After weeks of seeing the Apple TV slowly disappear from retail shelves, Apple announced the third generation of its “hobby” device today during the live press event.

The new Apple TV is externally identical to its predecessor, but the big new feature is its support for full 1080p video playback.

The device has a redesigned user interface with special emphasis on Photo Stream and Movie content, all of which are available in full HD and use Apple’s cloud services to get them on the device.

There’s no official word yet on what processor is running all this, but it’s a safe bet it’s an A5 chip or later. Apple TV will be available on March 16 for US$99, but pre-orders start today.

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