San Francisco -
said Wednesday that it is bringing FullHD 1080p resolution to its Apple TV streaming set-top box.
The device, which will hit shelves March 16 at a $99 suggested retail, will now be able play 1080p movie and TV programming from services when such content is available. Streaming service carriers available through the device include iTunes, Netflix and Vimeo.
Apple is distributing the device through the Apple online store, Apple's retail stores and Apple authorized resellers.
With iTunes in the Cloud, customers can purchase and play their favorite movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store and watch them instantly on their HD TV.
Apple said the new iteration of the Apple TV device features an updated user interface that makes it easier to access purchased movies, TV shows and music with iTunes Match from iCloud.
With AirPlay, users can stream or mirror content from an iPad or iPhone 4S to Apple TV.
"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," stated Philip Schiller, Apple worldwide marketing senior VP. "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."
iCloud enables purchasing movies and TV shows on Apple TV for playback through the set-top device or on an iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC.
iCloud also stores photos and pushes them wirelessly to networked devices via Apple TV.
iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users can use AirPlay to stream music, photos and videos from their devices directly to their HDTV with Apple TV.
iPhone 4S or iPad users can use AirPlay Mirroring to show the screen of their device right on their HD TV, allowing them to stream web pages, spreadsheets or even games.
Apple TV requires iTunes 10.5 or later, and an 802.11g/n Wi-Fi network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and an HD TV capable of 1080p or 720p and an HDMI cable that is sold separately.
Second-generation Apple TV users will be able to update to the new Apple TV user interface via a free download, beginning immediately, but 1080p HD video playback will only be possible on the third-generation hardware.