Ahead of Apple’s WWDC in June and an expected Apple TV refresh, shipping times for its current generation Apple TV have just slipped from in stock to 1-2 weeks. Apple’s estimates for shipping Apple TV from its online store often jump between being “in stock” and “1 day”, but a longer delay in shipping could signal Apple’s intent to introduce a refreshed Apple TV in the near future. Read more
Apple has refreshed its channel lineup on the Apple TV to include NBC Sports Live Extra. The channel provides “thousands of live sporting events that air on NBC, NBCSN and Golf Channel” for free. Aside from live content, the channel includes loads of highlights and replays of sporting events to view at no charge; NBC Sports Live Extra users can activate the full channel (including content from CNBC, USA, and NBC) by verifying a cable subscription.
Google announced yesterday that it will be ending support for its YouTube Data API v2 used by older devices. For Apple users, this means the YouTube app will no longer work on iPhones, iPads, and iPod touches running iOS 6 or earlier; users instead will have to rely on the mobile web version of YouTube at m.youtube.com going forward.
The change also affects some Apple TV users, as only the current 3rd-generation 1080p Apple TV supports YouTube’s overhauled channel; prior-generation models will entirely lose access to YouTube… Read more
Known for publishing previously confidential documents, WikiLeaks has released a large collection of emails from last year’s widely publicized hack of Sony, notably including Apple agreements covering Sony’s Crackle Apple TV channel, video sales through iTunes, and other topics. The leaks include:
- The terms of Apple’s agreement to add Sony’s Crackle video service to the Apple TV, notably including a 3-year term (starting December 11, 2013), Sony’s retention of 100% of advertising revenue, and a promise that Apple will permit new types of overlaid/display ads on Crackle if it becomes technically feasible and Apple OKs it. Few details were previously known about the business terms between Apple and channel providers for the Apple TV.
- Apple’s agreements to distribute Sony videos through the iTunes Store, including the original 2007 agreement between the companies covering TV shows such as Charlie’s Angels and Who’s The Boss, term extensions and high-definition amendments, and the addition of iTunes in the Cloud (which Apple originally called “Virtual Storage Locker”).
- Sales forecasts for Sony games sold in the App Store, as well as charts suggesting that Sony’s iPhone and iPad game revenues far surpassed the amounts made on competing platforms.
The leaks go on to describe Apple and Sony product tie-ups, including the iPad’s “character” role in the film Sex Tape, as well as Sony’s internal reaction to Apple’s “Stickers” ad featuring a Breaking Bad reference, and an apparent effort by Dreamworks’ Jeffrey Katzenberg urging Sony not to collaborate with Apple…
Reports regarding an Apple web-based TV service began to circulate in February of this year, with more details emerging last month. A new report from The Street now claims that Apple and Disney are currently in talks over what specific Disney-owned channels will be available on the service. It’s worth noting that Disney CEO Bob Iger is also on Apple’s Board.
Apple Watch preorders are approaching quickly, but will it be difficult to get your hands on one? Also, it looks like the upcoming Apple TV may lack an important future-proofing feature. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…
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Just so there’s no ambiguity on this point, I’m definitely an Apple TV fan. The first-generation model was a (literally) hot mess, but Apple did a much better job with the streamlined second- and third-generation versions, which I use every day and have strongly recommended for years. If you have an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch, the Apple TV is one of the top three accessories you can buy for under $100, and nearly a no-brainer at Apple’s recently announced $69 price point.
Even as a fan, though, I give Apple TV’s chief competitor Roku great credit for developing compelling alternatives. According to reports, Roku is the number one seller of media streamers, and has been outselling the Apple TV for some time now. While it’s true that sales don’t necessarily reflect quality, Roku has earned its numbers by frequently iterating on its products — ironically unlike Apple, which has spent years letting an old Apple TV design chug along as a “hobby.” The difference in Roku’s and Apple’s approaches became starker yesterday when Roku released the new Roku 3 with Voice Search ($100) and new Roku 2 ($70), updates to two of its already-successful devices. These media streamers include several of the key features Apple should be adding to the Apple TV, including voice search, downloadable apps, games, and more…
HBO’s new standalone streaming service called HBO NOW has officially launched on Apple TV, iPhone, and iPad. HBO NOW allows subscribers to watch the premium network’s movies and TV shows online. The service is similar to Netflix as it’s delivered over a high-speed Internet connection rather than cable or satellite and doesn’t require long-term committments through contracts. Here’s how to get HBO NOW works: Read more
The Apple TV set-top box hardware is expected to be updated this summer after 3 years since the last real refresh and a recent price drop from $99 to $69. While the last Apple TV upgrade boosted video output from 720p to 1080p, the rumored Apple TV 4 is not believed to support ultra high definition 4K video output featured on newer TV sets. Here’s why that’s no surprise and what I think it could mean for an actual Apple TV set:
BuzzFeed reports today that Apple’s next-generation Apple TV will not support 4K video streaming. Citing “sources in position to know,” the report claims that due to the lack of TVs that support the latest video standard, as well as the lack of streaming 4K content, Apple has no plans to implement it into its upcoming refreshed set-top box.
At the Spring Forward event, Apple and HBO announced HBO Now, an over-the-top unbundled streaming service for HBO shows, like Game of Thrones, independent of a cable subscription. They claimed that HBO Now would be ‘exclusive to Apple TV and iOS devices for three months’. This seemed like a great promotion for Apple’s television offerings, coinciding with a price cut of the Apple TV box to $69.
However, Sling TV has now announced that it will be offering the same deal through its service: HBO shows for $15 a month. This throws shade at Apple’s announcement — signing up for Sling TV will make HBO available on devices like the Roku this month. It is worth noting that the Sling deal also requires a subscription to Sling itself, HBO is only available as an add-on, which is an additional $20 a month.
Sling has found a ‘loophole’ in Apple’s deal so that it can offer cable-independent HBO content this month as well, sidelining Apple’s three month exclusivity window …
Just a day after the last Apple TV channel refresh, CNNgo has added more news content to the set-top box lineup. The new channel appears to require an active cable subscription to view live content, but on demand news content is available without authenticating a subscription. This marks the first time content from CNN has been available on the Apple TV.