Apple rolled out the newest generation of Apple TV yesterday (available March 16th), but the company also provided an upgrade for those who have the older Apple TV box. The new Apple TV 5.0 has a completely revised interface that some may love and others may well hate. Other than the interface, Apple TV 5.0 has one or two additional features that simply make using the TV easier.
If you’re wondering about the newest Apple TV box, the main difference between the two is that the new box streams in 1080p while the older box can only stream in 720p. Otherwise, the two are almost identically the same now that Apple has released the 5.0 upgrade. If you have the older box, here’s what you can expect to find once you upgrade.
It’s All About the Interface
If you have an iOS device, you will find the new 5.0 interface familiar. Large and colorful icons will fill your Apple TV screen and selecting one of those icons will bring you to a text-based menu. From there, you can make any number of selections depending on the app that you’ve chosen. Some reviewers are calling these icons (and the interface in general) childish and overly simple, but this reviewer happens to like the ease that the new icons bring.
What’s not to like about Apple TV (though not exclusive to the older box) is the Apple TV remote. This remote is a bit hard to use and navigating through too many apps could get frustrating. Remote aside, you will also find that Apple has included some iTunes and Netflix features in the new interface. The biggest iTunes change is that any movie purchase through iTunes will now be accessible through your Apple TV. On the Netflix side of things, you can now sign up for a Netflix account using your Apple ID.
The Appeal of the Apple TV
I’ve never quite understood what the appeal of the Apple TV is. Seemingly, I’m not alone, since Apple hasn’t been able to sell a record number of these streaming boxes. If you’re tempted by the new Apple TV price ($99), here are some of the reasons why people like this device:
Streaming Simplicity: Apple TV plays very nicely with iTunes. So, if you purchase a movie on iTunes (average movie purchase prices, by the way), that movie will be available on your Apple TV. The same goes for any other iTunes purchases. This is a nice feature, but enough to entice the general population to purchase an Apple TV?
Interface Design: The new 5.0 design is nice and easy to use. When compared to other streaming boxes, Apple’s refreshing interface is easily one of the best available. Again, is a clean interface enough to purchase one?
iPhone 4 Remote App: you can use the Apple TV app via your iPhone 4 to better control this streamer.
There are also some drawbacks that include limited format support and a bit of difficulty navigating using the Apple TV remote. Since Apple devices only play well with other Apple devices, you can forget hooking up any other type of device or file format of any other kind with your Apple TV – this may or may not be a factor to consider. Still, at $99 the Apple TV is a decent streaming option, and for those who already have the box, the new upgrades certainly improve the overall experience.