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What is Apple TV?

Don't Be Confused by the Name - AppleTV is Not a Television

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Apple TV
Apple Inc.

It's an honest mistake.  When people hear about Apple TV or Google TV, they picture a big screen television with special features.  While a Google TV needs its own explanation, an Apple TV is a small network media player that can stream both from your home computers and from online.

What is Apple TV?

Apple TV is a small device that uses a cable to connect to your television. It uses wifi to connect to your home network and the internet. Its purpose is to stream media--photos, movies and music--from your computers, the iTunes store, or from other partners like Netflix and Pandora, to enjoy on your television and home theater audio.  

The early Apple TV models had a hard drive that would sync with your computers' iTunes libraries. You could also buy movies from the iTunes store and save them to the Apple TV's hard drive. However, the second generation Apple TV does not have a hard drive so it can only stream media.

The Apple TV can only stream music or movies stored in a computer's iTunes library.  It does not see videos or other music stored in folders on your computers. This is both good news and bad news.  The good news is that Apple TV works seamlessly with Mac computers and PCs running iTunes.  The bad news is that you cannot access movies saved outside an iTunes library. If you are an iTunes or iPhone user, Apple TV might be right for you. If you have a number of computers in your home network, or a network attached storage (NAS) device, you may want to choose another type of network media player.

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