Apple TV 'Take Two' update now available

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Apple TV users take note: Your Apple TV's software update is now available. If you check Software Update from the Settings menu on your Apple TV, the new software should be available for download and installation.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs talked about "Apple TV Take Two" at Macworld Expo in San Francisco, Calif. in January. The major upgrade to the software that controls Apple's TV convergence device offers a host of new features, such as the ability to purchase and download video and music directly from iTunes instead of having to use a Mac or PC first.

Apple TV now supports movie rentals through the iTunes Store, a new service also introduced last month that enables iTunes users to download movies and watch them (once, in a 24 hour period once they first start watching) for $2.99 - $4.99 depending on the video quality and how recent the movie was released.

Also new in this release is access to photostreams hosted on the popular photo blogging service Flickr, as well as photostreams hosted as .Mac Web Galleries (which can be produced using iPhoto '08 or Aperture 2).

The new features are being offered as a free upgrade to existing Apple TV users, and are also being included with new Apple TV units, which are retailing for $70 less than they were a few weeks ago -- $229 for the 40GB model and $329 for a 160GB version.

This update ends speculation about when it would be released. Jobs indicated the update would be available in February, and on January 30th, Apple announced it would be "another week or two" for Apple TV's new software, as a sidebar to announcing the slim MacBook Air laptop was now shipping.

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