AppleTV Stories March 21, 2016

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Apple CEO Tim Cook took some time to kick off today’s ‘Let us loop you in’ press event with comments on the FBI/encryption controversy, but the company also offered the usual milestones and stats throughout the event. 

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AppleTV Stories October 7, 2015

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Amazon is reportedly interested in building a live TV service of sorts as analyst Dan Rayburn at StreamingMediaBlog  reports the company has approached NBCUniversal and CBS to gauge an interest in providing content (via Bloomberg). expand full story

AppleTV Stories September 28, 2015

Apple-TV-MAME-Emulator

With the Apple TV 4 developer kit in the hands of developers, select software makers are experimenting with different ways to take advantage of the iOS 9-based tvOS operating system. Developer Kevin Smith has created a MAME Emulator for the new Apple TV that is based on a similar port for iPhones and iPads. These special software kits allow users to run vintage video games on their modern devices, such as Frogger and Metal Gear Solid.

The video below shows some of these games in action. As MacRumors notes, the A8 chip in the new Apple TV is able to handle these simulated games fairly well. The developer explains on his YouTube channel how the emulator was developed:

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AppleTV Stories August 28, 2014

NFL Mobile app updated with integrated video feeds, Fantasy Live streaming, social media sharing & more

The NFL Mobile app has been updated to version 11.1 with a number of updates, as well as bug fixes to reduce app crashes.

– Integration of NFL Now national and personalized video feeds – Live stream of “Fantasy Live” now available for all users – Ability to share articles and VOD via Facebook and Twitter – Additional social content added to News section – Access to NFL Network Schedule

Verizon Premium and MORE Everything customers additionally get live streams of local Sunday CBS and FOX games, while the latter also have the option of a $1.99/month upgrade to NFL RedZone.

NFL Mobile is a free download on iTunes, but offers in-app purchases ranging from $4.99 for a one-month subscription to $39.99 for Season Pass Plus.

NFL Enterprises recently launched a separate NFL Now app, initially on iPhone and iPad, later on Apple TV, offering personalized video streams

AppleTV Stories March 12, 2014

Debunk: Job listing doesn’t indicate Apple TV getting a camera

A claim that “Apple job listings suggest cameras coming to Apple TV” and that this is “hinting at motion controls” appears to be reading way too much into some standard wording used many times by Apple in the past.

The Apple TV is one of the few products in Apple’s lineup that doesn’t include an integrated camera, but that may change with future versions of the hardware, according to new job listings from the company, potentially paving the way for gesture-based motion controls in the living room.

The text in question, which appears in a number of job ads like this one, is this:

The Camera Software team provides the capture and camera foundation across all of Apple’s innovative products, including iPhone, iPad, AppleTV, iPod, iTunes, and Mac OS

Well, let’s see …

First, this is nothing new. Apple has used the exact same wording in job ads at least as long ago as last September.

Second, this is an ad for a software, not hardware, role. Not a single one of the hardware team ads mentions Apple TV. The software team likely works on everything photo-related, which on Apple TV would include Photo Stream and Airplay.

Third, you’ll note that the standard wording used includes iTunes. Again, because iTunes needs software support for the camera to read gift certificates. Or perhaps iTunes is getting its own hardware camera too …

None of this is to say it’s impossible (though it would perhaps be more likely for a full-on Apple television rather than the existing Apple TV box), merely that the job listings tell us nothing.

AppleTV Stories January 28, 2014

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Apple appears to be putting its ducks in a row ahead of major Apple TV changes. Alongside last night’s changes to the Apple Online Store to promote Valentine’s Day specials, Apple added an entire Apple TV section.

The Apple TV is now promoted as a full product line alongside Macs, iPads, iPods, and iPhones. Previously, the Apple TV did not have its own section, and it was simply tucked away as an accessory in the dwindling iPod department.

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Not only does the Apple TV now have its own section, but it now has promoted and dedicated accessory, AppleCare, refurbished, and community question/answer sections.

Of course, the timing of the Apple TV’s “graduation” is interesting. Last week, we reported that Apple is working on a new version of the Apple TV set-top-box that will integrate new content (such as apps).

If Apple were to launch such a product in the near-future, it would make sense for it to have a dedicated, unhidden spot on Apple’s online store. And, based on what we’re hearing, the new Apple TV will certainly deserve to be called more than a “hobby.”

And we have some more information on why…

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AppleTV Stories January 24, 2014

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<a href="https://twitter.com/saschasegan/status/421117388235358208/photo/1">Image via Sascha Segan</a>

Earlier this year, World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) held a press conference to announce that it will be bringing its wrestling content to television and mobile devices via a new WWE Network. At the event, WWE Chief Revenue and Marketing officer Michelle Wilson announced hardware partners and that the network will provide its content via a 24/7 stream that costs $9.99 per month.

As shown in the video below (5:30 in), Wilson said that the network would become available on a slew of devices, including iOS devices, Android devices, Rokus, Amazon Kindle devices, Xbox hardware, and PlayStations. Rounding out the list of supported devices, Wilson said, is “a connected device that I am not allowed to mention at this press conference…”

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AppleTV Stories January 23, 2014

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We’ve learned that Apple is making progress on its development of a successor to the current Apple TV and that the device is well into testing. We are led to believe that the new device, which is said to be a set-top box rather than a full-fledged TV set, will likely be introduced in the first half of 2014. We understand that the product will include a revamped operating system that will be based on iOS. Of course, release timeframes with these type of products can quickly change due to the content partners that are involved in such products…

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AppleTV Stories October 29, 2013

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Following significant updates to its app on iOS, the NBA has updated its app on the Apple TV for the 2013-2014 season. The new season begins tonight, starting with three games (and several games tomorrow night). The updated Apple TV application includes a new icon on the Apple TV Home screen, the ability to view NBA standings across the league, the ability to stream games if you have a League Pass subscription, view highlights, and access NBA downloads from iTunes. More photos of the updated app below. Thanks, David!

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AppleTV Stories September 26, 2013

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This morning, Apple has sent an over-the-air update to the Apple TV to add two new apps of content: Major League Soccer (MLS) and Disney Junior. The MLS app allows Apple TV users to watch soccer games live, and Disney Junior includes several shows oriented toward young children.

The new soccer app will surely be a big bonus for sports fans, while Disney Junior will continue to attract kids to the Apple’s living room appliance. Kick-TV-Apple-TV

Last week, Apple added iTunes Radio and many new features to the device. A few weeks ago, the company added a couple of Disney Channel apps, The Weather Channel, Vevo, and a Smithsonian app. Thanks DJ

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AppleTV Stories September 23, 2013

Valve changes the game, announces its own Steam OS

Valve has been teasing announcements surrounding its much rumored Steam Box platform on its website, and today the company revealed “SteamOS” as the first of three announcements. There aren’t many details available just yet, but Valve says the Linux-based platform will be available soon as a “free stand-alone operating system for living room machines” and “freely licensable operating system for manufacturers.”

Steam is not a one-way content broadcast channel, it’s a collaborative many-to-many entertainment platform, in which each participant is a multiplier of the experience for everyone else. With SteamOS, “openness” means that the hardware industry can iterate in the living room at a much faster pace than they’ve been able to. Content creators can connect directly to their customers. Users can alter or replace any part of the software or hardware they want. Gamers are empowered to join in the creation of the games they love. SteamOS will continue to evolve, but will remain an environment designed to foster these kinds of innovation.

Not too long ago Valve’s Gabe Newell expressed that the biggest threat to bringing Steam and PC gaming to the living room would be if Apple got there first:

“The biggest challenge, I don’t think is from the consoles,” Newell said. “I think the biggest challenge is that Apple moves on the living room before the PC industry sort of gets its act together.”

Valve says that game developers are already optimizing new releases set for 2014  that will take advantage of “significant performance increases in graphics processing” and “audio performance and reductions in input latency” in SteamOS. Although Apple has been beefing up its Apple TV with new content recently, it looks like Valve could beat Apple when it comes to bringing its ecosystem of games to the living room.

The webpage for SteamOS also mentions four new features coming to SteamOS and the Steam client soon, including: In-home streaming, music/TV/movies, Family Sharing, and Family options. Family Sharing will let users “take turns playing one another’s games while earning your own Steam achievements and saving your individual game progress to the Steam cloud.” The in-home streaming feature will allow users to stream games from their Mac or PC to a SteamOS machine over their home network, and Family Options will provide customizable libraries for different members of your household.

The company also says it’s working with “media services” to help bring music, TV, and movies to SteamOS, so we could be looking at more of a direct Apple TV competitor than simply a game console.

AppleTV Stories September 11, 2013

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Photo: cnet.com

We mentioned last week that an Apple TV software update would allow owners to stream content from a friend’s Apple TV box elsewhere, and AllThingsD now has a little more info on how this will work.

The new software will allow people who have purchased content from Apple’s iTunes store to play that stuff on other people’s TVs, via its Airplay system.

The key part is that they will be able to tell an Apple TV box they don’t own to stream the media they do own, directly from the cloud. That’s a change from the current system, which requires users to  download stuff to their iPhones and iPads and fling it to the TV from there. It also echoes the way Google’s new Chromecast device works …  expand full story

AppleTV Stories September 4, 2013

Apple imports more Apple TVs – but is it a refresh?

A blog post by supplier-sourcing company Panjiva (via GigaOM) is being cited as evidence that Apple plans to launch a refreshed Apple TV alongside the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C at its media event on September 10th.

  • On August 25th, Apple received a shipment described as “Set Top Box with Communication Function” from BYD Precision Manufacture in Shenzhen, China.
  • On August 18th, Apple received another shipment, again from BYD, described as “Set Top Boxes.”
  • And on August 11th, Apple received its first shipment from BYD of “Set Top Box with Communication Function.

While it’s possible that the timing aligns with plans to have a new model in stock this month, and a refresh is somewhat overdue, it’s rather thin evidence on which to base this assumption: it’s equally possible that this is merely a routine shipment of existing stock. Either way, we won’t have long to wait to find out.

AppleTV Stories August 28, 2013

Workaround restores PlexConnect after Apple TV update broke it

While Apple pushed out a lot of nice goodies in yesterday’s Apple TV update, not everyone was happy. Those who use the Trailers hack PlexConnect to run the Plex media server on their Apple  TVs found that it no longer worked.

Fortunately, a fix didn’t take long. Developer Paul Kehrer has posted an illustrated tutorial to his cleverly-named langui.sh site which restores the functionality of the hack. It’s a little fiddly, but from the comments it seems to be a reliable fix.

The Plex iOS app was updated back in July.

AppleTV Stories August 27, 2013

Apple broke PlexConnect Apple TV hack with this morning’s update

UPDATE: Workaround now available to restore access

Thanks to an easy DNS hack called PlexConnect, non-jailbroken Apple TV users have been able to unofficially run the popular media server Plex on the second and third gen Apple TV since we first told you about it back in June. The hack, which required users to run an app on their Mac or PC that masquerades as the Trailers app, appears to be blocked in the latest Apple TV update pushed out this morning.

Earlier today Apple rolled out an update to the Apple TV that introduced new apps for Vevo, The Weather Channel, Smithsonian, Disney Channel, and Disney XD. The update didn’t require users to initiate a firmware update, so many users are reporting waking up to the PlexConnect app no longer working through the Trailers hack. A growing number of users on the Plex forums confirmed that PlexConnect is unable to connect following this morning’s update.

It’s unclear if Apple is intentionally blocking the popular Plex hack or whether its possibly a result of tweaks to the Trailers app delivered with the update. Plex isn’t the only app that takes advantage of the hack. We reported earlier this year that a Russian subscription TV service was using a similar method.

AppleTV Stories August 22, 2013

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A new report from Quartz today offers some details on Apple’s content negotiations for a much rumored revamped Apple TV. Most of the report echoes what we’ve heard several times in the past– Apple is apparently talking with HBO, Disney, MTV and others about a new TV service. According to Quartz, it could include a pay TV service that would see Apple “essentially becoming a cable company itself,” as well as the release of a “full-fledged television set”:

One alternative being considered is that Apple could essentially become a cable company itself. Under that scenario, sources say, Apple would launch what is formally known as a virtual multichannel video programming distributor. Apple is still interested in striking deals with cable companies that would allow people to plug their cable lines into the back of the TV set, bypassing a cable box, sources say. But at least two years of negotiations haven’t progressed very far.

Sources say Apple has concluded that it doesn’t need all, even most, content providers on board before it can release a TV set that people would buy. It just needs enough good programming to distinguish the new product, which will try to simplify the experience of connecting internet video to the TV.

The report doesn’t offer up any details that we didn’t hear around this same time last year (and the year before that), but it appears Apple could be closer to reaching the deals it needs to launch the next-generation of Apple TV. Earlier today we reported that former Hulu SVP Pete Distad has now officially started his new role at Apple as Product Marketing VP and is thought to be leading Apple executives through negotiations with cable and media companies.  expand full story

Hulu SVP Pete Distad starts work at Apple as Product Marketing VP

Pete Distad, who was previously SVP of Marketing and Distribution at Hulu, has officially started his new role as VP of Product Marketing at Apple this month, according to a change to Distad’s LinkedIn page over the last week. Hulu’s executive bios page appears to be down as well, possibly while it’s updated to remove Distad’s bio.

Bloomberg reported in July that it heard Apple was recruiting Distad to lead negotiations as Apple was reportedly close to reaching a deal with Time Warner. At Hulu, Distad was responsible for content distribution and customer acquisition/retention on the company’s management team. That includes “subscriber acquisition and retention, paid, on-channel, and brand marketing, distribution and promotional partnerships, and content marketing.”

In its July report, Bloomberg said that Apple and Time Warner planned to “announce an agreement within a few months” that would bring Time Warner TV shows to the Apple TV. The report claimed Distad was being hired to help with negotiations with cable and media companies.

In June Apple added Time Warner’s HBO GO, as well as WatchESPN, Sky News and more to its existing Apple TV service, but reports over the last year surrounding a much-anticipated revamped Apple TV claimed Apple was hitting various roadblocks with cable companies.

A new report today from Quartz offered some updates on Apple’s continued negotiations with content providers for a pay TV service.

Earlier this week we reported that Apple picked up Levi’s Senior VP Enrique Atienza for its U.S. retail team.

 

AppleTV Stories August 15, 2013

Apple bought Matcha because it “found the answer” with its recommendation algorithm

Following reports earlier this week that Apple had acquired video aggregation and discovery service Matcha, TechCrunch claims today that its sources have provided a bit more info on the motivation behind the acquisition. While noting that the purchase price was actually closer to $10-$15 million opposed to the $1 to $1.5 million reported by others, the report says that Apple is after the company’s proprietary recommendation algorithm rather than just its talent:

Nor was it an acqui-hire; this was about the product Matcha built and about the specific recipe for video recommendations it put together via its proprietary algorithm, according to one source close to the matter.Matcha was acquired after testing numerous approaches to generating recommendations, right at the point where it had refined its algorithm such that it saw an explosion in user growth, according to our source. The app did definitely do well on the App Store charts, and was ranked among the top 15 apps in the Entertainment category before it was shut down.’

TechCrunch also adds that Apple found Matcha’s user acquisition and user engagement strategy to be the “best of any other apps competing in that space” and that it had “found the answer” with its recommendation algorithms:

It was Matcha’s user acquisition and user engagement strategy that Apple was interested in, according to one of our sources, since the acquisition happened just after Matcha had completed a round of vigorous A/B testing and had “found the answer” to rapid user growth and time spent in app. Matcha’s pairing algorithms that drove the right content to the right users simply worked best of any other apps competing in that space, the source affirms.

The report also confirms that Apple actually acquired Matcha prior to the company shutting down the service back in May.

The video programming recommendation app, which lets users browse across services like Netflix, iTunes, HBO, Hulu, Amazon Prime and others, didn’t pick up much steam on the App Store after launching in January 2012. While some have speculated that Apple could use the service to help power recommendations for a revamped Apple TV service, today’s report compares the purchase to Apple’s previous acquisition of app recommendation and search service Chomp.

AppleTV Stories July 26, 2013

Graphic: The $35 Chromecast dongle is no replacement for the $99 Apple TV (not yet, anyway)

The Verge snapped together the chart below illustrating the feature set of the Chromecast dongle as compared to the Apple TV’s Airplay functionality.

In reality, we are looking at two different ways of looking at place-shifting content. Apple’s is directly from an iOS device or a recent Mac’s display. The Chromecast is sending instructions to the dongle to start playing content from the cloud (meaning you need a pretty healthy Internet connection).

In its present state, the $35 Amazon/Best Buy (in stock) Chromecast is a convenient way to show Netflix, YouTube and Google Play content on a TV. But a lot of the good programming lies outside of this sphere.  Sure you can ‘Chromecast’ videos from your Chrome browser as you watch Hulu, Amazon Instant Video, or just about anything else that works in a browser including .MKV, MP4, AVI files, etc, but that’s not elegant (and Chrome/Android chief Pachai says websites, like Hulu, could turn off the functionality at any time)! Also, you get no dedicated remote with the Chromecast (though Android devices can be found pretty absurdly cheap) like with the AppleTV.

You can’t help but wonder if the Apple TV could be put in the Dongle format and perhaps given some more content sharing options. Google reached across the aisle and built Chromecast to provide Apple Mac and iOS users the same compatibility as Chrome and Android users. Sure Chromecast needs external power such as that provided by a USB port, but the form factor and, more importantly, the price, seem very compelling. If Apple could squeeze its current format Apple TV into a dongle and cut the price in half, why shouldn’t it?

Update: Search Engine Land simplifies and throws in Roku for good measure

 

AppleTV Stories February 19, 2013

Apple launches Apple TV in India for Rs 8,295 ($150)

After officially bringing iTunes music and movies to India alongside a huge international rollout in December, Apple appears to have now launched Apple TV in the country. The Apple TV product page on Apple’s India website was first spotted by BGR India, but Apple has yet to issue an official press release announcing the product launch. The product page doesn’t include a “buy” button, and some reports claim stock has not yet made it to Apple resellers in the country. BGR first posted a screenshot of Apple’s site showing an Rs 7,900 price tag, but Apple’s website now shows a price of Rs 8295 (as pictured to the right). That’s roughly $150 USD and slightly higher than first rumored. As pictured above, the product page also highlights a number of Bollywood films and other local content in addition to The Wall Street Journal, YouTube, Vimeo, and MLB.TV.

AppleTV Stories January 29, 2013

New Apple TV 3,2 to be half centimeter smaller, A5X processor, updated wireless (Updated)

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As we discovered yesterday, Apple is updating its Apple TV ever so slightly…soon. Today, the Federal Communications Commission released the dimensions of this new Apple TV product (via Engadget) in its labeling documentation. The 3,2 is 93.78mm square compared to the 98mm of the current model, but we’re not quite sure why Apple would go through the trouble of making it just a little smaller.

However, Apple likely accomplished the shrinkage with new hardware including the Broadcom BCM4334 Wireless chip (code, right) that can also incidentally pick up FM radio (just like the dormant FM radio receiver in the same chip inside iOS devices).

AnandTech says the new device might also sport an A5X processor. This would be similar to the chip found in the discontinued third-generation iPad. Rebooting production of this chip could help for that rumored Retina iPad mini.

We also picked up some new labeling (thanks Sonny!) from the firmware yesterday and compared it:

Hackers have also discovered there is an upgraded CPU that might save a little space.

UPDATE: 

Despite the information found in the FCC documents, an Apple spokesperson gave the following statement to TNW: “We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval. The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.”

The Verge also “learned” that there’s no redesign in the works, and the new Apple TV will look identical in size and appearance to the current one.

AppleTV Stories January 26, 2013

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Here’s an interesting find sent by a tipster. Staples, the biggest office retailer in the United States, has a page showing an Apple TV with a list price of $49.99. While that price is very low, we were not able to add it to our cart or check out because the following page said “out of stock” (screenshots below). Staples also recommended a $24.99 Apple Lightning charge and sync cable when you visit the page. In fact, there is a bunch of Apple’s products sitting on “Mockup Pages” section.

What’s going on here?

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AppleTV Stories January 17, 2013

Apple TV launches in South Africa this Friday, Jan.18

Core Group, Apple’s official distributor in South Africa, just announced details for the launch date and pricing of Apple TV in the country. According to a statement by the company (via mybroadband.co.za), Apple TV will finally launch through select retailers starting Jan. 18. The launch follows Apple’s official opening of iTunes Store and iPhone 5 in South Africa alongside 50+ other countries last month.

Core Group suggested Apple TV will retail for R1099 (roughly $125 USD) but also noted, “resellers are entirely free to determine the actual prices at which products will be sold.” Customers in South Africa will be able to get their hands on Apple TV through the following Apple Premium Resellers and authorized dealers:

Apple Premium Resellers:

  • iStore
  • Digicape

Selected Apple Authorised Retailers:

  • Incredible Connection
  • Dion Wired
  • Makro
  • Hi-Fi Corporation

AppleTV Stories January 16, 2013

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The introduction of the Mac App Store, at least for the Mac’s biggest game publisher Aspyr Media, hasn’t been entirely smooth. Aspyr recently outlined some issues with bringing multiplayer to Mac games due to Game Center and sandboxing restrictions of the Mac App Store, and developing separate versions of games for Steam and the Mac App Store continues to be a hurdle. An example is Borderlands 2. It took Aspyr just two months to ship the Mac version, but the Game Center multiplayer won’t arrive until sometime early this year. However, executives at the company promise Apple’s enthusiasm toward gaming on Mac is stronger than ever thanks to the Mac App Store. Aspyr also said it has much planned for 2013 in Apple’s store and remains platform agnostic, despite running its own competitive GameAgent store.

9to5Mac recently had the chance to speak with Aspyr Vice President of Publishing Elizabeth Howard, with input from CEO Michael Rogers and other execs, about the process of porting games to the Mac App Store, the company’s relationship with Apple and publishers, and the possibility of bringing iOS titles to OS X.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Aspyr is one of the biggest Mac game publishers bringing PC and console titles to OS X. It regularly leads many of the top paid and grossing charts on the Mac App Store thanks to high-profile releases such as Borderlands 2, RAGE, Call of Duty: Black Ops, and much more. Go below for the full interview and a chance to win Borderlands 2 for Mac. expand full story

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