Apple's latest event came with the new iPad and the Apple TV 3. Compared with the new iPad, Apple TV 3 is less likely to be concerned. But it is still a hot topic among customers who have been focusing on the HD media player. The Apple TV 3 has a new interface, a new A5 SoC, the ability to stream movies you've purchased through iTunes. It's also as deeply integrated with Netflix as ever, and AirPlay is getting better all the time. The most attractive feature the Apple TV 3 packs is the support for 1080p video.
Certainly the competitors of Apple TV 3 have added the support for 1080p for a long time. Apple seems to dump the crowd of HD media player market with the Apple TV 3, but it could be more powerful if Apple TV 3 did not have many limits.
Hardware / design
Physically, the Apple TV 3 is utterly unchanged from the previous model. To tell the truth, that's a good thing — the black body, glossy on the sides and matte on top and bottom, is still easy on the eyes. The Apple TV 3 does have a full-size HDMI port, and for most people that's probably enough. There's an optical audio jack for plugging in speakers, plus a Micro USB port — though it's just "for service and support."
Image / sound quality
When all is said and done, all upgrades rolled out and apps updated, there's really only one noticeable difference between this year's Apple TV and last year's: the new model can stream 1080p video from iTunes and Netflix, while past versions could only go up to 720p. That spec bump is actually pretty huge, as long as you have the HD TV to support it. Video is sharp and clear, but it's not quite at Blu-ray level of quality.
Sound quality is obviously hugely dependent on your home theater setup, but the Apple TV is plenty capable in the audio department — it can do Dolby Digital 5.1-channel surround, and pushes out regular stereo sound well, too.
In a word, the Apple TV 3 is worthy purchasing with the reasonable $99 which is relatively lower than other HD media players.
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