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Apple releases Apple TV 3.0 software with redesigned interface

post #1 of 151
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Apple on Thursday introduced its new Apple TV 3.0 software, which features a redesigned main menu that makes navigating content simpler and faster, the company says.

Users can now watch iTunes Extras and iTunes LP in fullscreen with their Apple TV, as well as listen to Genius Mixes and Internet radio through their home theater system. The new Apple TV software is available immediately free of charge to existing Apple TV owners.

"The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio."

A summary of the new features in Apple TV 3.0:

Experience iTunes Extras: Buy select movies with iTunes Extras and take your entertainment beyond the credits and behind the scenes. Access special features, watch interviews and trailers, view photos, and more right from Apple TV.

iTunes LP, now on your TV: The visual experience of the record album returns with iTunes LP. Download select albums and experience a beautifully designed interactive world -- many are created by the artists -- full screen on your Apple TV. While you listen to your favorite songs, you can dive into animated lyrics and liner notes, watch performance videos, view artist and band photos, and enjoy other bonus materials.

Genius Mixes: This new feature searches an iTunes library, finds songs that go great together, and creates multiple mixes, all automatically.

Visual aids -- Events and Faces: Apple TV brings the ease and organization of iPhoto to the big screen with Events and Faces. Events lets users flip through photos grouped by event, like "Beach house" or "Vegas trip." Faces uses face detection to identify people in photos and face recognition to match faces that look like the same person. Click the Faces view and Apple TV shows you a corkboard featuring a snapshot of each person named in a photo collection.

Streaming Internet radio: Browse thousands of streaming radio stations and every genre imaginable, including rock, reggae, classical, and jazz. Just click a station and begin streaming. Apple TV now includes stations in high-quality HE-AAC formats for your listening pleasure.
Apple describes iTunes LP as "the next evolution of the music album, delivering a rich, immersive experience for select albums on the iTunes Store by combining beautiful design with expanded visual features like live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more."

Meanwhile Apple TV 3.0 users also gain the ability to listen to Genius Mixes through their home theater system and hear up to 12 endless mixes of songs that go together, automatically generated from their iTunes library. Users can also tap into Internet radio, allowing them to browse and listen to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as tag favorite stations to listen to later.

The redesigned main menu on Apple TV gives users instant access to their favorite content. Recently rented or purchased movies, as well as other content including TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube, are accessible directly from the new main menu.



Apple TV's support of HD photos has also been enhanced with iPhoto Events, which simplifies finding favorite photos, as well as iPhoto Faces, which gives access to photos organized by people identified in iPhoto.

In total, Apple TV users have direct access to a catalog of over 8,000 Hollywood films on iTunes including over 2,000 in HD video available for rent or purchase. Users can also choose from a selection of 11 million songs, 10,000 music videos and over 50,000 TV episodes to purchase directly from their Apple TV or browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 175,000 free video and audio podcasts.

Earlier Thursday, Apple updated the terms of service for its iTunes Store, noting that Apple TV 3.0 was necessary to view iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content via the set top box device. Both formats debuted in September alongside the release of iTunes 9, bringing bonus content to movies and albums purchased through Apple.

The TuneKit JavaScript framework on which both iTunes LP and iTunes Extras are based uses open Web standards like HTML and CSS. The content is designed for a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution, which exactly fits the HDTV output resolution of Apple TV, and could even scale down to a 480p display. When it debuted, Appleinsider first discovered the TuneKit format includes references in its HTML meta tags to "hdtv-fullscreen" and "hdtv-cursor-off."

Thursday's update marks the first major update for the Apple TV since early 2008, when the "Take 2" 2.0 software was released. That update enabled movie rentals with just the click of a button.

The new Apple TV software is available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers. The 160GB Apple TV is available for a suggested retail price of $229 (US). Apple TV requires an 802.11b/g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV.

post #2 of 151
Woot! The ATV just gets better and better!
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Been using Apples since 1978 and Macs since 1984
Long on AAPL so biased. Strong advocate for separation of technology and politics on AI.
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post #3 of 151
Apple Rules! IS there anything they can't do?
post #4 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Woot! The ATV just gets better and better!

as long as apple do not release a raid home nas to serve atv to me it's useless. I am not prepared to run the mac solely on the basis of serving to the atv. and add some pvr capabilities for crying out loud. (as far as I m aware the indepent solutions for jailbreaking and running on the apple tv do not allow that so far right?)

btw, does anyone know if the nas servers with integrated iTunes serving functionality can interface with the atv?
post #5 of 151
argh, now all the cool apple tv hacks will have to be redesigned. that new menu looks like it's going to make adding more options more difficult.
post #6 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Apple on Thursday introduced its new Apple TV 3.0 software, which features a redesigned main menu that makes navigating content simpler and faster, the company says.

Users can now watch iTunes Extras and iTunes LP in fullscreen with their Apple TV, as well as listen to Genius Mixes and Internet radio through their home theater system. The new Apple TV software is available immediately free of charge to existing Apple TV owners.

Apple describes iTunes LP as "the next evolution of the music album, delivering a rich, immersive experience for select albums on the iTunes Store by combining beautiful design with expanded visual features like live performance videos, lyrics, artwork, liner notes, interviews, photos, album credits and more."

Meanwhile Apple TV 3.0 users also gain the ability to listen to Genius Mixes through their home theater system and hear up to 12 endless mixes of songs that go together, automatically generated from their iTunes library. Users can also tap into Internet radio, allowing them to browse and listen to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as tag favorite stations to listen to later.

"The new software for Apple TV features a simpler and faster interface that gives you instant access to your favorite content," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of Internet Services. "HD movies and HD TV shows from iTunes have been a huge hit with Apple TV customers, and with Apple TV 3.0 they get great new features including iTunes Extras, Genius Mixes and Internet radio."

The redesigned main menu on Apple TV gives users instant access to their favorite content. Recently rented or purchased movies, as well as other content including TV shows, music, podcasts, photos and YouTube, are accessible directly from the new main menu.



Apple TV's support of HD photos has also been enhanced with iPhoto Events, which simplifies finding favorite photos, as well as iPhoto Faces, which gives access to photos organized by people identified in iPhoto.

In total, Apple TV users have direct access to a catalog of over 8,000 Hollywood films on iTunes including over 2,000 in HD video available for rent or purchase. Users can also choose from a selection of 11 million songs, 10,000 music videos and over 50,000 TV episodes to purchase directly from their Apple TV or browse and enjoy the iTunes Store podcast directory of over 175,000 free video and audio podcasts.

Earlier Thursday, Apple updated the terms of service for its iTunes Store, noting that Apple TV 3.0 was necessary to view iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content via the set top box device. Both formats debuted in September alongside the release of iTunes 9, bringing bonus content to movies and albums purchased through Apple.

The new Apple TV software is available as a free automatic download to all Apple TV customers. The 160GB Apple TV is available for a suggested retail price of $229 (US). Apple TV requires an 802.11b/g/n wireless network or 10/100 Base-T Ethernet networking, a broadband Internet connection and a high definition widescreen TV.

LOVE IT!!

And for AppleTV / iPhone users, the update to the iPhone remote App is huge! For media controls I didn't notice much of a difference, but for navigating the menus it's infinitely faster and the ability to use the iPhone keyboard to do YouTube and Podcast searches just makes the whole product a pleasure to use.

THANK YOU APPLE!!
post #7 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by lopsided View Post

argh, now all the cool apple tv hacks will have to be redesigned. that new menu looks like it's going to make adding more options more difficult.

Most people don't use them though, so it's not that big a deal unless you are one of the developers.

Personally, I'm a little underwhelmed by the new "features" but I like the new menu look a lot.
post #8 of 151
I think the addition of internet radio is very welcome.

I like my @TV overall - I got all that I paid for, and then some - but I do wish that Apple would try and take it to the next level, by making it a true multimedia hub.

One minor peeve: There are few things worse than viewing your favorite band on Youtube looking horribly pixelated on a 46-inch flat panel screen. Surely there must be a way that @TV can enable transmission of a smaller-sized image on to the screen? Please?
post #9 of 151
While 3.0 is much needed with freshly improved UI, I am a bit underwhelmed. I was hoping for at least one major new feature, either USB external disk support, TV subscription, Netflix streaming, Hulu, or Vimeo.

I am just guessing here, but I suspect new remote will be included with updated 3.0 Apple TV packaging.
post #10 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I think the addition of internet radio is very welcome.

I like my @TV overall - I got all that I paid for, and then some - but I do wish that Apple would try and take it to the next level, by making it a true multimedia hub.

One minor peeve: There are few things worse than viewing your favorite band on Youtube looking horribly pixelated on a 46-inch flat panel screen. Surely there must be a way that @TV can enable transmission of a smaller-sized image on to the screen? Please?

Easy solution, stand\\sit farther away from your TV
post #11 of 151
Look what's now at the top of the movie listings- Nice!
post #12 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Most people don't use them though, so it's not that big a deal unless you are one of the developers.

I'm one who does (Boxee makes the already useful TV infinitely better: DivX support, Pandora, Last.FM, Hulu, etc) and as such will have to hold off on the update for now.
post #13 of 151
Definitely a good upgrade...the UI was stale and difficult to navigate for an Apple device. I still think that either DVR capability or a DVD/BluRay drive with an ability to import would be nice. If they hooked in a DVR with a new remote, Apple could rival TiVo...without the subscription fees...
post #14 of 151
This is a full point upgrade? I would appreciate some new features in regards to content. DVD Extras aren't exactly going to do it for me. How about a subscription service or same day release of TV Shows. This is just an incredibly weak upgrade for the nearly two years since the last major update (which that one actually was). I was way more excited when the iPhone/Touch remote came out than this.
post #15 of 151
Hmm… Anyone here installed it yet? That seems like a very light update for going from v2.4 to v3.0. It is a major UI change, but I would have thought there would be more new features. Maybe even some built in widgets so you can have local weather, stocks as part of the screensaver.
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post #16 of 151
1024 is HD. I'll be the first one in line when Apple releases a true HD model.
post #17 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by DKWalsh4 View Post

Easy solution, stand\\sit farther away from your TV

I wish I could walk - and then view - thru walls. \
post #18 of 151
I'm puzzled that Apple hasn't bothered to update FrontRow to match the Apple TV features. Once upon a time they were almost identical but since then Apple TV got 2 major updates and 0 for FrontRow. I don't mind using Plex but I would like iTunes Store integration.
post #19 of 151
Holy shit! I was NOT expecting another update for this current form factor. 3 updates in 3 years. It's not often that I feel I have gotten my money's worth.
post #20 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

While 3.0 is much needed with freshly improved UI, I am a bit underwhelmed. I was hoping for at least one major new feature, either USB external disk support, TV subscription, Netflix streaming, Hulu, or Vimeo.

I am just guessing here, but I suspect new remote will be included with updated 3.0 Apple TV packaging.

They haven't announced new hardware (since this is just a software update), the same remote will remain until that time. Hopefully there will be a little more than just a new remote when they do announce new hardware though.
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post #21 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In total, Apple TV users have direct access to a catalog of over 8,000 Hollywood films on iTunes including over 2,000 in HD video available for rent or purchase.

Kudos to Apple for hiding the fact that only 71 movies are available for purchase in HD by continuing to combine their "rent or purchase" figures. Look out, Blu-Ray!

Glad to see they finally added HD YouTube support, though. I don't know what took them so long.
post #22 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post

Most people don't use them though, so it's not that big a deal unless you are one of the developers.

I'm not that sure... considering the Apple TV is pretty much useless without nitotv or boxee, I guess these guys will have to work on a new version of their software pretty soon.
post #23 of 151
Finally can get rid of that harsh all-white background viewer!
post #24 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by filburt View Post

While 3.0 is much needed with freshly improved UI, I am a bit underwhelmed. I was hoping for at least one major new feature, either USB external disk support, TV subscription, Netflix streaming, Hulu, or Vimeo.

I am just guessing here, but I suspect new remote will be included with updated 3.0 Apple TV packaging.

I hope the new remote is included though I'll eventually buy a Harmony remote to tie everything together.

I've resigned myself to the reality that Netflix streaming is gonna have to come through my next Blu-ray player.
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post #25 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by SinisterJoe View Post

I'm puzzled that Apple hasn't bothered to update FrontRow to match the Apple TV features. Once upon a time they were almost identical but since then Apple TV got 2 major updates and 0 for FrontRow. I don't mind using Plex but I would like iTunes Store integration.

Apple dropped updating FrontRow long ago. With the Snow Leopard release, they made QuickTime X which helps with their iTunes Store video collection, but did not update DVD Player or FrontRow. They are just old stagnant pieces of software like Sherlock was for so long.

As an aside, they didnt update Dashboard, either. If I a conspiracist Id say they since cant make extra money off the widgets they dont care about them.
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post #26 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleZilla View Post

1024 is HD. I'll be the first one in line when Apple releases a true HD model.

I believe you mean 1080, and from a definition standpoint, 720p is considered HD.

While I can tell a difference between the 720p content on my AppleTV and the 1080 content on my HD-DVDs (yeah, I was one of them), it's not significant enough to offset the absolute convenience (and cost savings) of the AppleTV.
post #27 of 151
I'm shocked, and a bit relieved. Yesterday based in part on the "no more holiday hardware" announcement I finally broke down and bought a mini to use as a HTPC. I'd been waiting and hoping there would be an aTV update that brought better hardware capable of 1080p and NetFlix streaming. Without those two features it's just not worth it to me to invest in hardware.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nace33 View Post

This is a full point upgrade? I would appreciate some new features in regards to content. DVD Extras aren't exactly going to do it for me. How about a subscription service or same day release of TV Shows. This is just an incredibly weak upgrade for the nearly two years since the last major update (which that one actually was). I was way more excited when the iPhone/Touch remote came out than this.

It's just like iTunes... we're on what version 9! It should be version 6 at most...
post #28 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

One minor peeve: There are few things worse than viewing your favorite band on Youtube looking horribly pixelated on a 46-inch flat panel screen. Surely there must be a way that @TV can enable transmission of a smaller-sized image on to the screen? Please?

YouTube HD may resolve your issues well enough.
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post #29 of 151
Thanks Apple for another boring update!
post #30 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

While I can tell a difference between the 720p content on my AppleTV and the 1080 content on my HD-DVDs (yeah, I was one of them), it's not significant enough to offset the absolute convenience (and cost savings) of the AppleTV.

Couldn't agree more.
post #31 of 151
Hmmm... I guess an upgrade was needed and certainly some things are easier to nav, but I am more than a little disappointed.

I think the interface is certainly useable, but it looks pretty lame.

The weighting on the screen is off and everything looks disjointed. Obviously, the main thing is function and it has that down fairly well - and really never lacked it. But the form has taken a nosedive. It looks very Windowsesque and very amateurish. Like someone in Photoshop class made the mockup.

Overrall, with iTunes LP as well, I truly hope this does NOT represent an intended design direction on the part of Apple. Apple TV looks like a Joomla Internet media module (if it functions like one, great. but please don't make it LOOK like one). And the iTunes software now lays out like Zune software, which itself looks like a cheap blog website.

Apple must stay on top in terms of function and I get that, but they have always been ahead in terms of providing the best function COMBINED with exsquisite form. This is a departure from that. Sure, no organization is without hiccups. I just hope this does not represent an INTENDED design direction and is just a stopgap as they figure something better out.
post #32 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

YouTube HD may resolve your issues well enough.

True, but only a subset of videos are 'HD' on Youtube?
post #33 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by jb510 View Post

It's just like iTunes... we're on what version 9! It should be version 6 at most...

And, this really matters how? Seriously.
post #34 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by djames42 View Post

I'm one who does (Boxee makes the already useful TV infinitely better: DivX support, Pandora, Last.FM, Hulu, etc) and as such will have to hold off on the update for now.

Yeah, that's too bad. The patches come out pretty quickly usually.

I just meant that all that stuff is USA only and only a small percentage of US citizens use it so it's not a big deal for Apple's customers on average. The bleeding edge folks will have to suffer as usual though.
post #35 of 151
Well I do like this, don't get me wrong... but:

1) still no real sleep mode?! I can't stand the sound of the drive.

2) Come on Apple, make a deal with Elgato for a plug-in tuner! Sheesh, I could chuck half my AV gear if it could just tune the friggin channels! (my TV can, but SLOOOOOWLY)

Maury
post #36 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

True, but only a subset of videos are 'HD' on Youtube?

True, but its becoming slightly less of a problem every day. In 10 years the average video on YouTube may be 720p.
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post #37 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

True, but its becoming slightly less of a problem every day. In 10 years the average video on YouTube may be 720p.

many inexpensive (relatively speaking) digital cameras take 720p video (or so they claim)
post #38 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

I think the addition of internet radio is very welcome.

I like my @TV overall - I got all that I paid for, and then some - but I do wish that Apple would try and take it to the next level, by making it a true multimedia hub.

One minor peeve: There are few things worse than viewing your favorite band on Youtube looking horribly pixelated on a 46-inch flat panel screen. Surely there must be a way that @TV can enable transmission of a smaller-sized image on to the screen? Please?

I agree, internet radio is long overdue, seeing as iTunes has had this for what, 8 years? So this is a good start, for now. Going forward Apple definitely needs to add in widgets for weather and news, etc., and possibly app support. I'm not sure about DVR or an optical drive, likely will never happen.

BUT...by January they really MUST update the antiquated internals. I could care less if it keeps the same form factor or not, but the ATV is in desperate need of a better graphics chip and processor (maybe an all in one SOC), not only to allow the interface to run snappily again, but to make it run much cooler and stop melting nearby objects and people. An actual on/off/sleep switch could help with this.

What do ya say Steve, hmmm?
post #39 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by Maury Markowitz View Post

Well I do like this, don't get me wrong... but:

1) still no real sleep mode?! I can't stand the sound of the drive ...

As an AppleTV owner I have to say .. WTF?

I often have to stick my ear right next to it to tell if it's on or not. An AppleTV should not make any noise at all. If yours does, it's either faulty or someones fiddled with it by putting in a noisy crap drive or something.
post #40 of 151
Quote:
Originally Posted by oddjob View Post

Thanks Apple for another boring update!

that you teckstud?
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