Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) joined the growing number of consumer electronics manufacturer's connecting the home television to the personal computer today, making its Apple TV set-top box available to consumers for the first time.

The new device can stream content from computers linked to a home wireless or cabled network, bringing movies, pictures, and other digital content to the living room. The unit also features its own 40G-byte hard drive to store content.

Apple TV is like a DVD player for the Internet age—providing an easy and fun way to play all your favorite iTunes content from your PC or Mac on your widescreen TV, said Philip Schiller, an Apple senior vice president.

Cupertino Calif.-based Apple said the device will connect to the company's iTunes online media store, allowing users to search and purchase videos, music, ebooks and other content from their living rooms.

AppleTV is an ideal conduit for multiple services including DVR, paid-for content, gaming or advertising, according to Jonathan Hoopes, research analyst at ThinkEquity Partners.

The device, he says, could add over $10 billion to Apple’s market capitalization once investors get a better understanding of where Apple intends to take this platform.

The Apple TV is priced at $299 and will be available at Apple's retail stores and other authorized dealers.

Shares of Apple rose 2.61 percent, or $2.39, to close at $93.87 in Wednesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.