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Apple TV

Apple's updated media streamer promises online entertainment for your living room. Let's test it.

Apple wants to push its iTunes store straight into your living room with this relatively cheap set-top box. The latest version of Apple TV offers movies and TV shows to rent or buy. It also connects to your computer's iTunes software and links with iOS devices.

The Apple TV is small and inconspicuous, with a design as understated as you'd expect from Apple. It comes with a power cable, but you'll need to supply your own HDMI lead to plug it into a TV. It can connect to the internet via Wi-Fi, if the signal at your TV is good enough, but we attached it to a Home Plug network via its Ethernet port (again, you'll need to provide your own cable) and it worked well.

Whatever your chosen configuration, setting it up is no more complicated than plugging it in.

When you first turn it on, you're immediately invited to spend money. The film catalogue, with Apple's latest rental releases, is temptingly arranged across the top of the screen. Films cost around £4.50 to rent, though older films are cheaper. TV series are available to buy in bulk or per episode.

However, prices seem high compared to buying a DVD online and the selection had some glaring omissions (Game of Thrones, for example) that are available on DVD. You can subscribe to Netflix through the device, but that costs an extra £5.99 per month.

If you'd rather concentrate on the free stuff, there's YouTube and Vimeo to watch. The Apple TV can also link to iTunes on your PC, so you can stream music, photos and home videos from your computer.

If you've got an iOS device, either iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch, there are more t ricks to try. Our favorite is streaming video direct from the device, which brings the BBC's iPlayer to the big screen.

Another great thing to try is mirroring, which lets you project the screen of your mobile device onto your TV. If you're taking it in turns to play a game, for example, this is a useful option to save you huddling around the screen.

If you want to know about netflix uk, and how it compares to LOVEFiLM, another UK film rental firm, you can visit netflixvslovefilm.co.uk. Both offer several options such as streaming, but differ on several major points. You can also find out more information about any free trial period they may offer.

Product Info

Apple TV
Price: £99


  • Apple single-core A5 processor
  • HDMI
  • Optical audio out
  • 10/100 Ethernet
  • 802.11a/ b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Supports 1080p H.264 video in .mp4 and .mov
  • Supports AAC, MP3, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF and WAV formats
  • Supports JPEG, GIF and TIFF image formats
  • 23 x 98 x 98mm
  • 270g


  1. Get iTunes on your TV
  2. Great design and easy to use
  3. Integrates well with iOS devices


  1. Pushes paid-for content 
  2. Only streams media from iTunes


Setting up and using the Apple TV couldn't be easier, because it's simple and extremely well designed. It pushes the iTunes store heavily though, and while the service's movie rentals could be attractive to a casual film viewer, the DVD collection is expensive.

Streaming media from other devices has to come via iTunes, which might not be to everyone's taste, but if you use iTunes and iOS devices already, the Apple TV is a great way to link everything to your TV.

Features : 3/5
Performance : 5/5
Ease of Use : 5/5
Value for Money :4/5