The precursor to Apple TV: Apple Interactive Television Box

If Apple TV is Steve Jobs’ « hobby », it was nevertheless he who canceled its precursor upon his return in the nineties. Indeed, Apple had tested a set-top box with Belgacom (in Belgium) and a few other operators, including Verizon. The philosophy of the box was the same as that of the first-generation Apple TV: a complete Mac hidden in a box, while the current Apple TV is more like an iPod touch.

As the manual is still available on Apple’s website, we know that the box had S-Video and composite outputs, SCART (in Europe), RJ45 (not Ethernet), antenna inputs, and even SCSI. In addition to the remote control, you could connect an ADB mouse and even a CD-ROM drive (via SCSI).

The American version

The remote control was already universal, and the device could play MPEG-1 video. MPEG-1 was used in Video-CDs: 320 x 240 at 1.15 megabits/s with MPEG-1 Layer 2 (MP2) audio. In essence, it was on par with VHS quality.

According to Wikipedia, the device was based on the Quadra 605: Motorola 68LC040 at 25 MHz, 4 MB of RAM, SCSI hard drive. All of this ran on a derivative of System 7.