Apple yesterday released upgraded Apple TVs with spacious 160GB hard drives. The new beefier Apple TVs retail for US$399 versus US$299 for the anemic 40GB versions - a 300 percent increase of capacity for 33 percent more money.
Buyers of the original Apple TV are probably felling pretty burned right now though because the new model was released a scant 71 days after the original Apple TV began shipping (141 days since it was announced at Macworld Expo in San Francisco). This has to be one of the shortest upgrade cycles in Apple history.
Apple Inc. also announced that Apple TV would add support for watching and searching YouTube videos beginning mid-June.
Thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos will be available on Apple TV at launch in mid-June, with YouTube adding thousands more each week until the full YouTube catalog is available this fall.
The bigger takeaway from the YouTube announcement is that YouTube will be re-encoding all their videos in H.264 format (as opposed to Adobe's Flash) - the format popularized by the videos on the Apple Store. Apple began selling H.264-encoded videos through their iTunes Music Store in October 2005, initially selling television series and music videos. In September 2006 they expanded to sell feature films.
Although the larger hard drive and upcoming YouTube support are steps in the right direction, Apple TV will continue to be stagnant until the iTunes Store and YouTube begin offering content in higher resolution, high-definition (HD) formats.
40 and 160GB Apple TVs are available now from the Apple store.