Apple Introduces Smaller Apple TV for $99, w/Streaming Rentals

Apple announced a completely revamped Apple TV device Wednesday at its annual Fall media event. The company unveiled an Apple TV that is roughly a quarter the size of the previous version with a pricetag of just US$99, less than half the price of its predecessor. The device includes a new interface and a newly introduced TV and movie rental service, as leaked stories predicted ahead of today’s event.

“The new Apple TV, paired with the largest selection of online HD movie and TV show rentals, lets users watch Hollywood content on their HD TV whenever they want,” Apple CEO Steve Jobs said in a statement. “This tiny, silent box costing just $99 lets users watch thousands of HD movies and TV shows, and makes all of their music, photos and videos effortlessly available on their home entertainment system.”

The second generation Apple TV includes HDMI and digital audio out, built-in Ethernet and 802.11n wireless networking, and supports Netflix streaming. First run movie rentals cost $4.99, and TV show rentals cost $0.99 each. ABC and Fox are already on board with TV show rentals.

With the addition of the new rental service, Apple TV no longer offers a way to buy TV shows from iTunes directly from the device. You can, however, still buy TV shows and movies through the desktop iTunes app.

In addition to Netflix support, the new Apple TV also offers direct access to YouTube videos, Flickr pics, and MobileMe content. The device also offers access to podcasts and streaming Internet radio stations, and users can still stream content from their local Macs and PCs.

TV show rentals are being launched with shows from ABC, ABC Family, Fox, Disney Channel and BBC America, all for $0.99. A report from the LA Times on Tuesday said that NBC Universal, CBS Corp., and Time Warner were all “digging in their heals in opposition” to the service as they feared it would upset current TV business models.

The Apple TV will ship at the end of September, and is available now for pre-order for $99 from The Apple Store. That price includes a brushed aluminum remote.

Apple TV

Apple TV…Small and Silent

[Update: This article has been updated with additional details and the above image - Edito]