Posts tagged with "apple tv"

TechTube for Apple TV

Like many others, I've developed a habit of binge-browsing YouTube videos and spending a few hours each week on YouTube channels that match my interests. Whether they're Let's Plays, music videos, educational stuff, documentaries, or interviews, the variety of content on YouTube provides a constant source of information and entertainment that I find superior to traditional television – or at least more engaging for me.

I haven't been watching much YouTube on my new Apple TV, though, because I don't like searching and browsing with the Siri Remote or Remote app; I'd rather use the YouTube app on my iPhone and beam videos to my Chromecast if I find something I want to watch on the big screen. Perhaps dictation will speed up the search process in tvOS 9.2.

TechTube, released earlier this week, is a new tvOS app that brings a curated stream of YouTube videos to the Apple TV with a minimal UI optimized for binge-watching. Once you open TechTube, you're presented with a swipeable gallery of videos; swipe left, and the thumbnail preview starts playing without having to open the video in full screen; if you're interested, swipe again, go to the next video, and so forth. Titles are displayed at the top of each preview and there are basic controls once you've opened a video in full screen, but that's about it. There's no complexity involved – you can't subscribe to channels, search, or add videos to playlists. TechTube is a lean-back experience created to open the app a couple of times each day, see what's new, and watch some videos from the selection of available picks.

And that's the aspect of TechTube I like: I don't have to find videos to watch. I can just open the app whenever I'm bored and relax for a bit with videos I wouldn't normally seek out. The team behind TechTube wants to pick videos for "techies, nerds, gadget lovers, and thinkers" on a daily basis, and, so far, the app offers an interesting mix of typical tech content (roundups, gadgets, what's new in software updates, hands-on, etc.) as well as educational videos and interviews. Scrolling through videos is fun; I don't have to think about browsing my YouTube subscriptions; and the app is a good showcase of tvOS and simple interactions with the Siri Remote.

I wouldn't mind having an iOS version of TechTube for those times when I want to sit down with my iPad and take my brain off work for a few minutes. TechTube is available for free on the tvOS App Store.


Remote Buddy Display: Control Your Mac From Your Apple TV Using The Siri Remote

It's still the very early days for tvOS and the App Store on the new Apple TV, but we're starting to see some really neat apps for the new platform. Some of my early favorites (aside from the obvious content-delivery apps like Netflix and HBO Now) include Plex, VLC, GIFtv, and now Remote Buddy Display.

Remote Buddy Display is an app that enables you to wirelessly mirror your Mac onto your TV. What differentiates it from AirPlay Mirroring, built into OS X, is that you can also control your Mac, using just the Apple TV's Siri Remote. Provided you have installed Remote Buddy onto your Mac, you can take control of your Mac via your Apple TV simply by launching the Remote Buddy Display app on your Apple TV.

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VLC Now Available for Apple TV: Our First Impressions

VLC is now available for the Apple TV. Just like every other version of VLC, the Apple TV version aims to play video files and streams in "their native formats without conversions". Felix Kühne, lead iOS developer for VLC, writes on his blog:

Today, we are proud to announce VLC on the Apple TV. It’s a full port of VLC media player combined with platform specific features.

VLC for Apple TV integrates with a plethora of devices and services on your local network and includes a custom way of casting files directly to the TV from your other computers using a web browser!

I was able to test the VLC Apple TV app for a few hours earlier today, and whilst it is early days yet, I am pretty impressed at what the VLC team has been able to accomplish. Jump the break for all the details and screenshots.

You can get VLC by searching for it on the Apple TV App Store.

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tvOS 9.2 Beta Adds Podcasts App, Folders, Bluetooth Keyboard Support, New App Switcher

In addition to iOS 9.3, Apple released the first beta of tvOS 9.2 today. Benjamin Mayo has a rundown of what's new at 9to5Mac:

With the new Apple TV tvOS 9.2 beta, Apple has added a whole host of new features to the tvOS platform. This includes support for pairing Bluetooth keyboards, Folders organisation for apps on the home screen, a new App Switcher UI and a native Apple Podcasts app.

There are also some enhancements to Siri and other improvements. Apple has added support for two new Siri languages: US Spanish and French Canadian.

There was a ton of work left to do in the first tvOS – and I'd argue that the software shouldn't have shipped without Remote app support – but it looks like Apple is catching up quickly.

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Emulate Classic Game Consoles with the New Apple TV

A must-read guide by Andrew Cunningham if you've considered emulating classic games (for me, that means SNES, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance) on a new Apple TV:

Right now there are two notable emulation projects targeting tvOS. One is a distant relative of the MAME arcade emulator, though it doesn’t seem as though it’s being maintained. Another, Provenance, is the one we’ll be spending the most time with. It’s a multi-system emulator that supports most major 8- and 16-bit consoles, including the NES, SNES, Sega Master System, Sega Genesis, Sega CD, Game Boy, and Game Boy Advance.

That's basically it for now, but more consoles could show up in the future. Provenance is already heavily based on open source code from OpenEmu and other projects, so anyone with a little patience could port other emulators without much extra work.

That's my kind of holiday side-project, too.

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The Numbers of Apple’s New TV App Store So Far

A month after the launch of the new Apple TV and associated App Store, the folks at appFigures have released some numbers on the TV apps available to users:

The long awaited Apple TV App Store opened about a month ago, and since we happen to be into apps that got us pretty excited. We started tracking the new store when it had just opened in late October, and have been keeping a close watch on its progress for a little over a month now. Armed with a database full of apps we set out to share some of the things we’re seeing.

These are some fascinating stats – I wasn't expecting Education apps to be high in the list and, given Apple's promotion during the Apple TV introduction, I imagined we'd see more Shopping apps.

With over 60% apps available for free and 85% of them priced between $0.99 and $2.99, it'll be interesting to see what happens when and if some console games come to the platform.

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Eddy Cue on Hardcore Gaming for Apple TV, New Siri Remote App Launching Next Year

In an interview with BuzzFeed published this morning, Apple's Eddy Cue has shared some details on how the company sees the new Apple TV as a gaming device.

“When we first announced the iPhone, we didn’t tout it as a gaming device. But games became a huge part of iPhone, because it turns out that a lot more people than just hardcore gamers love games. We expanded the market. I think the vast majority of people around the world probably aren’t looking to buy an Xbox or PlayStation. But that doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy playing games. I think Apple TV expands the gaming market to those people.”

Cue goes on to say that “hardcore gaming isn’t exactly the ecosystem we’re after with Apple TV", adding that, however, hardcore games will be released on it in the future. Essentially, Cue's pitch is reminiscent of Nintendo's goal with the Wii in 2006 – to expand the gaming market to people who don't want to buy a console but would be comfortable with casual games on a TV. Only this time, Apple has an existing multi-billion iOS ecosystem backing the efforts of developers approaching the TV App Store.

Also from the interview, Cue revealed that the full functionality of the Siri Remote will be available in a new iPhone app next year:

"We’re working on a new Apple TV remote app that will give you the full functionality of the Siri Remote on your iPhone," Cue said. "We’re hoping to ship that in the first half of next year."

Yesterday's tvOS update restored support with Apple's existing Remote app for iOS, but it sounds like Apple has bigger plans that involve full Siri integration on the iPhone, too. I wonder if this app will also unlock deeper multiplayer features for gaming – with the "full functionality of the Siri Remote" on an iPhone, will multiple users be able to use their iPhones as controllers for games?

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Apple Airs New ‘The Future of Television’ Apple TV Ad

Apple aired a new one-minute Apple TV ad today, once again highlighting the device's new Siri features and native app platform.

Your favorite TV shows, movies, games and more are on Apple TV. The future of television is apps.

The commercial – unlike the company's recent iPhone ads – doesn't feature any voiceover; instead, it draws from Apple TV's selection of apps and content to show brief snippets of popular movies and TV shows from Netflix and iTunes, footage from the NBA app, scenes from The Simpsons and Pixar's Inside Out, and more. As for apps, games such as Asphalt and Guitar Hero Live make an appearance alongside icons of other apps from the Apple TV Home screen.

The commercial is an extended version of Apple's shorter Apple TV videos and is part of a campaign that also includes billboards reminiscent of the company's iconic six-color logo. You can watch the video below.

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tvOS 9.1 Brings Remote App Support for Apple TV

Among the software updates rolled out by Apple today, version 9.1 of tvOS for Apple TV users has also been released with enhancements to navigation and Siri. Most notably, the update restores support for Apple's Remote app for iOS and it brings Siri integration with Apple Music.

Zac Hall, writing for 9to5Mac:

tvOS 9.1 does indeed add Siri support for Apple Music to all users. Apple’s Remote app also works with the new Apple TV for the first time. Apple released the first software update to the new Apple TV, tvOS 9.0.1, in mid November. The update delivered no new features or visual changes, instead likely focusing on bug fixes and performance improvements.

I was surprised to see that these features weren't available at launch on the new Apple TV – typing passwords and any other text on tvOS without the Remote app was especially painful. I'm glad tvOS 9.1 has been released before the end of the year.

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