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Smaller, cheaper version of Apple TV out

tech reviews Updated: Sep 02, 2010 13:44 IST

Apple Inc announced a smaller, cheaper version of its Apple TV device for streaming movies and television shows over the Internet and into the living room. It also unveiled a new line of iPods, including a touch-screen Nano model.
In pics

The new Apple TV announced on Wednesday will only let people rent, not buy, content. For first-run high-definition movies the day they come out on DVD, people will have to pay $4.99. High-definition TV show rentals will be 99 cents.

The price of the box is also being cut to $99, from $229. Cheaper options for streaming video had been available, including Roku's set-top boxes that start at $60.

Apple TV has been around since 2007, but it hasn't caught on with the mainstream. It doesn't record shows the way TiVo and other digital video recorders do.

"We've sold a lot of them, but it's never been a huge hit," Jobs told hundreds of journalists, bloggers and analysts in San Francisco.

He said the previous Apple TV setup is too complicated for average consumers.

The new Apple TV, which will be available within a month, will give people access to the high-definition version of movies just released on DVD, though he didn't say which movie studios have agreed to include their titles for streaming.

Television episodes from News Corp.'s Fox and The Walt Disney Co.'s ABC will also be available, including such hits as "The Simpsons" and "Glee." Jobs said those were the only two television companies willing to license their shows for streaming so far, but that he hoped others would join once the service gains popularity.

People who watch content from Netflix Inc. streamed over the Internet can also access their "instant" queue through Apple TV.

Earlier, Jobs unveiled an iPod Nano that lacks buttons. Instead, controls for playing, pausing and selecting music are right on the screen. It will cost $149 for the 8 gigabyte version and $179 for 16 gigabytes. Like previous versions, the Nano has a built-in FM tuner and can display photos.

In a refresh to the iPod Touch, Apple is adding video-chat features similar to the newest iPhone. It has a front-facing camera for conducting video chats with other iPod Touch and iPhone users over Wi-Fi using Apple's FaceTime program. A camera on the back can be used for taking snapshots and recording video. Prices range from $229 to $399.

Jobs appeared in a crew neck rather than his trademark mock turtleneck at an event for hundreds of journalists, bloggers and analysts.

There, Jobs also introduced a new iPod Shuffle, the lowest-end music player in Apple's line. Like the past generation, it can speak the names of playlists and songs. But unlike the most recent of the tiny music players, the new $49 device brings back the square shape and buttons of Apple's second-generation Shuffle.