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Happy 5th birthday, Apple TV

Get out the cake and candles, it's birthday time! Five years ago today, Apple introduced the pre-cursor to the Apple TV. Code-named the iTV, the home entertainment device was "the last thing" presented during Apple's "Its Showtime" press event held in San Francisco on September 12th, 2006.

The iTV was introduced as a smaller Mac Mini that works with the Apple Remote. It ran modified OS X software with an interface that resembled a souped-up version of Front Row. It also included a USB port, 802.11B connectivity, component video, HDMI output and optical audio. Just like the current model, it was advertised as a device to watch media pulled from your computer and iTunes account.

Renamed the Apple TV for its launch, the first generation device hit retail shelves on March 2007 and received a lukewarm reception. The second generation model was introduced four years later at Apple's fall event on September 1, 2010. Still not a flagship product, Steve Jobs called the device a "hobby".

Though a hobby, the new Apple TV has some notable improvements, including a significantly smaller form factor and iOS which enabled features like AirPlay streaming. Sales of the AppleTV still pale in comparison to the iPhone and iPad, but the addition of other services like Netflix and the increased interest in video streaming bode well for the future of this device.

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