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Apple TV boosted to Full HD, Netflix, Airplay and iCloud

Apple’s £99 video streamer has been upgraded to support Full HD video, wireless streaming, Netflix and given access to iTunes in the cloud.

The third generation Apple TV still doesn’t come with an HDMI cable to connect to your TV, but it does have a new icon-based interface similar to the iPad.

Apple TV 2012

Apple fans had been hoping for a new TV with a version of iOS built-in, but instead got an upgrade of the tiny set-top box media streamer.

It’s now powered by the A5 processor used in the iPhone 4S, and supports Full HD video playback at 1080p with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.

Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said: “People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV.

“Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.”

You’ll need decent broadband to stream 1080p because there’s no storage on board, or you can stream from a PC, Mac, iPad or iPhone on your local network via Airplay.

There’s also support for Airplay mirroring, so you can play games from your iPhone 4S or iPad on the big screen, or show anything else that’s on your device’s screen.

If you’re away from an iTunes device, Apple TV can now access your iTunes library if you’ve synchronised it online with iCloud with an iTunes Match subscription.

This also gives you Photostream, which shows your 1,000 most-recent photo uploads on all your Apple devices.

As well as your iTunes and photos, videos or music on home storage, Apple TV now has access to streaming film and TV from Netflix, video clips on YouTube and Vimeo, Flickr online photo-sharing, the Wall Street Journal, and that must-have for the UK market, Major League Baseball TV.

If you’ve got a second-generation Apple TV, you can upgrade to the new interface but you won’t be able to play 1080p videos.

The new Apple TV supports Wi-Fi 802.11a, b, g or n wireless networks (wireless video streaming requires 802.11a, g or n) or 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network.

There’s an HDMI output (cable not supplied), optical digital audio out, and the tiny three-button Apple remote control. The box measures 98mm square and 23mm high.