The first new Apple TV reviews are in - solid value, but not a big upgrade

The 2012 Apple TV

Although it might be overshadowed by the new iPad reviews looming large, select journos have had some time with the new Apple TV, and have posted largely positive reviews. Just to recap, the new Apple TV introduces 1080p video streaming, access to cloud-stored iTunes movies, and a brand new user interface. The $99 price point has stuck, and so has the hardware design.

TechCrunch's MG Siegler sees the new Apple TV as a threat to traditional disc-based HD media.

No, Apple didn’t give a huge incentive for current Apple TV owners to upgrade to the newer box. But they gave a huge incentive to millions of people without an Apple TV to get one. And that’s bad news for Blu-ray.

The Verge's Joshua Topolsky wants to see more content available on the new Apple TV.

If Apple can get the content in place — even Hulu and HBO Go apps would go an awfully long way — the Apple TV will be a truly killer device, whether or not the company ever decides to make an actual TV set. Until then, devices from Roku and Western Digital still provide more complete options for cord-cutters.

MacWorld's Jason Snell likes the pricetag.

At $99, the third-generation Apple TV continues to be as excellent a value as the previous model—and now it supports higher-quality video too. That’s a good thing.

The Loop's Jim Dalrymple loved the new cloud access on the new Apple TV.

The Apple TV is the epitome of convenience. With iCloud, I have access to all of my iTunes Match music and videos, so I don’t need to connect to a computer anymore. I can purchase movies, TV shows and I can watch content from Netflix. That’s perfect.

So, the general concensus is that while the new additions are awesome, there aren't a lot of hooks  for existing Apple TV owners to upgrade. Are any of you without an Apple TV thinking of picking one up? Apple TV diehards, are you itching to upgrade, even if it's just for the 1080p stream? If you spot any other great new Apple TV reviews out there, feel free to drop a link in the comments.

Simon Sage

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

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Reader comments

The first new Apple TV reviews are in - solid value, but not a big upgrade

37 Comments

If you install the new 5.0 software update, the only difference between the 2nd and 3rd gen models is the higher quality HD video. To me the jump from 720p to 1080p alone isn't enough to warrant upgrading since I rarely ever purchase movies or TV shows thru the iTunes store.

I've been wanting to get a second AppleTV for some time now, but waited to see if an AppleTV3 was going to be released, with rumors at the time of maybe being able to run apps with an optional wireless controller (which didn't happen).
But since AppleTV3 was announced last week, I ordered it and will replace my AppleTV2 with AppleTV3, then install the AppleTV2 to the other TV (the one the kids use most often) so they can use it without needing to use my TV anymore.
Also, AppleTV2 got an update to install the same user interface that is coming shipped with AppleTV3. I installed that last night.

I think the big let down seems to be that screen mirroring with AirPlay is still 720p for the new iPad (according to first reviews).

Yes, I upgraded and its on the Fedex truck heading here today. I just wanted 1080p and $99 didn't give me any pause. I can cut that in half by selling off the old Apple TV, so it's not like I made a major investment to get something I wanted. I'm happy with it.

What really makes the original apple tv great is when it is jailbroken and a tv flash black installed on it and xbmc! That effectively allows it to work normally, as well is cutting the cord from itunes so that you can play any media on any NAS hard drive or computer in your house!

Couldn't have put it better myself. I have an ATV2 in my bedroom and love it. As soon as the ATV3 is jail broken and XBMC is working, I'll get oe to replace the Aspire Revo in my living room.

I can't wait to be able to mirror whats on my ipad or iphone screen to the tv with no hdmi cable. And when OsX Mountain Lion is released it will be icing on the cake that I can't have. I'm so hungry.

The Apple TV3 will be my first. I also ordered an iPad so it will be great to mirror and to match movies that have on itunes without having to hook my computer up to the screen. It is delivering today and excited to hook it up.

I have an Apple TV now and my new Apple TV will be here in a few hours for $99 upgrading for me anyway isn't that big of a deal. I rent movies just about every weekend so now having 1080p is awesome.

My Apple TV 3 is being delivered today, I'm in London, UK.
Granted its not much of an upgrade from the ATV2 to ATV3 however, its not a device I can have hooked up to a full HD TV at only a maximum of 720p, so I'm looking forward to Full HD movies and TV Shows!
Petros
twitter: @PPetri83

We love our Roku and would definitely consider an apple TV however according to the article you linked it doesn't support hulu+ so that is definitely a deal breaker.

I have a Roku LT already and wouldn't give up Hulu+. But I'm thinking about getting an Apple TV3 and just having both. Why not?

I really, really wanted to want the new Apple TV. But no Hulu Plus is a deal breaker. As frustrated as I get with my roku, and as mych as I want to be able to mirror my iphone, ipod touch, ipad, and soon my mac, Hulu Plus is my most used source on the roku.

One solution for HULU+ is to install it on your IPad and use Aitplay mirroring. I am doing that with Ipad 2 and it owks well.

One solution for HULU+ is to install it on your IPad and use Aitplay mirroring. I am doing that with Ipad 2 and it works well.

I will be skipping the "new iPad", however what I am considering is the 3rd generation Apple TV (1080p). I have the HDMI cable to connect to the TV and it was not $99 + tax. It does a lot of the things the Apple TV does and more importantly it will eliminate some cables. Should I get it or is there something better to wait for in the near future?

First timer who was waiting for 1080p to take full advantage of my TV. I'm really looking forward to AirPlay, and have been tempted over the last year for that reason, but I'm really happy I waited.

I have apple TV2. Needs to be able to mirror all content not just movies/pictures. I would like to browse the Internet on my phone and see it on my big screen TV. I believe apps for apple TV will come. As always apple moves slowly so they can add content as upgrades. I do not have a iPad so some of this may be able to be done on it. Over all am happy with Apple TV2. Do not need to up grade at this time. If I see major hard ware change with functionality then will upgrade. My 2 cents.

I have the original Apple TV and I like the hard drive. If this one allows me to purchase movies and keep them in the cloud, then that may be just as good.

WAIT, WAIT, WAIT... the comment from The Loop‘s Jim Dalrymple leads me to believe that iTunes Match will support movies, too, now? I ripped all of MY DVD's and Blu-rays to iTunes, but that means iTunes doesn't register them as "Purchased." Will iTunes match also include movies now? I can stream my library to my Apple TV's, but I would like to free up memory on my iPad until I want to actually watch the movie.

iTunes Match is only for music. Movies you purchase the iTunes store will be available in the cloud. This also applies to those digital copy downloads you get with your blu-ray disks.

If you have large and diverse content libraries i don't think Apple tv is good. It plays few formats. I think if you are a slave to itunes media and downloads or want to stream from the services it provides then it's probably great for you. But me, i got terabyte of video that this thing can't play and most alternative players can. So until apple adds some decent codec support i think it trails behind most other alternatives from roku, wdtv, hell even my sharp tv. Because of the apple centric stuff it seems more for people inside apples walled garden that want to buy stuff from apple. That's just not me.

This is why some of us enjoy jailbreaking our devices. I've used a couple of 3rd party media players installed on my ATV2 and I can play many video formats.

But this won't allow you to play video with DTS audio, correct? Since most of my videos have DTS as the audio stream, I think I'm SOL with ATV3, jailbroken or not.

I have not been able to find any info on how much RAM the ATV3 has. Did it increase from the ATV2?

Is there some great resource for what you can do with a jailbroken ATV? The lack of content sources available has always been a deal breaker for me (I can get more sources from my phone than from the ATV), but if jailbreak fixes this, while letting me continue to buy from iTunes, I might be inclined to finally get one.

Check at Firecore's website and forum as well as XBMC's wiki and forums. I never finished pursuing it but I believe that I could have also installed a Plex client.
And yes I am able to continue buying from iTunes without issue from my jb.

Though the new 1080p Apple TV 3 and the iTunes 10.6 enables to play 1080p video, it
only support 1080p in h.264 format.
Apple TV still cannot import, stream and play 1080p HD video which is in MKV,
AVI, WTV, WMV, FLV, WebM, AVCHD, MPG, DivX, MXF, and VOB etc format.
Just google search Step by Step Guide on How to Convert 1080p MKV, AVI, Xvid, Divx, MP4, FLV, WMV, and MPEG to Apple TV/Apple TV 2/Apple TV 3
you will find a a
step by step guide on how to convert 1080p video in MKV, AVI, Xvid, Divx, MP4,
FLV, WMV, WTV, WebM, AVCHD, MXF, MVI, VOB, F4V, BIK, RMVB and MPEG to the 3rd generation Apple TV supported 1080p H.264 format or the 1st & 2nd
generation Apple TV supported MPEG-4 format

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The photo that you are seeing is leaked, and not oficially released by apple. Obviously if someone has an 5th gen iPod touch, and they are testing it, they will be using it, hence the fingerprints.

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