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Wednesday, September 01, 2010, 02:50 pm PT (05:50 pm ET)

New Apple TV runs same custom A4 processor as iPhone 4, iPad

The new, smaller Apple TV announced Wednesday will stream 720p HD video thanks to the same custom-built ARM A4 processor found inside the iPhone 4, iPad and the new iPod touch.

On the technical specifications page for the new Apple TV, the company prominently advertises that the new $99 device features the A4 processor. Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs also noted during his keynote Wednesday that the fourth-generation iPod touch has also gained the A4, but that feature is not listed on the product's tech specs page.

The previous generation Apple TV was based on an Intel processor and included a 160GB hard drive.

The A4 processor first appeared earlier this year in the iPad. The creation of it was made possible through the purchases of chipmakers Intrinsity and PA Semi.

Its inclusion in the new Apple TV makes it the first A4-powered device that does not have access to the App Store.

Prior to its announcement, there were rumors that Apple would run the its iOS operating system and make the App Store available for the new iTV. While the software behind the new Apple TV was not detailed, the company made no mention of iOS or the App Store in Wednesday's presentation.

The new Apple TV will offer compatibility with iOS devices, however, which can be used as a remote control for the set top box and will also be able to stream photos and videos to a user's HDTV over Wi-Fi.

Apple TV A4


In addition to an A4 processor, the new Apple TV also includes HDMI for 720p high definition video out with 5.1 sound. It also has separate optical audio for compatibility with receivers that do not accept 5.1 over HDMI.

The device also has an Ethernet port and 802.11B/G/N Wi-Fi for streaming. Because the cloud-centric device has no available internal storage, it is intended for renting and streaming content.

iPod touch


The new Apple TV also has a built-in infrared receiver that works with the aluminum remote control that ships with the product. And the device has a micro-USB port that is intended for service and support.

Apple said the device, which ships later this month, will be compatible with three highlighted video formats:

  • H.264 video up to 720p, 30 frames per second, Main Profile level 3.1 with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video, up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 frames per second, Simple Profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • Motion JPEG (M-JPEG) up to 35 Mbps, 1280 by 720 pixels, 30 frames per second, audio in ulaw, PCM stereo audio in .avi file format

It is also compatible with a variety of audio formats: HE-AAC (V1), AAC (16 to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (16 to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Audible (formats 2, 3, and 4), Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound pass-through. Finally, it supports photos that are JPEG, GIF and TIFF.