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)
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Brazil's national currency is the real, but you wouldn't know that by looking at its iTunes storefront. Apple prices everything there in US dollars, which has led Brazil's Consumer Protection Secretariat to write a formal letter to the company requesting an explanation. We're not sure why this has taken so long, given that iTunes came to Brazil two years ago, but in any case Apple now has ten days in which to respond or face the threat of a penalty. Other countries that've tackled Apple over its pricing policies in the past have generally failed to reach a resolution, and in some cases even urging people to take matters into their own hands.
Via: Cult of Mac
Source: Brazilian Ministry of Justice
28/11/2013 - Engadget's Black Friday 2013 roundup
Don't think that the Black Friday shopping rush this year is all about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We've rounded up a smorgasbord of Thanksgiving week deals that should appeal to tech-savvy shoppers of all stripes, whether they're looking for entry-level smartphones or giant 4K TVs. Hop past the break and you'll find bargains that could please the gadget lovers in your life -- and just might spare you from battling the crowds at the mall.
[Image credit: AP]
19/11/2013 - Apple TV update adds Yahoo Screen and PBS apps
Yahoo's been working hard to include support for Apple services in its Screen iOS app, now it's gone one better and launched its video-discovery app on Apple TV. With an emphasis on comedy, Yahoo Screen has been designed to collate the best of web video, including clips from Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, as well as live news, events and music. You'll also be able to browse trending videos and watch Yahoo Originals programming, which are delivered direct to your Apple TV without the need to AirPlay them across. AllThingsD reports that PBS has also quietly pushed a new app, letting users get their Nova, Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, or Downton Abbey fix. Today's update may only available to US users but Apple isn't being shy about broadening the number of Apple TV apps across the globe.
Source: Yahoo Screen (Tumblr)
05/11/2013 - Apple’s 2014 Lineup includes iWatch and HDTV
30/10/2013 - Displays for 4.7-Inch iPhone, Apple HDTV, Retina MacBook Air and iWatch Predicted by NPD DisplaySearch
Until Apple actually produces a new TV related device, rumors about what it might be working on will continue to flow, with no end in sight. While we still don't know what's next out of Cupertino, Multichannel News reports the company has hired a former CableLabs executive for the job of engineering director. Jean-François Mulé served as senior VP of technology development at CableLabs for the last two years, and MCN indicates that before that he worked on a number of IP-based projects like DOCSIS 3.0 and second screen technology. It's still hard to say what Apple may want to build for the living room, but apparently this is the kind of person needed to fill out that "vision of the future," especially if that means working with existing cable and satellite TV services.
Source: Multichannel News
It seems that Apple's taking its little hobby more seriously with each passing day. Not long after adding a slew of new features to Apple TV, the company has quietly added two additional channels to its growing lineup: Major League Soccer and Disney Junior. For its part, the MLS app lets viewers watch live league matches with a $25-per-season subscription, while the latter offering brings video content for young ones but relies on participating cable providers for access, similarly to the Disney Channel and Disney XD. We should mention the pair of channels appear to be only available in the US, so fret not if some of you don't see these show up on your Apple TV's homescreen.
Have a third-gen Apple TV and an iDevice running iOS 7? If you've yet to set up Cupertino's set-top box, you can do so now by simply touching your iPhone or iPad to the Apple TV. Okay, Apple's take on Bump requires a few more steps than that; you'll first need to enable Bluetooth on your iOS 7 device, then connect to the WiFi network you'll use with the Apple TV. (Your machine also needs Apple TV software 6.0 or later.) Still, it sure beats the labor-intensive process of selecting letters on-screen with the included remote. Once you've tapped your iPhone to the set-top box, prompts should appear on both the phone and the TV screen, and you're good to go. Give it a whirl for yourself -- Apple's directions are available via the first source link below.
If you haven't already updated your Apple TV to version 6.0, you'll have to wait: Cupertino has discreetly pulled the software upgrade. Although no official statement has been made, users on Twitter have been reporting connectivity issues and accidental resets throughout the weekend. An unlucky few even saw their devices bricked entirely. Now, manually checked boxes report that version 5.3 is "up to date." There's no word yet when a more stable version of the software will be available for download, but when it is, it should bring users the AirPlay from iCloud support (for devices running iOS 7) and iTunes Radio access Apple promised on Friday.
Apple may not have made any mention of an Apple TV software update at its event earlier this month, but it turns out it did have one set to roll out alongside its new iPhones. Available for download now, version 6.0 is a fairly big upgrade compared to other recent updates, bringing with it support for Apple's new iTunes Radio service, along with new features like AirPlay from iCloud and the ability to browse and buy music from the iTunes store right from the Apple TV. You can now also sync podcasts across your various Apple devices and listen to them on your Apple TV, and view photos and videos you've added to your shared photo streams. The UI, however, hasn't been updated to match iOS 7, remaining mostly unchanged from the most recent redesign.
Update: As All Things D notes, the AirPlay from iCloud feature is only available to devices running iOS 7.%Gallery-slideshow89886%
Source: 9 to 5 Mac