Apple bringing YouTube to Apple TV

Apple CEO Steve Jobs on Wednesday said the company is bringing the Google-owned YouTube video service to Apple TV. A free software update will be available in mid-June, which will enable the service.

YouTube will be offered as an item in the Apple TV main menu. Using the Apple Remote users can browse, find and watch free videos from YouTube. Apple said that thousands of the most current and popular YouTube videos will be available on Apple TV at launch in mid-June, with YouTube adding thousands more each week until the full YouTube catalog is available this fall.

It will take a while to have the full YouTube catalog available because the service is converting all of its content using the Apple supported H.264 video codec, explained David Moody, Apple’s vice president, Mac Hardware, Product Marketing. Any video uploaded in June will automatically be encoded using H.264.

While Apple TV will have search functionality for YouTube, the company would not comment on whether that feature would be available for other media on the device.

Users will be able to navigate through YouTube’s categories and members can also log-in to their YouTube accounts on Apple TV.

In addition to YouTube support, Apple is offering a new build-to-order option for Apple TV. The new configuration adds a 160GB hard drive — four times the current storage for up to 200 hours of video, 36,000 songs, 25,000 photos or a combination of each.

Apple TV costs $299 or $399 for the 160GB model.

Update : Added more information from interview with Apple executives.

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