Apple TV is a set-top box from Apple that enables certain forms of home entertainment, such as the playback of streaming media purchased online on a pay per view or subscription basis, as well as roaming services from cable broadcasters and other media companies. First released in 2007, it is also compatible with other Apple computer products that have iTunes installed, allowing files to be played back from your home computer direct to your television over your home network.
One of the innovative features of the device is that, with no hard-wired controls, it is accessed via a remote control or using a virtual remote control installed as an app on an Apple handheld computer device, iPod, tablet or smartphone.
The Apple TV can be used to play films, video, audio and photo slideshows on TVs (with HDMI ports), wirelessly over Wi-Fi. As of the 3rd Generation Apple TV, this includes content from the iTunes Store, Netflix and YouTube, though of course you still need to pay for the content where necessary.
The Apple TV 1st Generation was released in March 2007 and was followed by an upgraded 2nd Generation model in September 2010, a 3rd Generation in March 2012 and a 3rd Generation 'Rev A' version, designed to be less modifiable by users, in January 2013.Unlike competitors such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Google TV, and Chromecast the Apple TV is designed to tightly integrate the Apple Airplay enabled devices such as iPhones and iPads. This makes for ease of use but means that as of April 2014 some file types e.g. WMV, AVI and DivX can?t be played without 3rd party software.
Often 1st and 2nd Generation Apple TVs are modified ?jailbroken? in ways unintended by Apple to add additional functionality, though this is likely to void the product?s warranty.