Several readers and a staffer of Macworld say they received notification from Apple on Tuesday that the Apple TV is now shipping. While delivery times vary, most units are expected to be delivered by the end of the week.
First introduced during Macworld Expo in January, Apple TV bridges the gap between the computer and the home entertainment system. The device has connections for USB 2, Ethernet, HDMI, component video and optical audio connections. It also supports three popular 802.11 wireless standards -- 802.11b, 802.11g and 802.11n -- allowing users to wirelessly stream content from Macs or PCs running iTunes 7 to a TV.
Apple TV connects to a TV via an HDMI port or component video and audio ports. Its wireless capability automatically syncs an iTunes library to any Mac or PC in the house. Any changes made to the iTunes library are automatically reflected on Apple TV. It also can access and control music and photo libraries from up to five computers.
While the iPhone has received most of the industry attention since it was unveiled, some research analysts believe the Apple TV will be an even bigger success .
"Long term, strategically, Apple TV as a revenue-generating platform is much bigger than iPhone," says Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband and IPTV for Infonetics Research. "It's a US$300 device that multimillions of people will put in their homes versus a $500 device [an iPhone] in a market that's saturated with BlackBerries and similar things."