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Posts tagged with "tvOS"

tvOS 11.2 Introduces HDR and Frame Rate Options to Apple TV 4K and Sports Feature

Apple has released tvOS 11.2, which adds a new settings option to 4K AppleTVs that can automatically match the frame rate and dynamic range the content being played. The option, called ‘Match Content,’ is found under the Video and Audio section of the AppleTV’s Settings app. Under Match Content, users can choose to ‘Match Dynamic Range’ or ‘Match Frame Rate,’ which can automatically detect and set the original frame rate of content.

The fourth generation and 4K Apple TVs also gained a Sports tab in the TV app. The new section features live sports broadcasts and lets users pick their favorite teams to follow, get alerts when the score of an ongoing game is close, and view scores and schedules.


tvOS 11: The MacStories Review


WWDC was big this year, introducing new iPad and Mac hardware, Apple’s arrival into the smart speaker market with HomePod, and a variety of exciting software releases across iOS, macOS, and watchOS. But one of Apple’s main platforms was almost entirely overlooked: tvOS. During the WWDC keynote we received word that Amazon Prime Video would be coming to the Apple TV, but nothing else. Sessions held later in the conference revealed that a new version of tvOS did exist, and that it would be coming this year, but the details prove that it’s the smallest release in the OS’s young life. You could say that the focus of tvOS 11 is incremental improvements; the updates here are nice, but they hardly merit a major numbered release.

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Joe Steel’s 2017 tvOS Wish List

Good follow-up by Joe Steel (who’s been covering and critiquing the Apple TV for a while) to last year’s tvOS wishes, which were already spot-on.

I found his assessment of the Siri Remote sadly relatable:

This remote was an abomination that should have never made it out of the design lab it was drafted in. It was conjured up by designers from another world who only had TV remote controls described to them using words in their native tongue. I want something that can be held comfortably, doesn’t shatter, and has asymmetry that you can feel to know what you are holding, and what you are pushing, without looking at the tiny monolith. I wanted it in 2015, and I still want it.

Whatever touch surface they include should be fine-tuned to work with a human thumb instead of whatever capuchin monkey the remote’s original designers were imagining.

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Airfoil for macOS Regains Full Apple TV Compatibility

When Apple released tvOS 10.2 in late March, it broke audio streaming to the Apple TV from Rogue Amoeba’s macOS app, Airfoil. Since then, Rogue Amoeba has been working on two fronts to restore streaming to the Apple TV. The first results of those efforts were seen last month when Rogue Amoeba released a tvOS app called Airfoil Satellite TV that restored streaming as long as the app was running on your Apple TV.

Today, Rogue Amoeba announced that it has restored full Apple TV streaming functionality to Airfoil for macOS.

We’ve got a great update for Airfoil for Mac today which enables it to once again send audio directly to all versions of the Apple TV. Airfoil for Mac 5.6 is a free update, available immediately by selecting “Check for Update” from the Airfoil menu. We strongly encourage all users to move up to Airfoil 5.6 immediately.

With the Airfoil update, Airfoil Satellite TV is no longer necessary to stream to the Apple TV, but Rogue Amoeba plans to maintain it as a fall-back in case future tvOS updates break Airfoil streaming again.

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Rogue Amoeba Releases Airfoil Satellite TV for the Apple TV

Airfoil by Rogue Amoeba is a Mac app that lets you stream audio from a Mac to multiple connected devices using technologies like Bluetooth and AirPlay. I reviewed version 5 of Airfoil last year, and was impressed with its ability to stream audio to every device I could find in my home and keep them in perfect sync.

Rogue Amoeba has done some impressive reverse engineering of Apple’s OSes to make Airfoil work. The upside is Airfoil is a remarkable audio hub for anyone who wants to stream audio to virtually any connected device. The downside is that changes to Apple’s OSes can break Airfoil, which is what happened when Apple released tvOS 10.2. That update broke Airfoil streaming to Apple TVs that updated to the latest version of tvOS.

Since tvOS 10.2 was released about a month ago, Rogue Amoeba has been working on two solutions for customers. The first is Airfoil Satellite TV, a tvOS app that was released earlier this week. The app, which can receive an audio stream from Airfoil for macOS, is available as a free download on the Apple TV App Store. When you open Airfoil Satellite TV on your Apple TV, a new audio destination appears in Airfoil on your Mac named ‘Airfoil Satellite on [Your Apple TV Name].’ Pick that destination and music starts streaming from your Mac to your Apple TV.

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Apple Increases tvOS App Size Limit to 4 GB

Nice change for tvOS app developers announced today by Apple:

The size limit of a tvOS app bundle has increased from 200 MB to 4 GB, so you can include more media in your submission and provide a complete, rich user experience upon installation. Also, tvOS apps can use On-Demand Resources to host up to 20 GB of additional content on the App Store.

On one hand, this prepares the platform for 4K support and larger file sizes in the future, and it makes another step towards legitimizing the Apple TV as a micro-console (in addition to bigger app downloads, developers can also require controllers in their games for tvOS 10).

However, the 64 GB version of the 4th generation Apple TV has been around for over a year now with little explanation from Apple as to why customers would want to spend more for increased storage, and this feels like lifting a limitation because why not.

I’m curious to see what happens now, particularly in terms of game releases on tvOS. This is a welcome change for game developers, but we haven’t seen any major tvOS exclusives so far.

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TV App Review

Today Apple released tvOS 10.1 and iOS 10.2, both of which bring several additions to the operating systems. Chief among all additions, the clear centerpiece of these updates is a brand new app called TV. When Tim Cook announced this app onstage earlier this fall, he plainly stated its purpose: TV exists to create a unified TV experience, one place to access all TV shows and movies.

Does it succeed? Is this the best television experience available today?

Before answering those questions, it’s important to consider the history of underwhelming television endeavors that brought Apple to this point.

Steve Jobs introduced the first Apple TV set-top box over ten years ago, in September 2006. That product unveiling came at the tail end of a keynote focused on the iPod and iTunes, where Jobs announced the additions of Movies and TV Shows to the iTunes Store. At its birth, the Apple TV was not meant to revolutionize television; it was made to support the iTunes ecosystem Apple was building.

Throughout its first three iterations, the Apple TV was never a hallmark product like the iPod, Mac, or iPhone; it was simply a hobby for the company. It was Apple dipping its toes in the TV market. But the fourth generation Apple TV represented a shift. With modern hardware, a new operating system dubbed tvOS, and a vision that the future of TV is apps, Apple dove full force into the television market. It set out to create the best TV experience possible.

The newly released TV app is a significant step forward in realizing that goal.

TV is intended to address a modern issue. While the future of television may be apps, up until now Apple’s implementation of that vision has been lacking; it’s been lacking because the more video apps you have, the more navigating it requires to find the content you love. More time navigating means less time watching. TV was built to solve this problem.

The TV app on tvOS and iOS centralizes content from a wide array of video apps in one place, presenting that content in a simple and familiar interface. No one wants to juggle an assortment of video apps, jumping from one app to another to find the content they’re looking for. We’ve all learned to tolerate it, but none of us wants it. So Apple built TV to be the new hub of our video-watching life.

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Single Sign-on Launches for tvOS and iOS

Today Apple launched its new Single Sign-on feature to all devices running version 10 or later of tvOS and iOS. The feature requires no software update or any other user action to get it.

Announced at this year’s WWDC, Single Sign-on was originally intended to ship with tvOS 10 in September, but ended up being delayed to later in the fall. The feature, which is available only in the U.S., allows users to enter their TV credentials once to gain access to content their TV plan entitles them to from a variety of video apps like NBC or USA NOW. Its delay was a disappointment to anyone who has experienced the annoyance of repeatedly proving that they pay for cable or satellite service. Now that Single Sign-on has officially arrived, its usefulness depends entirely on whether your TV provider is a launch partner.

Apple has a support page listing the details of which TV providers currently support Single Sign-on, and also which apps support the feature.

TV Providers:

  • CenturyLink Prism
  • DirecTV
  • Dish
  • GVTC
  • GTA
  • Hawaiian Telcom
  • Hotwire
  • MetroCast
  • Sling

Apps:

  • A&E (iOS only)
  • Bravo Now (tvOS only)
  • E! Now (tvOS only)
  • Hallmark Channel Everywhere (iOS and tvOS)
  • History (iOS only)
  • Lifetime (iOS only)
  • NBC (tvOS only)
  • Syfy Now (tvOS only)
  • Telemundo Now (tvOS only)
  • USA NOW (tvOS only)
  • Watch HGTV (iOS and tvOS)
  • Watch Food Network (iOS and tvOS)
  • Watch Cooking Channel (iOS and tvOS)
  • Watch DIY (iOS and tvOS)
  • Watch Travel Channel (iOS and tvOS)

Look for Apple to update these lists in the weeks and months to come as more TV providers and apps come on board.


tvOS Apps Can Now Be Purchased on iOS Devices and Macs

When the fourth generation Apple TV was introduced, Apple proclaimed that the future of TV is apps. tvOS debuted complete with its own App Store. The trouble was, though, there was no way to link to tvOS apps or buy them anywhere other than on your Apple TV. All developers could do was ask potential customers to search for their app on the Apple TV App Store, a cumbersome process that made it difficult to acquire new customers.

Apple has been chipping away at the problem all year. In April, it introduced the ability to link to web previews of tvOS apps. The previews didn’t include buttons to buy or download tvOS apps, but it did allow potential customers to read app descriptions and view screenshots. Then in September with tvOS 10, Apple added an automatic downloads option to tvOS. That meant that if a tvOS app was associate with an iOS app, it could be installed automatically on your Apple TV if you bought or downloaded the related iOS app, effectively making the link to the iOS app a proxy for its tvOS counterpart.

Apple TV-only apps can be purchased on the iOS App Store and automatically downloaded to your Apple TV.

Apple TV-only apps can be purchased on the iOS App Store and automatically downloaded to your Apple TV.

Today, Apple added tvOS apps to its iTunes Link Maker web app and enabled tvOS app purchases on iOS devices, even if the tvOS app is available only on the Apple TV. iTunes Link Maker lets you search for and generate links to iTunes content. tvOS app links generated by the iTunes Link Maker open in iTunes on macOS and the App Store app on iOS where the apps can be purchased or downloaded. If automatic downloads are enabled on your Apple TV, any apps acquired this way should show up on your Apple TV the next time you turn it on. Links generated with the iTunes Link Maker also work with the iTunes Affiliate Linking program. This means that for the first time a customer can click or tap a link and purchase a tvOS app without leaving their Mac or iOS device and have it waiting for them they sit down in front of the TV.

This is a welcome change for tvOS-only apps that greatly expands developers’ ability to reach potential customers. The change is not, however, without limits. As of the publication of this article, tvOS apps do not appear to be searchable from the iOS App Store’s Search tab. In addition, tvOS app results are not currently returned when the iTunes Search API is queried, though there seem to have been changes made to the API in anticipation of adding tvOS apps. Notwithstanding those limits, the changes today should help make tvOS-only apps a more viable option for developers.