Apple TV: The Appreciating Set Top Box

Beginning in 2007, Apple made its way to the living room through a small set top box, the Apple TV. This device allows users to stream content from the internet onto their televisions, from sources such as the iTunes store, Netflix, and Hulu.

Since the first generation in 2007, there have been two updates. The 2nd generation Apple TV was released in September of 2010, coming with a hardware redesign and several other feature enhancements.

With an identical exterior look, the 3rd generation box came out in March of 2012. Although this update brought us enhanced internals and higher quality video output (full HD), the most important difference between the 2nd and 3rd generation is the ability (or lack thereof) to jailbreak the device.

“Jailbreaking” or “rooting” the Apple TV is a relatively simple process that involves downloading a third party piece of software and installing it on your Apple TV via iTunes. It allows for further customization of screens and menus and opens up additional sources of content.

With the incredible pace of innovation, it is very rare that we will see electronics appreciate in value, but the 2nd generation has done just that. Originally retailing for $99, the 2nd generation device has become more valuable over time. This is because its replacement, the 3rd generation, includes updates from Apple that prohibit an easy jailbreak.

The 3rd generation device has followed a typical depreciation curve, currently being sold used on eBay for $77 ($22 less than the new retail price). A used 2nd generation Apple TV sells for over $170* – a 70% premium to the original price!

Which model do you have? If you own on a 2nd generation Apple TV, it could be one of the few opportunities you’ll have to sell an older model, buy the latest, while making money.

(Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)