Apple TV is a special product, released by Apple, on the date of September 12, 2006 , at a press conference in San Francisco, California. Since then, it received the attention of millions of consumers all over the world .

It is one of the most used DMR (digital media receiver) Â and it helps, among the years, lots of people to connect to Apple’s networks and retrieve digital media files like photos, music or movies. The operating system was upgraded at 3.0 version at the end of October (2009) and improved the streaming of Internet radio and the integrated iTunes. Also, the upgraded was made for a perfect adaptation to wide-screen displays, so popular this days.

To connect the Apple TV receiver  you need some video equipment, like a television who can support the HDMI, a special interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. Also, as this product donesn’t come with a special connecting cable, except the power one, this can be a problem for who don’t know anything about the connections between two devices.

The Apple Tv device connects to the Internet trough a LAN ( Local Area Connections) Â or wireless, using the wireless integrated protocols.

One of the important features of Apple Tv is that  it has an integrated Youtube  and can receive a direct streaming from this site, without the use of a login account, but still benefiting about the most useful tools of it, like Favorites and personalized options.

After a special update to its system, Apple Tv doesn’t need, anymore, a special computer with iTunes running on background, but still, users can see , browse , and save podcasts from this on-line store.

The user can log into a Flickr account or into a MobileMe one, and browse different or personal photos, in a slide show or one by one. Also, they can add effects like automatic cross dissolve or an additional one, named Ken Burns Effect, which is a type of pan- and- scan effect , almost like the Hitchcock Zoom.

Another important feature of the Apple TV is the ability to stream the music, using the AirTunes, to an AirPort Express or another Apple TV, across to another 10 wireless devices. It has an infrared remote control which is using an USB port , but the volume buttons can not control AirTunes. However, the volume can be controlled directly from the iTunes.

As the synchronization and  the streaming modes are integrated, the Apple TV device can be connected to a computer, so the Internet streaming radio or another benefits can be used on it. Anyway, it will work properly even if you don’t have a local network or a computer.

Because of the ability to copy the content of iTunes on its own hard-disk and library, the stream of the files all over the network and the browse of photos, Â we can’t help to see the similarity between it and the iPod device. Â Actually, they even works similar, the main process been using almost the same technology.

The Front Row software, used as an interface for Apple Tv, is special designed for download of media files like music, photos and movies from another optical disk or computer and it is used also on the shipping MACs. It suffered, since 2005, when it was released, 2 major upgrades and now it is almost on the same idea as Windows Media Center.

The Apple Tv content it is organized in six groups, trying to satisfy the user’s biggest needs : Youtube, Podcast, Movies, Photos, TV Shows and , of course, Music. Also, it contains and a Settings button for personal configurations, which leads to another submenu, that can be navigated with an up and down buttons and selected with the play one. Two important functions, like forward or backward can be realized with the left and right buttons. With them you can, also, use the function of next and previous when you selected the audio- only content. These buttons make Apple TV a simple and intuitive, friendly device.

The Apple TV has only 1.09 kg and 197 × 197 × 28 mm dimensions. It supports digital optical audio and an RCA stereo one. Dispose of a 160 gigabytes hard drive and a memory of a 256 MB DDR2  of 400 MHZ.  Also it has one of the best processors from this category , an Intel Pentium M 1.0 GHz “Crofton”  and a NVidia GeForce 7300 graphic card.

Unfortunately it doesn’t connect to Rhapsody or Amazon, LastFm or Shoutcast, or some other video services and this attract a lot of bad critics on it. Anyway it is a good and useful devices and an important option to replace a Mac Mini.