 4S. The device is equipped with 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-Fi, micro-USB port, HDMI output, infrared receiver, optical audio output and so on. The device supports video output in 480p, 720p, 1080p and some other formats.
With various iOS devices, Apple TV supports various interesting functionality, such as AirPlay streaming. iPhone 4S or iPad users can use AirPlay Mirroring to show the screen of their device right on their HD TV, allowing them to stream web pages, spreadsheets or even games. In addition, Apple TV gadget is fully compatible with iCloud service which allows to watch or listen to purchased content from any device.
“People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV. Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing.
Although support for 1080p is a big deal for Apple, which was behind the industry in terms of full-HD resolution for many years, as it will now be able to content for HDTVs in their natural resolution, Apple's content will be limited to 8Mb/s bitrate, which is better than Vudu 1080p offering (4.5Mb/s) and is in line with Netflix offering (8Mb/s), but much lower than that of Blu-ray disc (36Mb/s).
Apple TV 3 will be available on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of $99 in the U.S.