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Archives: New Apple TV - Features and Cons

Originally published in October 2010
Simon Nguyen

Apple is arguably the most successful tech company in the current decade. From iPod to iPad, every product released by Apple seems destined to become a huge hit. The only exception, thus far, has been Apple TV—a digital media receiver designed to allow users to watch contents (from a variety of sources) on their TVs. The product was first released in 2006 to lukewarm receptions. Since then, Apple TV has seriously under-performed compared to the company’s other products. Undeterred by disappointing results, the tech giant is releasing a new version of Apple TV that promises vast improvements over the previous version.

One of the distinct features of the new Apple TV is its modern design. The device’s hardware is slim and compact; set up is quick and extremely simple. On the software’s front, the new Apple TV offers many interesting features. For the first time ever, users can now stream on-demand Netflix movies on Apple TV. Although this is not a novel thing as people can also watch Netflix contents on various gaming consoles, it is a nice addition nonetheless. Additionally, other third-party content providers are expected to support the new Apple TV as well.

AirPlay, which will not be fully available until November, is another nice feature of the new Apple TV. Users of Apple TV will be able to share and play contents across all Apple platforms including MacBook, iPod, iPhone, and iPad. For dedicated fans of Apple products, this new feature is sure to greatly enhance their everyday experience. As a whole, the new Apple TV offers unquestionably more features and options than the old version. In term of affordability, the new Apple TV (at $99) is much cheaper than its previous incarnation but costs roughly the same as similar products on the market. There is clearly no price advantage.

Despite the noted improvements, the new Apple TV is not without any drawback. One major negative is the fact that one can’t store contents locally. In point of fact, all viewable contents are streamed over a network. This means that if your network is down or has connection issues, you won’t be able to view any content on your Apple TV. While the requirement is certainly forward-thinking in Apple’s part, the obvious problem is that most people are not tech-savvy. Moreover, current network technology is not perfect. It would have been better had the new Apple TV include local storage as well.

Is the new Apple TV worth getting or upgrading to? As mentioned above, the new Apple TV is not perfect. It has major advantages as well as disadvantages. One’s purchasing decision will ultimately hinge on personal taste. One thing is certain, however. Cable and satellite TV providers will have a strong competitor in Apple TV. And for that, the consumers are the real winners.

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