Apple TV 3 impressions: What took so long?

Earlier today Apple debuted the third version of its Apple TV set-top box, which enables higher-definition video playback, a new user interface and some additional integration with the company’s iCloud service.

After downloading the updated software to my existing Apple TV device and imagining the speedier media playback with better picture quality, I’ll admit that the overall device is coming into its own. But most of what’s new about the Apple TV’s new version is purely cosmetic and shouldn’t have taken over a year to see the light of day.

For instance, the ability to watch videos in 1080p is hardly a new concept for set-top boxes. Many competitors — such as the Boxee Box, Roku, Playstation 3, Western Digital WD Live, and Logitech’s Google TV Revue — already offer the high quality video. And since you can purchase 1080p HD movies and TV shows from the iTunes store, Apple fans were increasingly annoyed that those purchases weren’t available (in 1080p) on the Apple TV. It’s also worth noting that it was discovered in September 2010 that you can play 1080p quality videos on Apple TV, but the output resolution remains 720. That said, this seems like a minor upgrade.

Read the complete article at VentureBeat.