Apple Inc. said Wednesday it will soon introduce the ability for Apple TV users to access the popular YouTube service on their living room televisions through its video-streaming set-top-box.
Beginning in mid-June, users of the Apple TV device will be able to wirelessly stream videos directly from YouTube. The feature will help address what some observers have said was a shortcoming of Apple TV.
The slim, book-sized device streams movies and songs stored in the user's iTunes personal library but can't directly access Internet-based videos.
With the impending Apple TV feature, which will be available as a free software update, members of Google Inc.'s YouTube will be able to log on to their YouTube accounts right from their televisions.
"This is the first time users can easily browse, find and watch YouTube videos right from their living room couch, and it's really, really fun," said Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive. "YouTube is a worldwide sensation, and Apple TV is bringing it directly from the Internet onto the widescreen TV."
Thousands of the most popular and current videos on YouTube will be available at launch and more will be added each week until the full YouTube catalog is accessible on Apple TV this fall, Apple said.
Apple also said it will begin offering on Thursday a beefier model of Apple TV, quadrupling its maximum storage capacity with a 160-gigabyte hard drive. Its price will be $399.
Shares of Apple closed at $118.77, up $4.42, or nearly 4 percent, and gained another 28 cents in extended trading.
Earlier in the day, Apple started selling, as expected, some songs without copy protection software on its iTunes Store — a move that some analysts predict will be a model for future online music sales.