Apple TV Hits the Streets

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After a slight delay, Apple said it is now shipping Apple TV, a square-shaped device that is designed to play back iTunes content from a PC or Mac computer on a TV.

The device, which has a suggested retail price of $299, is "a DVD player for the Internet age," Apple product-marketing senior vice president Philip Schiller said in a prepared statement.

However, Apple TV can play only TV shows and movies purchased from Apple's iTunes online store -- it’s incompatible with Microsoft’s Windows Media format, and it cannot access videos hosted by Google’s YouTube, Yahoo, MSN, AOL or any other Internet streaming-video site. iTunes currently offers 400 movie titles and 350 TV shows for sale.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs teased the device last fall, then provided more details in January. Apple TV was supposed to ship in February, but the date was pushed back to mid-March for unspecified reasons.

Apple TV measures 7.7 by 7.7 inches, and it is 1.1 inches high. Apple said it weighs 2.4 pounds. Apple TV’s 40-gigabyte hard disk stores up to 50 hours of video, 9,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each.

Apple TV requires an enhanced-definition or HD wide-screen digital TV. The device, which comes with a remote control, also requires iTunes 7.1 or later running on a Mac with Mac OS X version 10.3.9 or later or a Windows PC with Windows XP Home or XP Professional SP2. Users also must have an 802.11b/g/n wireless network and Internet access.

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