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New Apple TV set-top box, 1080p iTunes streaming announced

March 07, 2012|By Nathan Olivarez-Giles
  • An illustration of the Apple TV set-top box and iTunes movie rentals on an HD TV. Apple updated its Apple TV device alongside the unveiling of a new, third-generation iPad.
An illustration of the Apple TV set-top box and iTunes movie rentals on an… (Apple Inc. )

Finally, iTunes and the Apple TV set-top box will now be able to stream video in full, 1080p high definition.

The update to full HD, from 720p resolution video, was announced Wednesday by way of a software update to iTunes and a refreshed Apple TV box -- each introduced alongside the day's thunder stealer, the new Apple iPad.

The new Apple TV looks just like the old Apple TV -- on the outside, they are the same. On the inside, in the guts of the little black hockey puck of a device, the latest generation has one notable difference: its processor.

The new Apple TV is outfitted with a single-core version of Apple's A5 processor, which, in a dual-core variation, can be found in the iPad 2 and iPhone 4S.

Apple hasn't said what the clock-speed for Apple TV's A5 is as of yet, but the previous Apple TV device has a single-core A4 chip, which is the same 1-gigahertz processor found in the first-generation iPad and the iPhone 4.

It's the A5 that allows the new Apple TV to handle 1080p video streaming from Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, iTunes and other services, rather than top out at 720p as the previous model did.

There are also some user interface changes that will come to the Apple TV, both new and old. And built-in storage for the device remains at a small 8-gigabytes, as one more example of Apple's push to get its users to store media using its iCloud service, or to stream media from iPads, iPhones and the iPod Touch and Mac computers using the AirPlay feature.

For users of the iPhone 4S and iPad 2 or new iPad, the Apple TV can use AirPlay to mirror the screen of the handheld device on the high-definition TV the Apple TV is hooked up to.

The price, thankfully, is also staying the same for the Apple TV -- $99. The new Apple TV hits stores March 16, the same day as the new iPad.

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