Apple has announced the third generation Apple TV at an event in San Francisco. The Apple TV 3 will go on sale Friday 16 March for £99.

It is the first Apple TV to support full 1080p HD, with support from iTunes movies, TV shows, Netflix, Vimeo and photos now working  in high definition.

“People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.”

It also completely new interface designed to make it easier to search and play content.

The new interface is more icon-based, and is at 1080p resolution so the icons and thumbnails look much sharper. It'll be available from next week.

Here is the official Apple press release:

SAN FRANCISCO—March 7, 2012—Apple today announced the new Apple TV featuring 1080p programming including iTunes movies and TV shows, Netflix, Vimeo, photos and more in HD. With iTunes in the Cloud, customers can purchase and play their favourite movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store and watch them instantly on their HD TV. The new Apple TV features a simpler, refined user interface making it easier than ever to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music with iTunes Match right from iCloud. With AirPlay, users can stream or mirror their favourite content from their iPad or iPhone 4S to Apple TV. 

“People are going to love streaming movies and TV shows in 1080p with the new Apple TV, and photos look beautiful displayed at the maximum resolution of your TV,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. “Apple TV is easier than ever to use with its new icon-based interface and the ability to access your purchased movies, TV shows and music right from iCloud.”

Apple TV users can choose from an incredible selection of programming including over 15,000 movies and over 90,000 TV episodes on the iTunes Store. Apple TV also offers great content from Netflix’s streaming catalogue, live sports from MLB, NBA and NHL as well as Internet content from Vimeo, YouTube and Flickr.* 

With iCloud, you can buy movies and TV shows on Apple TV and watch them on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC. iCloud also stores photos and pushes them wirelessly to all your devices including your HD TV via Apple TV. iCloud provides an incredibly easy way to get instant access to all of your content, no matter which device is being used.  

iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can use AirPlay to stream music, photos and videos from their devices directly to their HD TV with Apple TV. iPhone 4S or iPad users can use AirPlay Mirroring to show the screen of their device right on their HD TV, allowing them to stream web pages, spreadsheets or even games.** 

Apple TV makes it easy to enjoy iTunes video, music and photo libraries from your computer right on your HD TV—and with iCloud you can instantly enjoy content that was purchased on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch as well. iTunes Match customers can now play their entire music library from iCloud—even songs they’ve imported from CDs. Users can also control Apple TV with their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch using the Remote app, available as a free download on the App Store (www.itunes.com/appstore).

Pricing & Availability 

Apple TV will be available on Friday, March 16 for a suggested retail price of £99 including VAT, through the Apple online store, Apple’s retail stores and Apple Authorised Resellers. Apple TV requires iTunes 10.5 or later. Apple TV requires an 802.11g/n Wi-Fi network or Ethernet network, a broadband Internet connection and a HD TV capable of 1080p or 720p and an HDMI cable that is sold separately. iTunes movie and TV show availability varies by country. Second generation Apple TV users can install the new Apple TV user interface via a free software update, available today. Third generation Apple TV hardware is required to play 1080p video.

*Content availability varies by country and may require account subscriptions.

**AirPlay requires an iOS device running iOS 4.2 or later. AirPlay Mirroring not supported on original iPad.