After a slight delay, Apple Inc. said Wednesday it is now shipping Apple TV, a set-top box that can wirelessly stream or download iTunes videos, podcasts and music from a computer to a television.
The slim, square gadget, which has a suggested retail price of $299, was previously promised to arrive by the end of February. Apple would not explain the uncharacteristic delay and said only that the launch took a few weeks longer than expected.
The latest electronics product from Apple is anticipated to be highly competitive in the growing crop of offerings that deliver Internet-based videos to the television.
Phil Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide product marketing, touted it as a "DVD player for the Internet age."
But Apple TV has some limitations. It works only with television sets that accept newer component or HDMI cables. This precludes many older standard-definition TV sets.
Apple TV lets users access digital photos and homemade videos from their computers. It can also access movie trailers from the Internet. But it can't access YouTube, the most popular Internet video site, or use any of a bevy of competing online video offerings.
And though it sports a 40-gigabyte hard drive, Apple TV does not record live broadcast television.
Still, some analysts are projecting the set-top box will only boost the Cupertino-based company's growing fortunes.
Shares of Apple gained $2.39, or 2.6 percent, to close at $93.87 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.