Apple and Microsoft take aim at the TV

After yesterday's pant-wetting iPhone excitement it was easy to miss two other big announcements from the US.Lost amidst the iPhone fury was Apple TV

After yesterday's pant-wetting iPhone excitement it was easy to miss two other big announcements from the US.Lost amidst the iPhone fury was Apple TV (pictured) – renamed from its original iTV moniker. Steve Jobs describes it as a DVD player for the 21st century, just without the DVDs.Rather than downloading its own TV shows or movies Apple TV likes to snack on iTunes content from a PC or Mac. It'll sync wirelessly with your main machine and also stream content from up to five others. A built in 40GB hard drive keeps it topped up with several hours of HD footage, or a few zillion songs and photos.Microsoft's IPTV software takes a more ambitious approach. Already powering the likes of BT's Vision offering, it'll now be popping up on Xbox 360 to compete for attention with Gears of War and Call of Duty 3.Playing more digi box to Apple's DVD player, with live content piped down broadband, the interface demoed at CES is looking pretty damn slick. A simple menu offers movie downloads plus live and recorded TV in both standard and hi-def. You can even multi-task and record TV while notching up a few frags in Xbox Live.So far only America's getting Xbox 360 IPTV. We humbly await a UK announcement some time soon (please).

Essentials

Apple TV, Xbox 360 IPTVPrice: £200, £TBAOn sale: February, TBAContact: Apple, MicrosoftRelated stories:BT Vision is here!