Apple has released a new, smaller Apple TV box geared toward streaming movies and TV shows. The resolution tops out at 720p (unfortunately) but highlights include Netflix streaming, 802.11n Wi-Fi, H.264 and MPEG-4 video support, and a footprint that is 80-percent smaller than the last Apple TV box.
What about a hard drive you ask? The new Apple TV relies on cloud-based memory and therefore does not require a storage disk. Given the new Apple TV is meant to stream not store content a large 160GB drive like the older model would just not be necessary (And, lack of a drive also enables Apple to drop the price so much.)
Renting TV Shows & Movies
Titles can be rented through iTunes or accessed through Netflix memberships. An HD movie (at 1280 x 720 resolution) will cost $4.99 for new releases and $3.99 for other titles. TV shows in high-definition (at 1280 x 720 resolution) will cost $0.99. Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound audio is available in some titles.
The size of the new Apple TV is 3.9″ x 3.9″ and is powered by an Apple A4 chip processor. Ports include HDMI, Optical audio, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, Built-in IR receiver and Micro-USB (for service and support). Built in 802.11n Wi-Fi is a/b/g compatible at 2.4GHz and 5GHz.
H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second. And, MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels at 30 frames per second.
HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through.
The Apple TV is compatible with high-definition TVs with HDMI input which are capable of 720p 60/50Hz video. (Requires HDCP when playing protected content.)