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Apple TV 3 confirmed to feature 1080p Full HD support

Apple's high-definition third-generation iPad, which contrary to rumour is called neither the iPad 3 nor the iPad HD, wasn't the company's only launch last night: a third-generation of the Apple TV set-top box was also announced, finally bringing Full HD 1080p playback to the platform.

While not the all-in-one smart TV set that pundits have been predicting, Apple's upgraded Apple TV is welcome news nevertheless. Featuring an HDMI output, the new Apple TV is capable of driving an external display at resolutions of 480p, 720p and 1080p for Full HD content. Previous versions had been limited to 720p.

Having the ability to output high-definition video is one thing, but you need the content in the first place. Accordingly, Apple has confirmed that it's upgrading the video content available in the iTunes Store to 1080p Full HD resolution, allowing users to buy and rent films and TV shows that will be driving their HDTVs to best effect. Content made available via iTunes will be 1080p at an 8Mb/s data rate, the company confirmed.

Additionally, the iCloud storage service is now fully integrated into the device allowing purchased content to be accessed on any iCloud-compatible device - including the new iPad 3, which has a screen high-resolution enough to do the new content justice.

"People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV", claimed Apple's vice president of marketing Phillip Schiller at the launch event last night. "Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud."

The revised Apple TV 3 set-top boxes are due to go on sale next Friday, for the same £99 as its predecessor.

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