The new Apple TV: What they aren’t telling you

Since 2010, when the 2nd generation Apple TV was announced, many have speculated about Apple releasing a game changing TV that would have Siri integration and change the TV industry forever. At yesterday’s Apple event, that revolutionary TV, of course, was not released. Apple did tell us that the new box can stream 1080p and has a new interface. While that seems great on the outside, is it all it is cracked up to be on the inside?

The first thing that was not very clear at the time of the announcement was what made it be able to do 1080p. Once the Apple TV spec sheet was released it shows that the only major change in specs is a new single-core A5 processor. The previous version had an A4 processor and the only jump in specs was a single-core A5 chip unlike the dual-core A5 chip that is in the iPhone 4S and iPad 2. Maybe streaming only needs one core but this shakes my hope for high end  games running directly from the Apple TV with a future software update.

On the Apple TV page we see these two statements about what the Apple TV can do. One question I had was whether the new iPad would AirPlay to the Apple TV at 1080p resolution. Here we see it states the Apple TV can do HD at 1080p right next to a statement about AirPlay, with a iPad mirroring to the TV. To me this implied it did mirror 1080p, after some digging this is what I found.

At the bottom of the iPad spec sheet under TV and Video it states:

  • AirPlay Mirroring to Apple TV (2nd and 3rd generation) at 720p
  • AirPlay video streaming to Apple TV (3rd generation) at up to 1080p and Apple TV (2nd generation) at up to 720p
  • Video mirroring and video out support: Up to 1080p with Apple Digital AV Adapter or Apple VGA Adapter (adapters sold separately)

While the new iPad will stream 1080p video to your new Apple TV, it will not mirror at that resolution. If you want the best mirroring quality it looks like you are going to need to buy an extra cable. Would’ve adding the A5X chip in the new Apple TV been able to handle 1080p mirroring? The question may not be answered till we can ask the all mighty Siri TV, whenever she finally arrives.

Image Source: Apple

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