Gadgets: Apple TV

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

When it comes to Apple products, you have to admit one thing - they work really well.

Apple is so rigid in the formats and apps they accept for their iPhones, iPods and iPads that everything hooks up easily and seems to work flawlessly.

And so it goes with the all-new, recently released Apple TV ($99 at or the Apple Store). It took less than 15 minutes to hook up, and everything worked without a hitch.

Apple TV is designed to stream music, videos, photos and podcasts from your computer to your HDTV. Connected to the internet wirelessly (or via a wire, if you prefer), Apple TV can also import Netflix, YouTube, Flickr and all manner of internet radio stations and podcasts directly to your HDTV.

Add movie rentals ($4 and up) and TV shows (typically 99 cents per episode, but only from FOX and ABC networks) from the iTunes store, and this hockey puck-like device packs enough entertainment that it could tempt you to cut back to basic cable.

I watched media streaming from Netflix, the iTunes store and my home computer on my Samsung HDTV, and the quality was every bit of what I'm used to seeing on my HDTV from other sources. Apple TV comes with a remote, but a free app on my iPhone and iPad worked even better.

Fill space with sound

For years, I've looked for a speaker I could take on trips and use to fill a hotel room with sound from my MP3 player or portable radio. The Cellet UFO Flat Panel Digital Audio Speaker ($78 at fills that bill. It operates via Bluetooth, so the only wire needed is the USB cord that recharges the unit (after a four-hour charge, expect the speaker to work for as long as half a day). This spaceship-like unit, which comes in black, white or red, easily fits in the palm of your hand and takes up no more room on a table than a coaster.

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail