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TV has come a long way from the rather clunky wooden box that used to sit in the corner of your grandfather’s house screening black and white programmes that were about as interesting as watching paint dry (in fact some types of paint do dry in a fascinating way). The television is now central to everyone’s home and it’s hard to imagine what life was like without it. Just when you think that TV simply cannot get any better – it does! The evolution of the TV is one of the marvels of technology today.

Take the Apple TV 3 (MD199BA) for instance. Ok, it doesn’t have the sexiest of names (its rival the ‘Chromecast’ certainly wins in the name stakes) but it does have the ability to transform your TV into a personalised entertainment hub that works in conjunction with your mobile device, without the need for USB cables.

 

Does it Play Movies?

Are you kidding me? Serious film fans will love the Apple TV for one simple reason – it can stream any film from Netflix (or Amazon Prime if you stream the content from your iMac) without the need for a monthly contract (pay for each movie you want to watch) and in the superior 1080p resolution which is perfect for widescreen TVs. In fact it is possible to watch a film every single day for years and still not run out of films to watch on Netflix. I don’t know why you’d want to do this but if you did then it is possible and it wouldn’t necessarily damage you psychologically, I mean look at Quentin Tarantino. Ok, maybe not.

apple-tv-3-md199ba-ports

Connectivity is a breeze on Apple TV with HDMI2, optical audio, 10/100BASE‑T ethernet, built-in IR receiver and micro-USB ports.

 

Great, How About TV Catch Up?

The one think the Apple TV lacks which the Chromecast doesn’t is an iPlayer app, however there is a way around this. The Apple TV offers what they have called ‘Airplay‘ which is nothing to do with Air Guitar or the playing of any other imaginary instrument. It is in fact the ability to synchronise your phone/iPod/iPad/whatever with the Apple TV so that the TV screen mirrors your device screen. Therefore if you have the BBC iPlayer app on your device then you can just mirror it onto the TV screen using Airplay and viola!

Airplay also allows you to play YouTube videos, podcasts, show off your skiing holiday photos and all the other junk you’ve collected on your phone that you want to bore people with. Plus play all your favourite music or listen to a wide range of radio stations.

Airplay can also control playback from your device, so you can pause/stop/rewind etc.

 

So Far So Good!

Now it has to be said that the Apple TV is more expensive than the Chromecast and is more conspicuous too. The Chromecast looks like your average USB Drive and I’m sure the Apple could have done the same with theirs, but if you had all this technology at your fingertips, wouldn’t you want people to know about it? Of course you would – which is why the Apple TV (3rd generation) comes in a rather sleek, shiny black curved box that screams sophistication, class and “I’ve got a better telly system than you have”.

It also comes with a remote control so that you are not totally reliant on operating it with your mobile devices. If you can’t find your phone or it’s run out of battery then you can still operate the Apple TV as a standalone device.

apple-tv-3-md199ba-remote-close-up

Sleek black curves and a slim remote make this media streaming device one sexy mamacita.

 

I Bet There’s an Issue with Buffering Though

Nope. Thanks to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks plus Ethernet, buffering is a thing of the past. Your content, whether you are streaming movies directly from the Apple TV or watching them via your mobile device using Airplay, it is streamed seamlessly onto your TV giving you the best user experience.

Plus Apple is constantly updating their devices which the Apple TV benefits from, so you get a newer and more updated model every time.

 

So No Drawbacks Then?

The only recommendation I would make is that Apple update their services to include UK TV such as BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, ITV Player and 4OD. Ok you can get iPlayer and the ITV Player to work pretty well using Airplay but it is hit and miss for the other Catch Up TV services. Maybe this is an update Apple will bring to the table in the future, but in the meantime Chromecast have beaten them to it and may appeal more to the UK TV fan.

All in all this is a great product that keeps getting better and allows you to get more out of your TV. Your grandfather would be proud!

  • Slim, sleek and light at 23 mm x 98 mm x 98 mm and just 236 grams, this piece of kit fits easily in the palm of your hand.
  • Not just a looker with an Apple single-core A5 chip processor, 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, Ethernet, Wi‑Fi (802.11a/b/g/n) and Bluetooth connectivity for seamless streaming.
  • ‘Tap, Swipe, Play’ – Control your Apple Tv with your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch using the free ‘Remote App‘ via iTunes.
  • And with Airplay (available on all devices running iOS 4.3 or later) you can wirelessy stream what’s on your iOS device and Mac to your HDTV and speakers… or even mirror your display – great for work and play!
  • Guests and clients can even share their content with ‘Peer-to-Peer AirPlay’ without the need of pesky passwords or having to connect to any WiFi networks – simples.
  • But that’s not all. Airplay can turn your iOS device into the ultimate controller with dual screen gaming – ow yes!
  • Apple TV also uses iCloud, so you can watch your stored stuff anywhere on any of your connected devices.
  • While ‘Family Sharing’ allows up to six people to watch any photos, films and TV programmes stored on each other’s iTunes Libraries.
  • Worried about youngsters getting hold of adult content? Not a problem. You can just turn on ‘Ask to Buy’ which requires parental permission before purchasing.
  • Watching TV in High Definition is easy-peasy with HDMI2, optical audio, 10/100BASE‑T Ethernet, built-in IR receiver and micro-USB (for service and support) ports.
  • Able to play up to 1080p (Full HD) using the HDMI2 port (HMDI cable sold separately).

What’s in the Box…

  • Apple TV
  • Apple Remote
  • Power lead
  • Documentation

Apple TV MD199B/A (3rd Generation)
This full-HD set-top box is your superhighway to streaming your favourite TV shows and films. Perfect for those already invested in the Apple way of life, so long as users can do without key UK re-cap channels such as BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, ITV Player and 4OD.
Design91%
Usability / Connectivity87%
Video Quality94%
Apps73%
86%Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
84%