Posts tagged with "apple tv"

Apple TV Tips

A Reddit thread with a series of great tips for Apple TV settings and AirPlay-compatible apps I didn't know about. I could have used some of these suggestions (like Beamer and the Menu shortcut) for Christmas, as I watched movies with my family through the Apple TV every day. It takes a while to read through the comments, but it's worth it.


Apple Adds Bloomberg, Local ABC News, Crackle, and KOR TV to Apple TV Channel Lineup

Less than a month ago Apple brought channels like Yahoo Screen and PBS to the Apple TV, and today they're bringing over streaming news services like Bloomberg, ABC (for streaming local content from ABC news affiliates), Crackle for movies and TV shows, and Korean language channel KOR TV. Darrell Etherington of TechCrunch echoes what I suggested last month regarding the Apple TV as a viable alternative for cable cutters:

This launch is just the most recent in what’s been an increasingly fast-paced rollout of new content partners on Apple’s set-top box, but it brings some interesting ingredients to the mix, including local broadcast TV streaming and a 24-hour news channel, which are key ingredients to what many users would consider basic TV service. Apple TV didn’t start off as a really viable cord-cutting alternative for people looking to ditch their cable subscriptions, but it’s been building up a piecemeal library of a la carte content that begins to become a truly worthy option.

In a nutshell, the Apple TV now has a 24-hour news channels, multiple sports outlets, various channels for kids, and channels apps for watching TV shows and movies on demand.

For a listing of channels currently available on the Apple TV, check out the "Whats on Apple TV" page at


Apple Adds Yahoo Screen and PBS to Apple TV

Apple's small set-top box has received two new apps this morning according to Peter Kafka of All Things Digital. Yahoo Screen delivers programs such as The Daily Show and channels from partners such as ABC News, while PBS' app will have a back catalog of shows that can be watched after they air on television.

The PBS app offers popular programs like “Frontline”, but it only appears to offer old episodes, and not live streams. [...]

Yahoo’s screen app offers a mix of clips, ranging from a recent Saturday Night Live performance by Lady gaga to movie trailers to game reviews; it also offers channels from Yahoo partners including Conde Nast magazines, ABC News and The Onion.

When it debuted, the Apple TV was really only appealing to iTunes customers who primarily wanted to stream downloaded TV Shows or Movies to their televisions over AirPlay, but this is becoming a legitimate competitive alternative to things like Roku's streaming players. Between Hulu, Netflix, sports broadcasting, recently added apps like the Weather Channel and the Disney Channel, Crunchyroll, and now these extras, it's a competitively priced product that's starting to become an actual alternative for cable cutters and anyone who subscribes to digital programming. There are some apps like HBO GO that require a cable subscription, but we're getting there.


Apple TV Gets Vevo, Disney Channel, and The Weather Channel in Latest Update

Eric Slivka from MacRumors writes:

Apple today added several new apps to the Apple TV, including the previously reported Vevo music video channel. Other new additions include a dedicated app for The Weather Channel, an app for the Smithsonian Channel, as well as two Disney television apps: Disney Channel and Disney XD.

Vevo's library of 75,000 HD music video should keep the kids busy for a while.


The Potential of iOS 7 Game Controllers

Chris Plante:

If Apple finds a way to standardize traditional controls, every iOS device will become a transportable console. In a year, both iPhones and iPads will approach the processing power of the current-generation devices. Companies will have the ability to port controller-based games for the mobile devices in millions of pockets — an install base far greater than they've ever had before.

Today, using Airplay and an Apple TV, players can stream their games from their iOS device to their high-definition television. With controller support, players will be able to play more traditional, non-touch games.

I agree with Chris' take: the new game controller APIs for developers have great potential, but, ultimately, it's up to Apple to believe in this opportunity. What's indisputable is that later this year, when controllers will be released by third-parties, games supporting them will already work with the existing Apple TV's AirPlay streaming features. It'll be interesting to see if Apple will publicly acknowledge this new scenario for gamers and Apple TV owners (as Tim Cook often notes, Apple doesn't advertise the Apple TV aside from a product page on

We've already discussed how the potential of dual-screen AirPlay gaming is largely untapped, and I suspect the addition of physical controllers will allow iOS game developers to explore even more possibilities. Essentially, controllers that will attach to iPhones will create a DS-like experience -- with the "top screen" being the Apple TV.

Today's hardware, as recent ports show, isn't yet capable of handling the same amount of power and definition of modern console games. The App Store needs improvements (especially for curation and discovery), but Apple has the advantage of having a solid platform where free-to-play is an established model and where everyone can develop games (with great new game-related APIs coming in iOS 7) as long as they are registered developers. With 575 million iTunes Store accounts with credit cards on file, Apple also has the largest user base -- customers already buying software from the App Store. And, let's not forget the iPod touch, Apple's cheapest way into App Store gaming, which recently received an even cheaper option.

On the other hand, in the current state of App Store economics, it's difficult to imagine how Apple could lure major console publishers to release AAA titles under $30 and that aren't low-res ports, companion apps, or dumbed-down versions of console/PC games. Does Apple care about having the next Destiny on iOS first? The new Call of Duty? Will future iOS hardware be capable of running those kinds of games? Or is Apple just fine with attacking the market from the low end, taking more time to see how game developers will react to new iOS software and hardware in the next five years?

Will Apple ever develop a culture and appreciation for gaming as a medium, not just an App Store category? While others (namely Microsoft) are trying to add more media and entertainment layers on top of existing game infrastructures, Apple is in the opposite situation -- running the largest media store and selling devices that are increasingly used as gaming machines, but that still lack the catalog and support of dedicated home consoles.

As far as third-party developers are concerned, things have changed since 2008. Five years ago, imagining a console hit like Metal Gear Solid 4 on iOS would have been absurd; today, we have a port (albeit low-res) of XCOM eight months after the original release. Compare this example to Metal Gear Solid Touch, "based on" Metal Gear Solid 4 and released nine months after the original game, in 2009. What's the App Store going to be like in 2018? Can we imagine, two or three years from now, simultaneous and equal releases of AAA games across consoles and iOS? And if so, how will the App Store's numbers play to Apple's advantage against Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Valve?

Apple is testing the waters (having to buy separate iOS devices, Apple TV, and third-party game controllers isn't a simple message) and they seem extremely cautious with their Apple TV strategy, but it does look like some pieces of the gaming puzzle are slowly coming together. We're seeing more full ports of console games nowadays, alongside, obviously, the brand new iOS gaming experiences that have shaped the modern industry. iOS 7 game controllers will likely make developers more comfortable with the idea of "serious" games on iOS (although Apple wants controllers to be optional...for now), and I'm curious to see which parts of Apple's grand vision for TV will relate to games, the App Store, and iOS.

HBO GO, WatchESPN, Sky News, Crunchyroll, and Qello Come to Apple TV

Apple is rolling out new programming with its latest software update, version 5.3, for 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs. HBO GO and WatchESPN are now directly available on Apple TV, in addition to Sky News (for US, UK, and Ireland), Crunchyroll, and Qello.

HBO GO and WatchESPN require a cable subscription:

HBO GO users get unlimited access to their favorite HBO shows, including HBO original programming, hit movies, sports, documentaries, comedy specials and more. This includes full seasons of the best of HBO, plus bonus features and special behind-the-scenes extras. HBO GO on Apple TV requires a subscription to HBO through participating television providers.

WatchESPN on Apple TV delivers a one-stop video destination for sports fans with live access to ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN3 and ESPN Buzzer Beater/Goal Line to those who receive ESPN’s networks as part of their video subscription from affiliated providers.

You can learn more about today's update in Apple's press release.

PlexConnect for Apple TV

A clever little hack to display Plex content on an Apple TV with no jailbreak required:

Essentially, you run a program on your computer which masquerades as the Trailer app. Next, change one setting on the ATV, and you’re up and running. It took me less than 2 minutes to install and get it running. It already uses the new transcoder (which means great support for subtitles), and I suspect it’ll support myPlex soon as well.

There's a bit of manual configuration to do with this first version of PlexConnect. You can find an official discussion board, check out the FAQ, roadmap, or grab the source code here.


The Untapped Potential Of Dual Screen AirPlay Games & Apps

What do you know about Dual Screen AirPlay games? Chances are, you don't know much about it and might not even know what on earth I'm talking about. It's a feature of AirPlay - the protocol that allows iOS devices to stream audio and video to an Apple TV. More specifically, Dual Screen AirPlay is the ability for app developers to use a connected Apple TV as a secondary screen, displaying different content on the TV as to what is on the iOS device. In theory it's an awesome feature that has significant potential. In reality there haven't been many examples of its implementation, let alone many that did so in a unique and exciting way.

So today I look at where Dual Screen AirPlay has been used, focusing on games in particular and then look to why it hasn't been as widely deployed. I'll also touch upon the problems with its implementation, where it could be improved and lastly a brief discussion on its potential in video apps as well.

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Use Dribbble and Instagram as an Apple TV Screen Saver


Tired of stock images of plants and animals when your Apple TV screen saver comes on? Why not make it a little more personal with some ingredients from Dribbble and Instagram? With a little IFTTT magic you can have your Apple TV showing your Dribbble and Instagram feeds with just a little fun hacking.

The interactive team over at created a way to make this happen by using Dropbox and IFTTT then sprinkled some recipe magic to make this happen. I tried it last night and it worked perfectly; it only took me about 15 minutes to set up from start to finish. Here are the ingredients and the recipe:

Step 1: Dropbox
You'll need a Dropbox account if you don't already have one, but who doesn't these days? If you don't, you can sign up for free here.

Step 2: IFTTT
Okay, not everyone has an IFTTT account but you will need one to continue with this tutorial. IFTTT is a great service that lets you build recipes from many different web services. It's free, so do yourself a favor and sign up if you already haven't. When you do have an IFTTT account, you can continue.

Step 3: Get your ingredients together
To make the recipes that created, some IFTTT channels will need to be activated. Go here to activate the RSS Feed Channel, the Dropbox Channel, and if you want Instagram, activate its channel as well.

Step 4: Recipes
Anytime a new item is added to Dribbble's popular feed, or your own follow feed if you have an account, it is downloaded to Dropbox. If you have the Instagram channel activated, you can pick a few different users as well to really mix up your screen saver. IFTTT will save an Instagram picture every time that user account posts a new picture. Here are the links here and here that posted if you want to modify or use their recipes. Note that you will need to make sure every recipe points to the same Dropbox folder. Every one of my recipes for this tutorial point to my Dropbox/IFTTT/Instagram folder, even my Dribbble feed.

Step 5: Screen Saver Info
Did I mention this also works on your Mac? Just point to your Dropbox folder via the screen saver system prefs and you're done with this tutorial. For your Apple TV, you will need to turn on iTunes' Home Sharing on the Mac that has the Dropbox folder. After that is done, navigate to File > Home Sharing > 'Choose Photos to Share with Apple TV...' in iTunes and navigate to the same Dropbox folder (see image below).

Then, go to your Apple TV > Computers menu and add your Apple ID to link to your Mac's photo library if you haven't already done so. Now, go to Screen saver and choose your user Photo library as the source. Here is a resulting picture from my own Apple TV using this recipe. As you can see, it's showing images saved from the IFTTT recipe -- I like the origami effect the best. So, if you get tired of looking at your photos or the boring stock ones that Apple ships, try this recipe for some inspiration!

Here are some FAQs that BlingBlog posted:

  • At the beginning of the week, delete all of the stuff from last week. Sometimes, it’s hard to let go, but this screensaver isn’t for nostalgia; it’s for inspiration. Bring on some new stuff!
  • IFTTT/Instagram recipes only let you choose one user per recipe. We have 3 or 4 different ones going.
  • You aren’t limited to just dribbble or Instagram, IFTTT can also hook up to Flickr or any other photo streaming service that has an rss feed.
  • Apple TV doesn’t automatically update as new images come in, so you have to stop the screensaver and repeat Step 5 from above. And make sure your iTunes is open when it is refreshing the feed.