Hands on: Apple TV software update and new UI

The next-gen Apple TV isn’t alone in getting the new button-centric UI; older Apple TV models (iOS-based, not the really old OS X Apple TVs) got the new look as part of an update today, bringing the devices to system software version 5.0.

It would be nice if the iOS versions on iPhone and on Apple TV matched up, but what can you do?

As usual, the Apple TV update process is smooth and simple — if your Apple TV hasn’t notified you of the update yet, just go to the Settings menu, to General, and choose Update Software. The download will take a few minutes and your Apple TV will reboot.

The new look brings all the Apple TV ‘channels’ to badges on the main screen, letting you use the remote to navigate downward and expose the rest of the options. Both Movies and TV Shows now have an auto-rotating carousel at the top of their interfaces, letting you see a selection of top purchase choices. Most of the other channels, like Trailers and the sports services, don’t appear to have gotten any facelift.

If you’re looking to upgrade your hardware and not just your software, the 1080p version of the Apple TV is available for preorder today.

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