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Apple TV Guide

The Apple TV is a digital streaming media player as well as a micro-console that enables users to display any content from the internet on to their television sets.

Apple made their first attempt to enter into the home entertainment industry by releasing the Macintosh TV back in 1993. This model had a 14-inch CRT screen that came with a TV tuner card. Unfortunately, it didn’t prove to be a success as only 10,000 units were sold, after which it was discontinued in 1994.

Apple’s next attempt came with the Apple Interactive Television Box in the same year of 1994. It was a collaborative venture between Apple, Belgacom, and BT. Sadly, like the Macintosh TV, it came to a quick end as well.

Just before the Apple TV came along, Apple’s last chance at the home entertainment market came with the launch of Apple Bandai Pippin, which was a home game console combined with a networked computer.


First Generation

Apple TV was first introduced on September 12, 2006, as a work-in-progress IP titled iTV. It used a modified Front Row interface along with the Apple Remote. Later on January 9, 2007, Apple began to take pre-orders for Apple TV. Originally, the Apple was going to use the name ‘iTV’ in order to ensure the honored the tradition of the rest of its “i-based products,” but it couldn’t as the British broadcast network held the rights to the name and had threatened to take legal action against the brand.

The shipping for the Apple TV started on March 21, 2007, with a 40 GB hard disk. Then on May 31, 2007, an updated model with a 160 GB HDD was introduced. Apple had later stopped selling the 40 GB HDD version on September 14, 2009.

When an upgrade was announced on January 15, 2008, the Apple TV became a stand-alone device without requiring the aid of a computer running iTunes on Mac OS X or Windows to sync or stream content to it, which made most of the Apple TV’s hard drive obsolete. With this update, content from the iTunes Store could be directly rented and purchased. Front Row was disowned for a new interface in which content was organized into six categories including TV shows, movies, podcasts, YouTube and photos that were all visible on the big square box.

Then on September 9, 2015, Apple had discontinued its service and support for the first generation Apple TV. And from May 25, 2018, due to its redundant security standards, the iTunes Store no longer became accessible from the device.


Second Generation

The Apple TV’s second generation was introduced on September 1, 2010, and was also the first generation to run on a variant of iOS. This new model comes in about a quarter of the original’s size in a smaller all-black case. It also replaces the internal hard drive with an 8 GB internal flash storage, leaving just enough local storage for buffering activities. All of the media content became streamed instead of synced. On May 2015, the second generation Apple TV lost the YouTube app due to an API change by Google.


Third Generation

The third generation of the Apple TV was announced on March 7, 2012. From the outside, it was similar to the design of the second generation model, except this version consisted of a single-core A5 processor, and supports 1080p output.


Fourth Generation

The Apple TV’s fourth generation was introduced at an Apple Special Event on September 9, 2015. This latest model uses a new operating system, tvOS, with an app store, which allows users to download third-party apps for audio, video, games as well as other content. Once released, the third-party apps were available from a limited set of providers, along with new APIs that provided opportunities for more apps. The requirement for new apps and games was that they should include interfacing with the new touchpad-enabled Siri remote, which was later eased up for games. It’s similar in form to the second and third generation models, only taller. Instead of the old remote’s arrow button, the 4th generation one uses swipe-to-select features, a built-in microphone, Siri support, an accelerometer (IMU) and volume control over HDMI CEC and IR.


Fifth Generation

Lastly (as of this writing), Apple introduced the fifth generation Apple TV model known as Apple TV 4K, which supports 2160p output, HDR10, HEVC hardware decoding, Dolby Vision, and a faster Apple A10X Fusion processor. For tvOS 12, Dolby Atmos support was added. It’s externally similar to the 4th generation model, except it has vents on the base, a white outline around the menu button that comes with the included Siri Remote and the USB-C port is gone.