While everybody was tuned into the Apple event today for The New iPad reveal, Apple snuck in an announcement for an improved and cheaper Apple TV.
While the Apple TV has been in existence for some time now, the new Apple TV will feature 1080p programming that integrates cloud-based iTunes movies and TV shows into its programming. It also supports Netflix, Vimeo, photos and more audio-visual content all in HD.
On top of the announcement, it was also revealed that iCloud will now support movies and TV shows from the iTunes store. This will allow users to stream video content onto their HDTVs through Apple TV. Users can also stream content from their iPad or iPhone 4S onto the Apple TV.
“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,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “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.”
Speaking of content, the programming available over Apple TV is pretty impressive. There will be over 15,000 movies and over 90,000 TV episodes available on the iTunes Store. On top of all that, there is Netflix, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL alongside content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.
The iCloud support will go beyond Apple TV by letting users who buy content stream it on all of their compatible devices. iCloud can also be used to store photos and share between all of your devices.
AirPlay will also be used to push content from your iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch to Apple TV. It can also be used to mirror images between the device and Apple TV to stream Web pages, spreadsheets and games.
The most amazing news out of all this is the price. Apple TV will only cost $99 and be available Friday, March 16. You can buy it at the Apple online store, any of their retail stores or any authorized Apple reseller.
If you’re interested in getting the Apple TV, you will need a couple of things first. Interested users will need iTunes 10.5 or later, either a wireless or Ethernet network, broadband internet connection and an HDTV capable of 1080p or 720p. It goes without saying that an HDMI cable is required.
Those who own second generation Apple TV devices will be able to download a firmware update that adds the new UI. Unfortunately, the new Apple TV is required to play 1080p content.