With the recent release of the third generation Apple TV, a wide debate ensues on whether the world is slowly handing itself over from optical discs to digital compression technology. Considering that digital distribution is still on its nascent years, we will undoubtedly find out how this plays out sooner than we think.
Apple’s updates on its products are always market moving. With the Apple TV now sharing close resemblance to Blu-ray players in terms of its video display, people are now less hesitant to purchase the smart TV adapter.
From 720p, Apple upgraded the third generation Apple TV to 1080p. The new single-core A5 chip made this new feature possible.
iTunes users can now choose between streaming previously purchased products from 720p to 1080p, once the video or movie becomes available in that resolution. Despite the upgrade, the price is still pegged at $99.
Hardware-wise, there were minimal changes made to the Apple TV. Aside from the new core chip, the Apple TV still consists of ports for audio and Ethernet cables, HDMI, and microUSB. A power supply and a WiFi a/b/g/n complete the interior of the device. There is nothing special about the Apple Remote, however, as it only consists of basic navigational controls.
AirPlay: Making the difference
Streaming videos with a 1080p full HD support is not the only feature users can enjoy. The new Apple TV also supports AirPlay, a feature most users fall for as it allows contents of iOS devices to be viewed on the TV.
This screen-sharing feature allows the contents of every user’s iTunes to be displayed on their television screens wirelessly. Using the third-generation Apple TV, videos can now be streamed up to 1080p. However, second generation Apple TV can only display up to 720p resolution.
AirPlay is not limited to streaming videos. Photos and applications—such as Pages, iMovie, Keynote, GarageBand, and others—can also be viewed on the TV. The gaming potential, on the other hand, still needs to be further developed by the makers.
Users should also watch out for the impending release of the OS X Mountain Lion, as it will allow AirPlay to view desktop contents on televisions.
On software upgrade, third-party apps
The new Apple TV announcement arrived hand-in-hand with its new iOS software upgrade. Apple improved the TV adapter’s navigation by removing sub-menus and replacing them with grids of icons containing thumbnail previews. The Menu button also lets users to easily go back to the homescreen.
Apple only allowed a limited number of third-party apps to access Apple TV’s user interface. This includes YouTube, Flickr, Netflix, and Vimeo. Moreover, the technology giant also allowed its users to sign up and pay monthly bills to iTunes and third-party services directly from the Apple TV.
Apple TV versus Blu-ray Discs: Who wins?
With only the upgraded video resolution to boot, owners of the second generation Apple TV do not have much motivation in purchasing the third generation device. In terms of image quality, Apple’s 1080p HD resolution is comparable but still not equal to Blu-ray discs. The latter still trumps the former on this front.
Moreover, those who already own an Apple TV can easily upgrade to the new iOS software through iTunes, but they are still limited to the 720p display.
However, for those who do not own an Apple TV—which amounts to millions, take note—the new release effectively gave them more incentive to switch to the new box. First generation Apple TV owners can also upgrade to the third generation box, as the former do not support AirPlay.
So is the new Apple TV enough for Blu-ray discs to make a run for their money? It poses a sizable threat, definitely, but still not enough to completely take them out of the market. At least, not yet. For one, fans of the Apple TV are still hopeful of more third-party applications partnering with their boxes.
People should still stay tuned, however. Apple always has something up its sleeve, when it comes to innovation and trumping its competitors.
Guest article written by: Kyle Kam is a marketing consultant for Affilorama, an affiliate marketing portal. Affilorama provides affiliate marketing lessons and advanced affiliate marketing tools for beginning and advance affiliates. You can follow him on Twitter @Iamkylekam