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  • gigahertz20 - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    "Apple hasn't crafted a pirate-friendly box with Apple TV, and until the Apple TV 3 gets jailbroken and XMBC port, it just isn't a fit for that crowd at all."

    Well, there goes many of the potential buyers. I purchased a WDTV Live Streamer that has the new GUI a few months ago from Amazon for $100. So far it has played back everything except 1 movie, but then there was a firmware update a few weeks ago and now it plays that movie fine. I've been thinking about building a HTPC with XBMC, but the WDTV Live boxes are just so simple to use and play back everything fine, I'm like mehhh why take the time when what I have works fine.
  • dave_the_nerd - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    I always see comments like that. And yet I've never actually seen a jailbroken phone In The Wild™ used by anybody but me.

    I predict apple will sell a lot of these to people who think jailbreaks involve helicopters or tunnels.
  • Raider1284 - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    The apple TV 2, jailbroken, with xbmc installed, is incredibly good. Through XBMC and its addons, you can watch your own content, hulu, espn live feeds, pandora, amazon video, etc. All of these features, plus airplay, plus the tiny footprint and power usage of these things, makes the apple tv an awesome home theater addition. Reply
  • mdmm - Friday, July 13, 2012 - link

    I have WD TV Streaming media player gen-3 .Please let me know,how to install xbmc on my WD TV Live Streaming Gen 3 Model?? Reply
  • Araemo - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    Oddly, I had almost the opposite results with my WDTV Live - so much so that I returned it to amazon.

    It would play most of my files, but on the majority of my h.264 content, it would lock up part way through the file (or after playing a couple of shorter files), requiring a hard reset or a 30 minute power off period to allow it to play ANYTHING else. After not getting any response from WD support 2 weeks after submitting a ticket, I returned it. I have my raspberry pi on order (Mostly because it actually supports 1080p, unlike the appletv2, and there is no way to say how soon the 3 will be jailbroken to run xbmc.)

    That said, if the cooked fruit strains on any of my hd content, I'll probably get an appletv3 once it's jailbroken and running xbmc fine... either way, there will be a fruit of some variety sending content to my TV.
  • Sivar - Saturday, March 24, 2012 - link

    I wonder if you had a bad unit. h.264 is typically more strenuous to decode than other video codecs, so a bad memory module or other flaw may have been the cause.As a reader of Anandtech, it's safe to assume you knew to upgrade the firmware.

    I encode my own video with settings not at all meant for low-powered devices to have an easy time with (--preset placebo --crf=22, though usually at level 4.1. Blu-ray players cannot play video with these settings). The WDTV that I bought for my parents has no problem with any of the content, regardless of encoder settings. When first purchased, it would occasionally but consistently show video glitches every 2 minutes or so, but after a firmware update it has worked perfectly. It also doesn't have to be jailbroken to play whatever is needed.

    The lack of response from WD is not good, but just the same, if your new order doesn't work out I suggest you give WD one more try.
  • name99 - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Or you could, you know, buy an old mac mini second hand, outfit it with an EyeTV stick or two, and have a really kick-ass HTPC.

    There's more than one choice for the TV set in the Apple universe. No-one's forcing you to buy an AppleTV if it's not right for you --- that would be as dumb as buying an iPod Touch then complaining that it sucks as a phone because all it offers is Skype and Vibr, not real phone functionality.
  • psuedonymous - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    If you can stand to wait for the RaspberryPi to ship in reasonable numbers (after the backlog has worked out), you can have an eminently hackable media streamer superior to the Apple TV. Level 4.1 rather than 4.0 (so you can play back Blu Ray unfettered), and still has Airplay ( Reply
  • ciparis - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    There goes a tiny (albeit vocal) minority, more like. It just isn't a relevant market segment. Reply
  • wb87 - Friday, March 30, 2012 - link

    Why do you need to pirate the Apple TV? It does a lot on its own, if you do a little research you will find out just how much you can do with it. I have my own video collection in iTunes and I can mirror my iPad to the screen. There are a lot things you can do with it. I've try a lot of different software programs but nothing is as stable as the Apple TV and iTunes. Reply
  • Teeeee - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    You didn't mention that when Mountain lion is used with AirPlay, that anything you could play on your Mac could be displayed via the apple tv, including previous downloaded shows and stuff in additional file formats or websites. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    I've updated with a clearer mention. Admittedly I haven't gotten around to trying Mountain Lion out, however.

  • relentlessfocus - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    I personally feel that Apple's strategy is to make the iPad and possibly the iPhone the real source for content with the AppleTV being only an iOS tv accessory. With 100 million iPads sometime in 2012 and a few hundred million iPhones its a nice accessory to have.

    Hulu I believe is on the iPad in the US, certainly here in the UK its possible to mirror the BBC's iPlayer to the AppleTV even though there isn't an AppleTV iPlayer app (yet). Bloomberg TV Airplays nicely to the AppleTV and Sky and other channels here in the UK are on the iPad. Given the complexity of digital rights its far easier for Apple to let the copyright owners make their own apps for the iPad than it is to work out deals with Apple as middleman via iTunes.
  • Fanfoot - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    Well, sort of.

    On iOS Apple has allowed app developers to block mirroring to the Apple TV. For example, HBO Go and Hulu both do NOT allow mirroring on the iPad. So for the moment, an Apple TV isn't as good a TV streamer device as some others if you judge it simply on its abilities to play back HBO Go or Hulu Plus or whatever.

    With Mountain Lion Apple seems to be taking a different stance, simply encoding whatever is on the display and since most viewing is done inside a browser, it isn't clear how/if any site will be able to block mirroring from working. Right now the working assumption is that sites like the free Hulu WILL work on Mountain Lion. Which may help to push things forward and stop this sort of behavior on iOS devices going forward.
  • ltcommanderdata - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    "While most of the attention this previous week has been focused on Apple's A5X SoC inside the iPad (3rd Gen), the other Apple-SoC news is that of the S5L8942 or A5 revision 2 inside the Apple TV 3, and iPad2,4."

    In page 2 of the article you mention the iPad2,4? Where does this come from? Are you saying Apple quietly revved the iPad 2 when they dropped the price to $399? Hopefully not. With 1x512MB on a 1x32-bit memory bus in the new A5 versus 2x256MB on a 2x32-bit memory bus in the old A5, that would fragment the iPad 2 userbase with different performance profiles.
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    The iPad2,4 reference comes from numerous configuration files/plist files in iOS 5.1. At this point I don't know if it's simply the iPad 2 R2 (aka cheapified iPad 2) or something else, and I think the jury is still out. Even so it's possible to just put a different memory device on top and maintain 2x32 (which I hope they've done) whereas the ATV3 just gets the 1x32 512 MB device.

    Again, I haven't seen that iPad out in the wild, but it definitely includes the same Apple SoC revision.

  • ltcommanderdata - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Maybe it's the much speculated iPad Mini? Personally, given Apple's talk of iPads in education and the learning potential that is there for students, I'm hoping it's a cut down education specific iPad 2 model. A single core A5 should be sufficient for iBook textbooks and learning games and selling it with dramatically reduced profit margin at say a $249 unit price would really drive school adoption. It won't be an immediate money maker for Apple, but early iOS familiarity can ripple into continued iOS customers as the kids grow up. All pure speculation of course. Reply
  • Morelian - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    I've owned the Apple TV (2) for the past year or so and have found it a useful device. We have multiple Iphones and Ipads in the house so the airplay thingy is good, and the apple tv will get media off the windows pcs as well. In my house it is mostly used as the Netflix access device hooked up to the 52 inch hdtv. The Netflix app on the Apple TV is better than the one on the Sony Blueray player.

    The selling point to me is if you have other Apple products the device is handy but even if you don't, it still is a good buy if your TV doesn't have a Netflix player attached.

    This review tells me I should get new Apple TV for the big TV and give the kids who have the little TV the old one :P
  • amagrude - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    The remote is slightly different in the Apple TV v3. The top 4-way circle has a pronounced circle bulge along the inner circle. The v2 remote (and every other metal one I've used) was rounded smooth in the shape of the contour of the remote. I like the new feel better - easier to get your finger into the center of that 4-way switch w/o looking. Reply
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    Weird, I bought my Apple TV 2 about halfway into its product cycle, so I think I might've just gotten the updated remote.

    Compare if you will the Apple TV 2 and 3 remote (the 2 is the one with small dents/scuffs from where I've dropped it) in the gallery:

  • nfineon - Wednesday, March 21, 2012 - link

    This is exactly the review I was hoping to find, with a more technical explanation of the hardware underpinnings that Apple doesn't really care to advertise. I personally have 6 Apple TV's throughout the house in all the key rooms and we get tremendous usage out of the Apple TV. Sitting at the dinner table together being able to instantly share our photos and videos via airplay is very nice, but a lot of people also don't realize that you can facetime on the big screen using the airplay mirroring function (try FaceTime on a 100" Projector/LCD and your mother won't ever want to use the small screen again).

    It's good to hear the antenna gain as improved, and i was really really hoping they would bump up to 2 spacial streams to get us 130 mb/s as Airplay of 1080p videos takes 2-3 times longer to load from the iPhone 4s camera as compared to the traditional 720p. That would also necessitate a bump up in all the iPad/iPhone devices as well given that all of them are also limited to 65 mb/s.

    But the #1 usage of the Apple TV's in our house is in streaming our movie/show collection from our Synology NAS in any format. You can't do this with the default firmware, which is why we use the FireCore firmware that keeps the same interface and functions as the original Apple TV while adding the ability to stream from any network device in any format. Also lets you install XBMC, plex and a few other handy tools if you want to go the extra mile but that alone has made the Apple TV increase in value considerably!
  • Brian Klug - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    I was hoping for 2 spatial stream WLAN connectivity as well, unfortunately it just isn't here yet.

    No doubt future revisions of the Apple TV will use either BCM43241 (which is 2x2:2 and dual-band), instead of the direct BCM4330 successor, BCM4334 (which is still 1 spatial stream, but built on 45nm instead of 4330's 65nm).

  • Shaun-T - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    What I want to know is, why doesn't Apple allow the refresh rate to be 24fps on the Apple TV 3? I read somewhere that the Apple TV 2 only output at 25 or 30fps as 720p/24 wasn't an official standard, but 1080p/24 is.

    So now we have a device that supports 1080p and the content sold on iTunes is 1080p/24. As BluRay players and and modern HD televisions use this, I don't understand why the the Apple TV 3 only outputs at 25 or 30fps. In either of those refresh rates, you get a stutter every second or so when playing 24fps content. It's really annoying.
  • MGSsancho - Thursday, March 22, 2012 - link

    This device is not for what apple calls videohpines who wan to play BD ISOs, DVD ISOs and the llike. It is designed to play anything found on iTunes. If you can get other stuff to play then that is just the gravy on top. For things that are actully useful (at least on current offerings) we are forced to jailbreak it. :) Reply
  • cjs150 - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    What an incredible oversite (bit like Apple advertising the Ipad 3 as 4G in Europe when it is not).

    But given that Intel are/were (what is latest position) incapable of producing a chip which outputed at the correct frame rate either (unlike AMD) why should we be surprised.

    BD frame rate are not exactly an obscure or new standard!

    I guess I will just drop this off my list of things to buy at least until someone jailbreaks it and gets the right frame rate and XBMC on it
  • solipsism - Saturday, March 24, 2012 - link

    Why doesn't Europe follow the ITU's definition of 4G? Reply
  • alpha64 - Friday, March 23, 2012 - link

    Your comment in the third page, which reads:

    In addition, the Apple TV 3 also moves from Broadcom's BCM4329 802.11a/b/g/n and BT 2.0+EDR combo chip to BCM4330 802.11a/b/g/n and BT 4.0 combo chip which we've seen in the iPad 2, iPhone 4S, and countless other mobile devices.

    Should say "we've seen in the iPad 3, iPhone 4S, ..."

    The iPad 2 had the same BCM4329 as the iPad and iPhone 4:
  • jpcuve - Monday, March 26, 2012 - link

    I purchased one too. Since the last upgrade it plays all my movies correctly (600+), with the subtitles. Reply
  • locust76 - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    I have the new Apple TV and a 40-inch 1080p Sony LCD, and I definitely notice a new sharpness and realism to the images and video from iTunes.

    I think it's also worth mentioning what this thing can do outside of the iTunes ecosphere: I ripped the Star Wars Ep 4 Blu-Ray and compressed it down to iTunes-level specifications, but with almost 10 Mbit/s video bitrate and DD 5.1.

    The Apple TV handled it with no problem, save for buffering issues which prevented me from skipping wildly throughout the movie without longer pauses. However, when the movie was playing, it played without stuttering with exceptional picture quality, considering I was running a video stream through it that was probably double Apple's intended bitrate...
  • kwrzesien - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    Is this with wired Ethernet or Wi-Fi? Reply
  • Fanfoot - Tuesday, March 27, 2012 - link

    One of the things I wish Apple would do with this device is to enable support of HDMI CEC. From the few posts I've seen on the subject it looks like Apple has once again failed to incorporate this into the new Apple TV 3.

    Why does this matter? Because with HDMI CEC if I want to AirPlay something from my iPhone I would just click through to use AirPlay on my iPhone and bang my TV would automatically switch to the Apple TV input without my having to do anything. As it is I have to a) hit the input button on my TiVo remote a bunch of times, then b) because my Samsung monitor is stupid and won't time out and get rid of the input list EVER I have to find my Samsung TV remote and press "OK" THEN initiate AirPlay from my iPhone. Which is STUPID.

    Lots and lots of TVs and receivers and so forth support HDMI CEC now. I don't understand why Apple doesn't support it, even as a user-enabled option...
  • Eug - Wednesday, March 28, 2012 - link

    Maybe I'm misreading the article, but it sounds like it's suggesting the Apple TV 2 is still limited to 720p playback. This is not actually the case. The new Apple TV 2 OS update that landed when Apple TV 3 was released has allowed playback of 1080p on the Apple TV 2 as well, including iTunes 1080p.

    Sure, the output is still limited to 720p but the key here is that the OS update has allowed much better 1080p support for the Apple TV 2.

    Previously most 1080p I encoded myself would stutter on Apple TV 2. So, I just encoded them at 720p. However, since the OS update, I've tried a couple of non-iTunes 1080p files, and they work perfectly fine now, without stuttering. Going forward, all my encodes for Apple TV 2 will be 1080p.

    It would be nice to see in a future article limitations of 1080p support with Apple TV 2 as compared to Apple TV 3, in terms of things like stuttering, etc. vs. bitrates. However, I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple TV 2 fully capable of smooth 25 Mbps high profile level 4.0 content just like its younger brother, Apple TV 3.
  • MadMacMan - Saturday, March 31, 2012 - link

    Great review, as always! :) Am I too late to the party or are there any Roku 2 (XS or XD) users who can chime in about the performance of WDTV vs. the aforementioned 1080p-capable Roku 2 players vs. the Apple TV 2 or 3? What are the main differences?

    Anand, since you mentioned it, I've been running OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion and the additional AirPlay mirroring features that you alluded to are indeed extremely useful! Consider this: Running 1080p content in VLC on my MBP and then clicking on AirPlay will mirror the entire desktop quickly and quite beautifully, VLC playing 1080p or 720p or whatever very much included! So far, there are only HiDPI profiles for 1280x720, though, which will hopefully change to include 1920x1080 by the time OS X 10.8 is released to the public.
  • Dug - Monday, April 02, 2012 - link

    I have an iPad2 and Apple TV 2.
    I think the combo is is one of the best as far as entertainment and music playing goes.

    Playing rdio, pandora, movies, music, garage band, icloud, etc is a whole different experience when you have an iPad as a controller because you have essentially a different interface to quickly select things.

    I would like to see an update with the new iPad and Apple TV 3 when you get a chance.
    I'm curious how developers with higher resolution apps work with the Apple TV now. I would also like to see how it handles mirroring.
  • kaki4125 - Thursday, August 16, 2012 - link

    If you are HD 1080P videos crazy fans and are looking for the ways to playing 1080P videos on your Apple TV you can use iFunia Apple TV Video Converter to convert all your HD Videos for Apple TV Reply

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