Color us intrigued. Apple seldom offers discounts on any of its devices outside of Black Friday, and yet it just launched a short, US-only promotion (PDF) that gives Apple TV buyers free $25 iTunes gift cards to jumpstart their media libraries. There's no major strings attached -- you just have to buy the device between now and March 5th to get the bonus credit. It sounds like a solid deal, but you may not want to rush to the store right away. The promo comes hot on the heels of rumors of a next-generation Apple TV, which suggests that the crew in Cupertino may be clearing out inventory ahead of a new model. If you're not worried about owning the latest and greatest, though, it's a tempting offer.
Via: 9to5 Mac
Source: Apple (PDF)
If you own one of Dish's Hopper DVRs and have ever been stumped as to what to watch next, you'll want to grab the latest version of Dish Explorer for the iPad. The new app now recommends shows based on your viewing habits; watch a lot of crime dramas and Dish may suggest the others you've missed. The update also introduces direct control over the TV's power and volume, so you won't have to go hunting for that lost remote. Head to the App Store for an upgrade if either new Explorer feature sounds appealing.
Source: App Store
Last year Apple introduced store sheet, a feature that allows developers to offer sell things like music and movies inside their apps without making you leave and head to iTunes. Now a new app from Disney is taking the feature a step further, allowing you to play iTunes purchases in-app as well. The first of its kind, Disney's new Movies Anywhere app not only allows you to purchase and play new Disney movies within the app, it also allows you to stream Disney content you've already purchased from iTunes without downloading it again onto your device.
As long as the app knows you've purchased the movie before, you'll be able stream it for free on your favorite iOS device or on your home computer. As you might expect, movies purchased within the app will also be available through your iTunes library to play on your iPhone or iPad without the Disney app, and can be played on your TV via Airplay. To use the app you'll need to first sign in with both your Disney and iTunes account information. Once you're logged in, it automatically brings in any Disney flicks you've purchased through iTunes previously, as well as any Disney Movie Rewards digital copies you might have redeemed from Blu-ray or DVD purchases.
The app is built using Disney's proprietary digital rights locker, KeyChest. A technology we've been hearing about for years -- and part of the reason Disney/Apple haven't joined in with Ultraviolet digital copies -- it could help Movies Anywhere stretch beyond iOS to other platforms in the future. As originally designed, it can work with any studio, DRM system or digital video store that wishes to participate, and unlock copies purchased via one storefront on any other automatically. That could include Ultraviolet shops like Vudu and Redbox Instant, or those going it alone like Amazon, Google Play and Comcast video on-demand -- not to mention other hardware platforms like Android and Roku. Of course, Disney has talked up the buy-once play-anywhere tech since 2009 and it's only now arriving on a single platform and store, so patience may be required.%Gallery-slideshow181653%
After seven years of hosting the iTunes Festival in the UK, Apple is at last bringing the concert series to the US for 2014. The music extravaganza will be held in Austin from March 11th through the 15th, running alongside South by Southwest (SXSW). It's a much shorter run than in the past, but it will include a mix of well-known American and European artists, ranging from Willie Nelson to London Grammar. As you'd imagine, Apple is using the event as a technological showcase; you'll get to stream live and on-demand performances from both iTunes on the desktop as well as any iOS device. This will all sound familiar to Brits, but it's big news for Americans that no longer have to skip work just to watch the live shows -- even if they can't make it out to Texas.
The post-Jay Leno Tonight Show era starts (again, sorry Conan) shortly on NBC, and with the arrival of Jimmy Fallon the show is also getting an updated tech focus. Companion apps have arrived for iOS and Android devices, with video games, and the ability to view full episodes or clips the day after they air. Interaction with the show includes social media contributions to the hashtag segment, and submissions for video challenges. Second screen TV apps have had an uneven going as of late (GetGlue got acquired and relaunched as TVTag, Yahoo shut down IntoNow to roll it out as a feature in other products and Dijit has also been acquired), we'll see if NBC's latest effort fares any better than The Million Second Quiz did last year. If the apps don't attract attention, there's always The Roots, and hopefully Fallon maintains his penchant for including new gadgets among the usual lineup of guests.
If sources who spoke with Bloomberg News are correct, a new Apple TV could be "introduced" as early as April. Apple is currently in talks with Time Warner Cable, among other programming partners, to add video content to the set-top box before releasing the next version.
The third-generation Apple TV came out just over a year ago, and while it's received software updates, both the design and selection of content haven't changed much since the original launched in 2007. Bloomberg's sources echo earlier rumors, saying the next-gen model could include a reworked interface that allows for easier navigation between different types of content. Naturally, there will also be a faster processor in Cupertino's fourth set-top box. Just don't get too set on that spring timeframe; though Apple may unveil the new product in April, sources say the release would coincide with the holiday season, depending on the company's progress in securing partnerships with TWC and others.
Source: Bloomberg News
Sometimes memory lane is paved in VHS and Beta bricks, other times it's wound around a film reel. Either way, you should really flip those classic video moments up to the cloud already -- it's 2014. With Valentine's Day rolling through, YesVideo -- purveyors of digitized nostalgia -- have taken it upon themselves to offer one Engadget reader the tools to do it. It's ponied up a new iPad Air so you can watch those classic wedding, honeymoon or prom vids in Retina clarity on a slate that weighs little more than a pile of sweet nothings. YesVideo is also giving the winner a $100 gift certificate for its video digitizing and cloud storage services to help them expunge those old formats and make room for that
ridiculous darling pink Valentine's bear. You've got to be in it to win it, so head down to the Rafflecopter widget and take a chance. It might just be your lucky day.
If you're like us, you usually stop using Shazam as soon as you've identifed that catchy tune -- while the software has a lot of features under the hood, they haven't been easy to find. That's why the company is rolling out the first phase of an iPhone app redesign. Its new song interface (available later today) puts real-time lyrics front and center, and a song's music video is just a short hop away. Shazam is also making it easier to buy or stream content, whether it's a hit song or a TV show. iPhone owners should expect further big updates later this month. Android-based listeners will have to be more patient, however, as today's interface revamp won't hit their devices until sometime in the "coming weeks."
Source: App Store
Are you nostalgic for the hysteria when the Beatles first set foot in the US, or just wonder what all the fuss was about? If either is true, you'll be glad to hear that you now have a chance to recreate that commotion on your Apple TV. Apple has quietly launched a Beatles channel on its media hub that will let you stream the British band's entire Ed Sullivan Show performance from 1964, complete with shrieking fans. Naturally, Apple is also using the channel to plug the recently digitized US versions of the group's albums. The concert footage will only stick around for a "limited time," so you'll want to hurry if you'd like to see the Beatles' big moment on a big screen.
Source: 9to5 Mac
28/01/2014 - GetGlue and i.TV combine to create tvtag for iPhone, focus on real-time updates about live TV
After powering second screen connected TV experiences for other companies including DirecTV and Nintendo's TVii app, i.tv acquired TV check-in service GetGlue last year to pull those experiences together. Now, GetGlue is relaunching as tvtag, an advertising-supported one-stop information and social network centered around television watching, full of information from broadcast partners, augmented in real-time by a team of live curators and TV viewers. At launch, the reworked app is available only on the iPhone, but CEO Brad Pelo tells us a version for Android is due in a few days, with a web experience and iPad-ready version launching shortly after that. The i.TV app is sticking around for now, but will be updated in the future, while DirecTV and Nintendo are already lined up for integration with the new platform.
The check-in and sharing features -- and built-in user base -- from GetGlue remain, but it's the curated info that the company expects will separate it from other services. The "taglines" are built by over 50 employees creating high level tags for live TV (covering the majority of what viewers are watching, on any channel), which users then fill in with additional captures, comments and reactions. It's also why tvtag thinks users will choose to open this app over Twitter and Facebook while they're watching TV, with the ability to search info from sources like IMDB and Google, or add to the tagline with their own notes and doodles. Those taglines are available for browsing later for DVR viewing, but this experience is about live TV. For events like last weekend's Grammys or Pro Bowl, and the upcoming Super Bowl, it can push play-by-play updates, as well as constantly refreshed stats and field positions.
Other than the big social networks, competition to provide synced TV info on other screens like your phone, tablet or PC is fierce, with everyone from Google Now, Dijit's recent acquisition Miso and Yahoo's IntoNow offering similar features. IntoNow is one of the most similar, adding the ability to ID TV content via audio and a complete feed of images from live TV channels to the mix. tvtag is more than an app however, and since it can open up access as an SDK or API, we may see its features and content pop up in other apps and on other devices soon. Still, given the following GetGlue has been able to attract we expect to see plenty of tvtag shares popping up in our timelines -- we'll see if its exclusive information and tight TV-focused environment is enough to keep its audience coming back.
Apps like Shazam and Zeebox can listen to songs and TV shows and identify what's playing or what you're watching, but until now the tech hasn't been used much for gaming. A companion application for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor could change that. The Palantir iOS app (named after the networked seeing stones from Lord of the Rings canon) uses the aforementioned audio-sync technology to deliver exclusive content and contextual info (like walkthroughs) by listening in while you play the game. That content is curated from Wikia, which hosts vast reserves of lore, guides and minutia for games and pop culture. Shadow of Mordor doesn't have a release date just yet, but the Palantir app also works on trailers. If you want to give it a go for yourself, we've embedded the debut gameplay video after the jump.
The current Apple TV is long in the tooth, to put it mildly -- the basic design emerged in 2010, and the 2012 refresh was really about keeping up with the Joneses. However, 9to5 Mac claims that there's a substantial update in the pipeline this year. Apple is reportedly "well into testing" a fourth-generation media hub that would include both a reworked (if still iOS-based) interface and new forms of content. Just what that content would be isn't certain. iLounge hears that an Apple TV software revision may bring games and Bluetooth controller support, but it's not clear if this would also entail a full-fledged app platform. If any of the rumors are accurate, we may not have to wait very long for the improved living room experience. The 9to5 tipsters believe that the new Apple TV will likely ship in the first half of the year, and iLounge anticipates new software by March.
Apple's iTunes has long been the de facto virtual storefront for iOS users looking to buy or rent digital content, but now Google's elbowing its way into that tidy ecosystem. The search giant just dropped an iOS version of its Google Play Movies & TV app onto the App Store, giving users an alternate media library to browse. The service will also allow users to purchase films and TV shows from the desktop and view them from any iDevice. Just don't get too jazzed about the Chromecast streaming side of things. We've seen the service hiccup more than we'd like in our time using it. Your mileage may vary, but don't say you weren't warned.
A troop of new Joey devices wasn't the only thing Dish had up its sleeve for CES. In an effort to bring its streaming chops to game consoles, the company has just announced an app for PlayStation that does just that. Dish customers will be able to take advantage of the Hopper's functionality via its Virtual Joey software on both PlayStation 3 and PS4 consoles to access their favorite TV shows without having to switch devices once that marathon gaming session is up. This software also allows for control via either the DualShock 4 or the Dish remote. The app should arrive for download this spring in the PlayStation Store.
The folks at Firecore are working on more than just the latest version of their Infuse media player, and just delivered an updated software package for jailbreaking second generation Apple TVs (the current third gen model has, so far, remained closed). Showing once again that jailbreaks aren't just for the iPhone and iPad, the new version of Seas0npass provides an untethered -- read: it still works after a reboot -- method for Apple TV players running the 5.3 software update that added access to channels like HBO Go and WatchESPN. That's still a step away from the most recent Apple TV 6.0 update that arrived this fall with iTunes Radio and AirPlay from iCloud features, but the team says it's made "some encouraging progress" there. The combination of Seas0npass and aTV Flash (black) lets your hockey puck play a number of new video/audio formats and run home theater software like Plex and XBMC, check out the site for instructions.
Source: Firecore Blog
Ever wish you could turn on the air conditioning without leaving the couch? Samsung's new Smart TV SDK 5.0 will give you the luxury of being that lazy. The programming kit gives the TV control over home appliances, including network-savvy lighting and refrigerators. Developers should also have an easier time building apps thanks to a new web framework that both supports HTML5 and uses Native Client to run software across a wide range of TVs. Apps can run on mobile devices, too. Samsung has already posted a beta SDK, but aspiring big-screen app builders will have to wait until January 6th to get the finished tool.
20/12/2013 - IMDb's latest iOS update makes it easier to follow movie stars without getting arrested
Whatever happened to Joe Carnahan after he directed the 2002 cop classic, NARC? And what the heck is Joaquin Phoenix up to these days (aside from deeply inappropriate love affairs)? The redesigned IMDb app for iOS 7 delivers answers to these questions and more, especially now that it supports shareable "People Lists" that allow you to track the careers of actors, directors, cinematographers and pretty much anyone else who tends to work on good movies. It's slightly tricky to figure things out at first: you have to sign in to the app, create a list and then change the list's type from "Title" to "Name" before it'll let you track individuals. The app also seems to lack the ability to trigger notifications when someone in your list starts work on a new film. Nevertheless, it all works smoothly once you get the hang of it and, if we'd had this feature sooner, we might well have paid more attention to the 2010 remake of The A-Team.
Via: Cult of Mac
Zeebox's value as a TV show companion usually fades quickly once the credits start rolling, but it should be useful around the clock in the wake of the latest iOS app update. A fresh My TV feature lets viewers follow TV shows like they would a Facebook friend; you can now catch news and chat with fans well before an episode airs. Regardless of when you load the app, it should also be easier to join TV discussion rooms. Android users can't join the party just yet, but Zeebox promises a My TV update for their platform in late January.
Source: App Store
The Xbox One is built to blend with its owner's existing TV-watching setup thanks to the HDMI-in, but customers with Verizon FiOS TV can sidestep that entirely. FiOS has launched a version of its app -- already available on the Xbox 360 and mobile devices -- for the Xbox One that promises 74 live channels streamed over the internet. Already announced as part of the first wave of entertainment apps for the Xbox One, Verizon's app makes it the first TV provider to stream live TV directly to the box. TV viewing with the Xbox One is unusually seamless with the passthrough, but with FiOS, it's just another app like Netflix or Hulu Plus, complete with built-in Kinect support for voice and gesture controls.
If your FiOS cable box is already plugged into the Xbox One, it means the two can be used together for picture-alongside-picture with the snap feature, or that you can use the Xbox somewhere in the house without the cable box at all. Features we'd like to see are access to video on-demand, and integrated control/awareness for DVR recordings so we can ditch the remote entirely, and the ability to pin shows directly to the OneGuide, but so far, it's just live TV. The app is live in the Xbox One store but -- at least for now -- it's only useful if you live in a FiOS area and have the service.
The holidays are upon us and the New Year is rapidly approaching, so it's probably time to ditch the cryptic text messages and get on the horn for a proper chat with friends and family. The folks at Numbridge are offering some incentive for those who choose nice over naughty by giving away a svelte new iPad mini with Retina display to one lucky reader. Numbridge is the iPhone and Android app that's "redefining proximity" by making all international calls into local ones and freeing you from WiFi and broadband dependence. The rates are said to be some of the lowest on offer, with access to 50 countries around the globe, smart caller ID and even local callback numbers. So while you're listening to that distant relative tell the "longest story ever," you could also be enjoying a session of Plants vs. Zombies 2 on one of Apple's latest slates -- just don't forget to turn the sound off! All you need to do is head to the Rafflecopter widget below and enter for your chance to win.
17/12/2013 - Now TV app brings Sky Sports to Apple TV in the UK
UK Apple TV owners can now access live sport following the launch of a Sky Sports app from Now TV. Already available on smartphones, tablets, consoles and its own set-top box, Now TV's Sky Sports Day Pass lets owners of Apple's set-top box access 24 hours of coverage from Sky's six sports channels for £9.99. Although Netflix and Apple's own iTunes Movies channels are live on Apple TV, Sky has not yet brought its own film and entertainment offerings to the platform. We've contacted Sky for comment on its future plans and will update you in due course.
16/12/2013 - LG finally joins the Spotify Smart TV party
Spotify has been available on a number of LG's home theater products since March, but only now are Smart TV owners getting the chance to enjoy it on their flatscreens. The company announced today that the new app is coming to all of its 2013 model Smart TVs, but it will only be available to Premium account holders. While Spotify now offers free streaming to mobile and tablet users, the LG app requires a monthly subscription, but a month's free trial may soften the blow if you've yet to sign up. With LG in the bag, the music service now supports three major TV makers, having already launched apps for Samsung and Philips sets. It gives the company a considerable advantage over its streaming rivals, which include Rdio, Google and Apple, by letting users access over 20 million tracks from an ever-expanding range of devices. LG says the new Smart TV app will go live in over 30 countries over the coming days, giving you the perfect opportunity to load up your playlists in time for Christmas.
11/12/2013 - Apple TV adds Watch ABC, Crackle and Bloomberg apps
Not to be outshined by Google's announcement that more apps were joining the Chromecast revolution, Apple TV today made its entertainment repertoire a bit richer. As 9to5Mac points out, Cupertino's tiny box is now giving viewers access to applications including Bloomberg (which will be streaming news 24/7 as well as offer on-demand content), Watch ABC, Crackle and, for Korean speakers, KORTV. These new additions show that Apple is getting increasingly passionate about its hobby, as over the past months we've seen more and more apps and features become available. It's worth mentioning that being able to enjoy these in full depends on the country you're in and whether you have the proper cable subscription. So, power on your Apple TV and let us know in the comments how you're liking the fresh content thus far.
05/12/2013 - Plex multimedia app gets a new UI to match iOS 7
Plex might be a straggler in the iOS 7 app update parade, but as they say: better late than never. The refreshed app comes with a new look for Apple's latest mobile platform, but since it retains most of the old interface's elements, you can't exactly call it a complete overhaul. Other than this mostly skin-deep change, this release also brings a new video player, an "improved music player" and the ability to sniff out URLs from the clipboard for queuing to its myPlex cloud-synced platform. Finally, its creators peppered in a bunch of bug fixes, including ones for random freezes and syncing errors, to make version 3.3 more palatable and perhaps more worth its $5 price in the App Store.