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Hands-on preview: Apple TV & YouTube

YouTube makes Apple TV a winner

Yesterday the long-awaited YouTube update for Apple TV arrived. Now Apple's television-synching box comes with YouTube functionality built in. Initially, we weren't hugely impressed with Apple TV, citing lack of UK content as a reason to award it only 2.5 out of 5.

Apple TV review

So the inclusion of YouTube is a massive boost for the Apple TV in the UK. From having no content at all in the UK, to having the world of YouTube at your fingertips suddenly, is a pretty big step forward.

Installing YouTube on the Apple TV is a simple process. Click the 'Update' option and wait for the download. It took about five minutes to download and another couple of minutes for the Apple TV to restart.

At this point you'll find an option marked 'YouTube' on the Apple TV menu. Click on it and you'll be gazing over the following options: 'Featured', 'Most Viewed', 'Most Recent', 'Top Rated', 'History', 'Search' and 'Log In'.

The first three options take you to a selection of video clips selected by the YouTube community. There's a lot of random video here, of varying subjects. A lot of it tends to be obscure and cliquey in the way that internet groups can often be - it matches up with the YouTube website so you can take a look there to see what's on offer.

Like the YouTube website, you can search for, store favourites and rate video clips. Which is what the rest of the menu is taken up with. Of great relief is the fact that you log in to YouTube from your Apple TV and sync up with your YouTube online account.

This is particularly handy because searching for video clips directly from the Apple TV is a bit of a bind. While the Apple remote is widely praised for its simplicity (it's only a directional pad and two buttons), it's clear that using it to enter text on the screen is a hassle. Consequently the ability to sync up with your online account is invaluable: it enables you to do the searching and bookmarking from your computer, then use this as a springboard to watching video clips and searching for related videos from the comfort of your TV.

The amount of video clips available on YouTube also limits the experience. YouTube claims to have converted 10,000 video clips to the Apple TV format, and while this is certainly plenty of video to play around with, it's far short of the reported 5.5 million clips on the full site. You don't have to search very hard to discover the limitations of having a library of just 10,000 videos.

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