Gizmodo reviews Apple TV 2.0: ‘Essential part of any iTunes user’s living room arsenal’

Apple TV 2.0 is “everything Apple TV should have been when it launched, complete with audio and video podcasts, Flickr and .Mac integration and—most importantly—movie rentals without a computer. At $229, it’s an essential part of any iTunes user’s living room arsenal,” Jason Chen reports for Gizmodo.

MacDailyNews Take: Blame the studios for how Apple TV worked when it was launched. Jobs can charitably take the blame and can claim in public to have learned from his “mistakes,” but behind-the-scenes, we bet this is what he was trying to make Apple TV all along. It just took a year — during which Wal-Mart would fail with their horrible online effort — for Hollywood to finally decide to jump.

Chen continues, “The New UI: Gone is the right side text, left side image menu system of the first-gen Apple TV. It’s now a two-column affair, with the major categories on the left and subcategories for the selected entry on the right. It may not be quite intuitive at first, but you’ll get the hang of it in about 30 seconds. Simple and easy to use is the name of the game in the end.”

“Movies: This is going to be the core of your Apple TV experience. Browsing for movies is a fairly easy task, with a Top Movies section listing the most popular movies available right now, along with a genre browser and a search function,” Chen reports.

“People can plop down an Apple TV into their homes and rent movies, listen to iTunes music, sync up with their grandchildren’s Flickr or .Mac streams, or just waste an hour surfing YouTube,” Chen writes. “The only question you have to ask yourself to justify this purchase is whether or not you have faith in Apple to back up their fancy piece of hardware with content—both on the Movie and TV side—in order to provide you something to watch for years to come. It may take a while, and things might not go entirely smoothly (see NBC’s iTunes departure for example) but I think they’ll get there. And for the new, lowered price of $229, it’s not even an expensive gamble.”

Much more, including screenshots, in the full review here.


  1. Better late than never…I’ve had my Apple TV since the day it was released. Living in Europe, I am in a special situation. New US television shows aren’t as readily available to me. iTunes changed that situation and Apple TV improved it by allowing me to move from my laptop to my TV. Now with iTunes movie rentals I feel that much more at home.

    The additional features are also a bonus. Admittedly I haven’t played with everything…just upgraded yesterday. However, I already like what I’ve seen and used. Thanks Apple!

  2. “Will there be movies on Canada iTunes store to make the gadget worthwhile?”


    The question is “when”. Movies rental is supposed to be available outside the US later in ’08. I mean, according to what was said at Macworld.

  3. I am a huge fan of the tv, but one thing I do not like w/the new update is that they put more emphasis on purchasing new content and much less emphasis on quick access to the content you already own. Wish there was a setting to put the “My Music”, “My Podcast”, etc. at the top of the list instead of at the bottom.

  4. ATV is done right, and Apple gets it, as SJ said during MacWorld. Easy access to all my media and Airtunes built in. To gripe about the location of your media at the bottom is just plain silly. More like TROLLS infecting MD again.

    Rent 300 in HD in its full DD 5.1 glory and you will not want to watch standard DVDs again. I have 7.2 system ( 2 subs ) and with the audio rocking the house along with the stunning image on my 42 Sony HDTV, I will be renting all my HD through ATV.

  5. Of course it is everything it should have been when it was first released! It has taken this long for the studios to wake up to the fact the AppleTV and future versions of it are the future.

    The only reason you have to wait 30 days to get the new films is because the studio forked themselves with the Blu-ray?HDDVD pointless battle.

  6. The studios’ greed (i.e. extraordinarily high prices for movie rentals + horribly restricted viewing requirements) will come back to bite them on this one because consumers are not going to flock to this.

    The greedy studios are looking out for their own interests, instead of letting Steve Jobs do what Steve Jobs does best: looking out for the desires of consumers, looking out for the little guy.

    Until the movie studios wrap their heads around the fact that consumers want low prices & flexibility, I’m sticking with Netflix — which gives me exactly that: low prices & supreme flexibility.

  7. @Jubel

    I am curious to know if this forum is a place for you to praise Apple TV or a place to show off the theatre equipment you have.

    I think most people with Apple TV would have a Theatre of some kind. It is too bad most of them would be so small. Apple TV is much more enjoyable on screen sizes over 92″.

  8. One of the new cool features with Apple TV is it’s AirTunes enabled. So, it works like AirTunes on Airport Express. It’ll be really cool for parties. I can now move my Airport Express plugged into my Per Amp to another location in the house.

  9. Television will NEVER be the same again.
    The revolution WILL be televised.
    We ARE the revolution.

    From the gorgeous HD movie rentals, to the pristine HD pod casts, to the Apple TV becoming more of the center of your digital entertainment universe, this IS the future, now.

  10. To MacBill:

    Netflix gives you supreme flexibility??? That is a very loose (liberal) definition of flexibility. Low price??? That would mean trading in one for the other (it’s either flexibility, or low price, but not both).

    Let’s elaborate. AppleTV: You come home. It’s raining. You want to watch a movie. You’re in the mood for a romantic comedy. You turn on AppleTV, find what you like, start the download; go change into something comfortable, put some popcorn into microwave; by the time you’re ready, your movie is ready for watching.

    NetFlix: You come home. It’s raining. You’re in the mood for that romantic comedy; however, the only NetFlix flicks you have at home are “Terminator 3” and “The Lord of the Rings 2”. What options do you have? You could drive to BlockBuster… (in this rain? No way!). Watch one of those NetFlix ones, so that you can ship your DVDs back, so that you could get your next ones (one of which is “Failure to Launch” – a romantic comedy that would have been perfect for tonight), or hold onto them until you’re in the mood? But if you hold, it makes it more expensive (monthly subscription stays the same, and number of DVDs you see for that money goes down).

    You may certainly have good arguments for NetFlix (I can’t think of any at the moment); flexibility an price ain’t it, though.

  11. I installed the update last night. My opinion is mostly favorable, but I echo the sentiments of those who do not like the new menu structure. With the new dual column menus, it is much more difficult now to find my content as opposed to iTunes content.

    I had taught my 4 year old (not yet reading) how to navigate and choose movies on AppleTV 1.0. He could easily distinguish among movies, music, etc. To me, this is evidence of the brilliance of the UI design. A 4 year old could operate it using the Apple remote.

    With 2.0, I need to help him find “My Movies” on the second column.

    It’s a nitpick, but it is definitely more complicated now.

  12. @anthony007 Asks: I am puzzled by this: How does it work without a computer??

    Apple TV can now work as a stand alone device without a computer because you can use it to order music, TV shows and movies directly from your Apple TV without the use of a computer. Of course you do need to have a WiFi connection for Apple TV to connect to the Internet.

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