Apple TV (working title iTV) coming to UK in February

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Apple’s video-streaming-to-TV solution – working title iTV – was given a name today, and whilst the unimaginatively but undeniably practical “Apple TV” was overshadowed by the much awaited iPhone announcement, Steve Jobs gave some demonstration time in his keynote speech at Macworld this morning.

We covered the prototype “Apple TV” in September last year, and from February the UK gets the finished article.

Featuring a 40GB hard drive, 802.11b, g, and (draft) n wi-fi wireless compatibility, usable with a PC or Mac, and supplied with an Apple Remote, it will retail for £199.99, and offer streaming of your iTunes music, photos and movies to your high definition (or at least, widescreen) TV.

Maybe it’s just me (and I’m an Apple fan throughout) but Apple TV for a British audience doesn’t sound hugely appealing just yet. Sure, it’s got potential, but we’re so far behind on iTunes content that it makes ‘out of the box’ operation seem a little lacklustre.

We may eventually get a few movie and TV downloads on iTunes, but nothing like the variety that the US gets. So downloading legal movies from the Net is effectively out on that route. If you’ve got massive hard drive storage on your main PC/Mac, then you could theoretically load all your DVD movies onto your drive, import them to iTunes, and then stream them – but DRM and copy-protection aside, why not just use that DVD player sitting under your TV. iTunes for audio as a digital jukebox is great, where tracks are typically 3-5 minutes long, but it’s hardly a necessity for film watching.

overview-hero.jpgThe system looks good, with seamless integration of the media you have on your computer. If I had my media digitised, I’d be more than happy to use the Front Row style front end to select and watch it. But realistically it’s not going to happen, is it?

Want movies and programmes over the Net? You won’t get them from iTunes in the UK any time soon, so why not go for BT Vision (launched in December) instead? Want movies almost on demand? Go for Sky.

I hate putting Apple products down, but I think this is one product that could’ve easily stalled in the UK. The iPhone? Nope, that should’ve been ready globally at the same time – but Apple TV? In my opinion we’re not ready for it yet.

Let’s watch our US cousins to see how another first-gen Apple product fares.

Apple Store UK

What do you think?

Andy Merrett

4 comments

  • It does everything apart from actually let you watch TV. A bit of a flaw for something called “Apple TV” methinks…

    We’re going to run into problems in the UK since our version of iTunes doesn’t offer video for download, only music, meaning that essentially this box will let you listen to your music collection on your awful 10w TV speakers, when millions are already enjoying connecting up to their stereo systems, without needing a £200 box to do it for them..

  • True, Mike. It will suit some people down to the ground, and that’s great, but I think it doesn’t do enough to be the single solution Apple are maybe hoping it will be.

    At this price it could sit well as an additional box (more wires and switches of course) and I think it has great potential.

    Will you be getting one?

  • I want to watch on my TV the movies/pictures/music I have on my computer, recordings from my EyeTV box mostly.

    Neither BT Vision or Sky will give me that. They’ll let me record but I can’t the recording out of the box for keeping… And there’s no way they’ll let me watch something I downloaded from YouTub or a video podcast.

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