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Wi-Fi and Networking Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Apple TV review

£99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Apple

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Apple TV connects to your broadband router or network and earns its name by working with your lounge television, acting as a conduit to allow you to enjoy music and video from the internet.

Apple TV connects to your broadband router or network and earns its name by working with your lounge television, acting as a conduit to allow you to enjoy music and video from the internet. Updated, January 16 2009.

Let's get one issue straight from the outset: the Apple TV does not play TV. Or at least, not your usual programmes from Freeview or cable and satellite stations.

Latest version: Apple TV review (2012)

See also: Original Apple TV review

See also: Apple TV Take Two review

Apple TV connects to your broadband router or network and earns its name by working with your lounge television, acting as a conduit to allow you to enjoy music and video from the internet. Content can even be streamed from YouTube, and an onboard hard drive (40GB or 160GB) means video can be stored locally too.

You set up the Apple TV by wiring to your television through HDMI or component video. Content comes to the device over either ethernet, or wirelessly by 802.11n. Beware though that the video output is tuned to 16:9 widescreen TVs. If you choose a 16:10 ratio 1920x1200 monitor, for example, the image will be slightly skewed.

It works seamlessly with audio and video stored in your iTunes library on a nearby Mac or Windows PC. A wide selection of films and TV programmes can now be enjoyed in the UK, using the iTunes Music Store. You can also surf Flickr photo libraries.

Video material can be either bought outright, rented for a 48 hour period; or both, depending on the film or TV programme in question. Much of the film content is now available in high-definition quality, a service unavailable even to computer users via iTunes. Prices vary from £2.49 to rent an older film in Standard Definition, to £4.49 to rent a recent HD film. Picture quality is superb, and audio is encoded in multi-channel for playback through an AV receiver.

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment and digital audio news and reviews

You can also buy some films outright, with prices starting at £6.99. Rentals and purchases are subject to playback restrictions, using the Fairplay DRM system introduced with Apple's music shop.

There's an option to add an Airport Express wireless adaptor, to stream music from your PC library or Apple TV to other rooms. An on-screen menu lets you choose where you want to send your sounds. We found this worked well, and it's even possible to control playback - of both film and music - via an iPhone, using a free app called Remote. This gives you the luxury of a full handheld qwerty keyboard, very handy when searching for clips on YouTube, for example.

Apple TV 2.2 Expert Verdict »

Apple TV 160GB Scores 8.4 out of 10 based on 14 reviews
40GB (£195) or 160GB (£263) wireless TV adaptor
HDMI output
component video (3 x RCA) output
Toslink digital optical output
analogue stereo output
802.11b/g/draft-n
10/100BASE-T ethernet
USB 2.0
IR remote control
197x197x28mm
1.1kg
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 7 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Performance: We give this item 7 of 10 for performance
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

The Apple TV is not the only set-top box to integrate computer-hosted media with your lounge TV – but it is the easiest to use. It’s superbly made and crucially boasts a clear and simple interface. It’s a doddle to find anything you need with a simple six-button remote control.

  • Apple TV Take Two

    Apple TV Take Two

    Lately we've promoted the notion of an updated Apple TV as one of this young year's most significant products. Apple has reduced the price and added functionality to its home-entertainment device.

  • Apple TV review (2012)

    Apple TV (2012)

    At £99, the third-generation Apple TV is still ace for linking PC/Mac and iPhone/iPad with your television, and adds 1080p HDTV compatibility but not much more.

  • Libratone Lounge AirPlay speaker

    Libratone Lounge AirPlay speaker

    Libratone’s Lounge AirPlay speaker combines high quality sound and high quality design. Read our review to find out more.

  • Apple TV 2014 review: slick and neatly designed set top box lacks content for UK audience

    Apple TV 2014: slick and neatly designed set top box lacks content for UK audience

    The Apple TV is a good-looking and well-designed on-demand TV player. But where is the UK content? Here's our 2014 Apple TV review.

  • Second-generation Apple TV review

    Second-generation Apple TV

    The second-generation Apple TV is a media streaming or synching device, unlike its storage-based predecessor.


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