Apple TV does not require Widescreen TV or HDTV, works with standard TVs

Apple Store“Today our Apple TVs have finally arrived and I’ve been testing them out,” Paul Kafasis blogs for Rogue Amoeba.

Kafasis discusses some Apple TV surprises and his impressions:

The AppleTV doesn’t ship with any connection cables

The AppleTV doesn’t require a “Widescreen TV” or an HDTV: Let’s dispense with one myth right now – the AppleTV does not need a widescreen TV. AppleTV does have a 480i mode, which works with standard-def TVs. My guess is that Apple would rather lose a few customers than confuse everyone. Only standard-def TVs made in the past few years will have component inputs, so most of the fifty years worth of standard-def TVs out there still won’t work with the AppleTV. By referring to Widescreen TVs, they may prevent people with standard-def TVs from buying only to find out they need a new TV. But if you’ve purchased a new, non-HDTV in the past few years, the AppleTV will work for you (provided you have component input jacks).

The AppleTV works pretty well with your music library

If iTunes can play it, AppleTV might be able. Or maybe not: Certainly, AppleTV can play any audio or video you purchase from the iTunes Store. However, iTunes uses QuickTime for playback of videos, while AppleTV does not. If you try and sync unsupported video content from iTunes to AppleTV, the files won’t sync over.

Video playback, including streaming, works well

Full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

Related articles:
CBS looks at Apple TV on ‘The Early Show’ (with video) – March 23, 2007
Scoble: ‘Apple TV rocks’ – March 23, 2007
Apple TV hard drive upgrade works – March 23, 2007
Apple TV dissection photos – March 22, 2007
Apple posts Apple TV User’s Guide online – March 22, 2007
Enderle: ‘Apple’s attractive and well packaged Apple TV likely to set the pace’ – March 22, 2007
David Pogue demos Apple TV in humorous NY Times’ video – March 22, 2007
PC Magazine review gives Apple TV 4 out of 5 stars – March 22, 2007
NY Times’ Pogue: ‘Apple TV offers a gracious, elegant, effortless, delightful experience’ – March 21, 2007
Mossberg hands-on with Apple TV: ‘beautiful design, easy-to-use, classic Apple: simple and elegant’ – March 21, 2007


  1. I have been playing with my new Apple TV since 3pm yesterday and I love it. Works as expected. I can see the hooks for future firmware updates to enable direct purchases and other niceties.

    However, there is one complaint I have about it. Audiobooks. The only audiobooks that will play on Apple TV are the audiobooks you buy from the iTunes Store. I buy mine through

    I can play audiobooks from or from the iTunes Store on my iPod and also in iTunes, so why is Apple preventing me from listening to my audiobooks through Apple TV? Enquiring minds want to know.

    I’m a loyal Apple customer since the Apple II days. I have used a Mac since ’84. I’ve converted more PC users to Macs than I can count, but this smacks of Apple strong arming their customers, forcing them to shop in their on-line store. What do you guys think?

    Apple, if this is the result of some kind of contractual conflict, please come forward and tell us so we’ll understand the issue, and more importantly so it doesn’t leave us with a bad taste in our mouths.

  2. Oh well, I doubt there are more than 10 people that will actually buy an Apple TV to listen to audiobooks on it though. I mean seriously, that’s like the lowest listed feature on the totem pole there…

  3. I hooked my aTV to a few thigns to test it out. Save a few annoying oversights in software design i love it. I used it on a 2 4×3 devices (a TV w/ componant and a monitor w/HDMI – DVI) and I while it worked fine, I couldn’t figure out how to unsquish the screen. even in 480P/i it still elongated everything. Anyone know how to fix that?

  4. Reality Check – that does seem to fly in the face of Apple’s “If you can play it on an iPod, you can play it on AppleTV” mantra. That’s odd. My guess is Apple didn’t intentionally prohibit playback. My suggestion is to try exporting a chapter to Audio CD and then reimporting it to iTunes to see if that provides a solution. Yes it could be a pain – depending on how many audiobooks you have.

    Good luck.


  5. That last point is curious. iTunes can handle lots of different QuickTime codecs, but I’d like to think that any media I create using the same MP4/AAC formats as the shows I’ve purchased would work, even though I’d not be incorporating the Fairplay encryption. I’m sure we’ll soon be hearing of someone’s success.

  6. “I’m a loyal Apple customer since the Apple II days. I have used a Mac since ’84. I’ve converted more PC users to Macs than I can count,”

    I wish I had a dollar for everytime I heard someone say something like this.
    Apple doesn’t care about the money you spent with them in 1986.

    They are all about making future money, and apparently they know what theya re doing.

  7. Has anyone tried playing a purchased TV show through AppleTV to see if the closed caption information (which isn’t accessible via iTunes) is carried over to the TV set (which CAN display captions)???

    Just wondering…

  8. OK, now I know my girlfriends’ component inputs will work on her 27″ Sony. I could not for the life of me figure out why Apple claimed it wouldn’t.

    As far as Quicktime, has anyone tried an associate file?

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