Rumor: Apple TV software update expected for September 18th, will provide additional AirPlay features

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Date: Wednesday, September 11th, 2013, 08:30
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

There shall be nifty new Apple TV software in the relatively near future…

Per AllThingsD, sources have indicated that come next week, Apple will update its set-top box, the Apple TV, with new software that will offer enhanced AirPlay capabilities with the software update reportedly set to arrive on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

While Apple apparently isn’t planning on updating the Apple TV hardware, the company is set to launch an “internal overhaul” that will “tweak” the current AirPlay feature, which allows users to stream content from their iOS device or Mac to the set-top box.

After the update, users will reportedly be able to stream purchased content from the iTunes Store to another person’s Apple TV, even if it isn’t set up with their Apple ID and password. That media will reportedly be streamed directly from the cloud, rather than requiring a local device.

The tweak gives the Apple TV an ability offered by Google’s new Chromecast, a US$35 media streaming dongle the search giant launched this summer.

Details on Apple’s alleged software updates headed for the Apple TV were first revealed last week, suggesting that the latest version will gain additional channels, content and functionality. Apple has been gradually adding new channels to the device in recent months, with the latest push supplying content from Vevo, Disney, the Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel. Prior to that, in June, Apple added HBO Go, WatchESPN, Sky News, CrunchyRoll, and Qello.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV out of stock on online store, next-gen units possible in near term

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Date: Friday, September 6th, 2013, 06:00
Category: Apple TV, News

When the stock runs out, the new stuff is on its way.

Or that’s what one tends to hope.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has either run out of stock or suspended sales of refurbished Apple TVs through its online store, possibly hinting that a new version of the device is in the offing.

As noted by reader Brian, the Online Apple Store’s refurbished product webpage no longer shows the Apple TV as available for sale. Apple recently cut the price of the refurbished device to US$75 in early August, down from US$85 as seen in the above image.

While it is possible that Apple has simply run out or suspended sales of refurbished units, the timing of the stockout jibes with recent rumors of a possible product refresh. A report on Tuesday noted Apple took receipt of three fairly large shipments from Chinese partner manufacturer BYD Precision in August, the contents of each described as “Set Top Boxes.” The information was discovered in bills of lading from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Until the past few days, there have been little to no rumors regarding a new Apple TV, as most media attention has been focused on an anticipated iPhone lineup refresh. However, Apple has been actively updating the existing set-top streamer’s content, adding channels like Vevo, Disney, Weather and Smithsonian in late August, while a beta of the next Apple TV software released in July was found to have reinstated iTunes purchasing.

Apple last refreshed its Apple TV in March 2012, adding 1080p output to the unit while retaining the prior model’s design.

The Cupertino, Calif., company has scheduled a media event for Sept. 10 which is expected to see the unveiling of new iPhone models. Although mere speculation, it is possible that Apple may be planning to announce a new Apple TV product alongside the handsets.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV update closes security hole, prevents PlexConnect client from working

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Date: Wednesday, August 28th, 2013, 06:56
Category: Apple TV, News

The update didn’t go exactly as planned.

Per The Unofficial Apple Weblog and MacRumors, the Apple TV update yesterday that added five new channels to the set-top box. However, the also prevents the PlexConnect streaming media client from running on the Apple TV. Released in June, PlexConnect allowed Apple TV users to view stored movies on remote servers right through Apple’s device without a hack. However, with yesterday’s update, PlexConnect has been blocked:

“The client, called PlexConnect, used a hack to get video from the Plex Media Server onto the Apple TV. A small Python program on the Mac intercepted DNS requests from the Movie Trailers app on the Apple TV and instead returned a custom XML feed that delivered a list of media and movie streams to the device.

Now, however, Apple has closed the loophole. Previously, the Trailers app used regular HTTP requests and the PlexConnect app intercepted those requests. Now, the Trailers app uses HTTPS and it is likely impossible for the Plex programmers to overcome it.”

Plex’s developers stated that they’re sorry to hear Apple has blocked PlexConnect and can only hope that Apple will eventually release an official Apple TV SDK so developers can make apps with Apple’s blessing.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV update adds support for Vevo, Disney, Weather Channel and Smithsonian Channel

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Date: Tuesday, August 27th, 2013, 07:41
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

The Apple TV console received several new channels via an update today.

Per AppleInsider, an update released for the set top box added Vevo, Disney Channel, Disney XD, Weather Channel, and content from the Smithsonian Channel.

The launch of new content options on Apple TV comes just days after it was revealed that Apple had inked a deal with Vevo to provide music video content to its HDTV accessory.

Apple has been steadily adding channels to the Apple TV through new dedicated apps throughout 2013. The last major update came in June, when Apple added HBO Go, WatchESPN, Sky News, CrunchyRoll and Qello.

Established programming partners on the Apple TV also include Hulu Plus, Netflix, Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, Vimeo, YouTube, Flickr, and The Wall Street Journal.

The next major direction for Apple TV may be live and on demand content from cable providers. Apple is said to have been working with Time Warner Cable to provide streaming content to existing cable subscribers without the need to have a dedicated table box.

Tuesday’s update also arrives amidst rumors that Apple is in the process of negotiating directly with content providers for a new product category that may be a realization of the company’s long-rumored television set. It’s been said that Apple has found little success in negotiations with cable providers, prompting the company to turn to the content providers themselves.

The update can be installed by heading to the “General” settings on the Apple TV, then choosing “Software Update” and letting the unit locate, download and install its updated operating system.

One rumor from earlier this month suggested that Apple could announce a new television product of some sort as soon as November. While that product may not be a full-fledged television set, it was said the supposed product is likely to include some sort of enhanced control functionality.

Apple’s future ambitions in the TV space were hinted at with the company’s acquisition of Matcha.tv earlier this month. The small startup company provided a second-screen iOS app connected to various content outlets like cable TV, Internet streams, and digital storefronts.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple purchases content aggregator Matcha.tv, may be planning new features for Apple TV services

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Date: Wednesday, August 14th, 2013, 07:55
Category: Apple TV, Finance, News, Software

applelogo_silver

It’s the acquisitions that point to interesting stuff on the horizon.

Per All Things D and VentureBeat, Apple has acquired a small startup called Matcha.tv, which provided a second-screen iOS app connected to various content outlets like cable TV, Internet streams and digital storefronts.

Citing sources familiar with the story, VentureBeat reports that Apple acquired Matcha.tv for an estimated US$1 million to US$1.5 million. As part of the agreement, the firm’s founders will be assimilated into Apple’s team for at least two years.

Shuttered in May, Matcha.tv was an aggregator for content from popular streaming sites, cable TV and digital video stores. The erstwhile app supported Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, iTunes and cable networks like Comcast, among others.

In addition to arranging content, users were able to manage viewed content and receive recommendations for future viewing. A social networking element was also included in-app to generate recommended media and provide a form of interactivity.

While Apple has yet to implement any of the firm’s technology into the Apple TV, the buyout suggests the company could have something brewing for an upcoming software update or even a new product.

Apple has become increasingly interested in expanding its “beloved hobby” beyond its current capabilities. In June, a software update brought HBO GO, WatchESPN, Sky News and other channels to the small set-top streamer. More recently, a report claimed popular music platform Vevo is working on an app that will bring 24/7 music to Apple TV.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple lowers price of refurbished Apple TV units to $75

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Date: Wednesday, July 31st, 2013, 13:02
Category: Apple TV, News, retail

A little competition sometimes brings out a decent price.

Per AppleInsider, Apple has lowered the price of its refurbished Apple TV units to US$75, knocking 25 percent off the price of a new model.

The price drop could reflect Apple’s reaction to Google’s salvo against the Apple TV, which currently rules the roost among streaming devices. The refurbished model is now just over twice the price of Google’s Chromecast, but it also comes with a 1-year Apple warranty and a much wider feature set than Google’s streaming device.

Most recently, Apple added iTunes music purchasing to its set-top box, and a number of video apps have added AirPlay streaming capabilities over the last few months. Also, users may soon be able to use a touch to configure option to automatically set up their Apple TV devices in the near future.

Inside, the refurbished model has an Apple A5 processor, and it is compatible with high-definition televisions with HDMI and capable of 1080p or 720p at 60/50Hz. It can be purchased directly from Apple, with the refurbished device shipping within 24 hours. Depending on a customer’s location, it may also be available for in-store pickup.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple, Time Warner close in on Apple TV content deal

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Date: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013, 10:32
Category: Apple TV, News

time-warner

It never fails to have good content available for your customers.

Per Bloomberg, Apple and U.S. cable company Time Warner are closing in on a deal that will give subscribers access to cable channels via Apple TV, which also claims the Cupertino company has taken on Hulu media marketing chief Pete Distad to help secure content, according to one report.

Citing sources close to the story, Bloomberg reported Tuesday that Apple and Time Warner plan to announce the agreement in the coming months once a deal has been solidified. It is unknown what channels will be offered if and when a deal is finally struck, but access will likely be for existing cable subscribers only.

While a Time Warner Cable spokesperson said the company has “no agreement with [Apple],” it has similar content deals in place for Roku’s set-top box, as well as Microsoft’s Xbox game console. The company already allows subscribers to watch certain channels on iOS devices with its TWC TV app, which is also available for Android.

In addition to the Time Warner arrangement, the publication claims Apple has hired Hulu’s now former vice president of marketing and distribution Pete Distad to help executives with upcoming negotiations with media and cable companies.

No further details were divulged regarding the executive’s hire, but Distad’s bio on Hulu’s website says he is in charge of “subscriber acquisition and retention, paid, on-channel, and brand marketing, distribution and promotional partnerships, and content marketing.”

Apple has become more aggressive in acquiring content for its Apple TV “hobby,” most recently adding channels HBO GO, WatchESPN, and more to the small streaming device.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Apple TV update offers HBO Go, ESPN, Sky News, other changes

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Date: Thursday, June 20th, 2013, 06:18
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

The new Apple TV update is in.

And it offers some nifty stuff.

Per The Mac Observer, Apple expanded its content lineup for Apple TV on Wednesday when it announced that HBO GO and WatchESPN are both available directly through the home entertainment device. Along with HBO and ESPN, Apple also added Sky News, Crunchyroll and Qello to the Apple TV lineup.

Adding the new stations to Apple TV requires a software update that will install automatically as part of the weekly update check cycle, or you can force the update to install now by navigating to Settings > General > Update Software on your Apple TV.

Earlier this year CW announced that it will be bringing its shows to Apple TV as well. At the time, CEO Mark Pedowitz said viewers won’t need a paid subscription to watch the network’s shows, although he didn’t say exactly when they’ll be available.

HBO GO and WatchESPN require cable TV subscriptions just like other premium channels, so be sure to check with your cable provider and set up a login and password as needed.

If you’ve tried the new update and have any feedback, let us know what you think over in the comments.

Apple offers replacement program for certain third-gen Apple TV units, cites Wi-Fi issues

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Date: Tuesday, April 16th, 2013, 06:59
Category: Apple TV, News

Well, this is why they invented recall and replacement programs in the first place.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple has informed its official retail stores, AppleCare employees, and authorized resellers that a small number of third-generation Apple TV units have Wi-Fi issues. These issues surround not being able to locate a Wi-Fi network, unable to join a network, and dropped or intermittent connections.

Apple has determined that a very small number of Apple TV (3rd generation) products might experience one of these Wi-Fi related connectivity issues: Cannot locate network, Unable to join network, Dropped or intermittent connection.

If an Apple technician determines that an applicable Apple TV has these issues, the unit can be replaced as part of a replacement program that Apple has begun because of these WiFi issues. Apple says that replacements can be offered free of charge up to two years after the device’s purchase date.

Here are the serial number pairs that are eligible:


numberpairs

Earlier this year, Apple silently began shipping a tweaked version of its third-generation Apple TV. This new model, as revealed in FCC filings, features new Broadcom wireless chips. It is plausible, we speculate, that the change in WiFi parts could have been in response to these Wi-Fi issues in some third-generation models.

If you’ve seen these issues with your third-gen Apple TV unit or have looked into the replacement program, let us know about your experience in the comments.

Apple TV updated to 5.2.1, adds bug fixes, redesigned Hulu interface

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Date: Wednesday, March 20th, 2013, 06:49
Category: Apple TV, News, Software

When in doubt, go for a bit of a redesign.

Per 9to5Mac, Apple released its Apple TV 5.2.1 operating system on Tuesday. The update features bug fixes, security fixes and a redesigned Hulu interface that makes it easier and quicker to access content. Like other Apple TV features, the updated Hulu section now has a top-bar with categories. Users can now jump into each individual category to access content.

Apple TV users on the latest iOS version will receive the new interface automatically. Apple added Hulu to the Apple TV last summer after settling some “political” issues with the content provider. Apple is rumored to be adding HBO Go to the Apple TV later this year.