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MEDIA CENTRES / SET TOP BOXES

Apple TV Brings iTunes To Your TV

By Caroline Warnes | Thursday | 15/03/2007

Apple TV is scheduled to launch in Australia at the end of the month and it's one of the best (and most cost-effective) media centre products around.

It offers a simple and effective way of streaming all your iTunes content to your big screen TV - and your computer doesn't even need to be switched on for this to happen.

What's more, it's not exclusive to just the one PC. If you have a network in your home you can also stream content from up to five additional PCs with a few simple button touches.

That means you can view podcasts, trailers, film clips, photos and other content you've downloaded on your TV, as well as listen to your music, using the included remote.

It comes with a 40GB hard drive to store content locally for faster streaming.

The box, which is both sleek and small (it measures in at 7.7-inches by 7.7-inches), connects to your TV via an HDMI port or component video and audio ports. iTunes automatically detects that you have plugged in Apple TV. Then the built-in wireless capability automatically syncs your iTunes from the PCs in your house.

Anytime you change your iTunes library, the content on Apple TV changes to reflect that.

Another neat feature is automatic bookmarking. For example, you could be watching a podcast on your iPod video on the way home from work.

If you don't finish watching it by the time you're home, you can plug the iPod into iTunes and continue watching it on Apple TV.

The bookmarking feature automatically knows that you were halfway through it and gives you the option to start watching again from the beginning or to resume where you left off.

Also on the way

The arrival of Apple TV will see several other products come to market.

Apple is also launching AirPort Extreme to coincide with Apple TV, so you can create a wireless network using only your computer. This allows you to share a printer or share a network and is ideal for getting the best experience from Apple TV.

Cables are also an essential part of the launch. Out-of-the-box, Apple TV only comes with a power cable. This is because different cables are required for different home theatre configurations, so you will need to be aware of what cables you'll need before you buy the product.

Xtreme Cables will be featuring prominently in Apple stores, especially its range of HD cables.

Xtreme will also be launching a four-way HDMI switcher that allows you to plug in four HD products at the same time, such as Apple TV or a PS3.

Cleverly, the switcher has the same dimensions as the Apple TV box as well as the same look and feel, so they can be stacked neatly on top of each other.

Apple has not confirmed an exact date for the launch but it is expected to be around the end of March.

It will retail for $449.

www.apple.com/au/appletv

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