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Apple releases Apple TV 2.3 with AirTunes, third-party remotes

post #1 of 108
Thread Starter 
Apple on Wednesday night released version 2.3 of its Apple TV firmware to add AirTunes streaming as well as support for third-party remotes.

The patch, available solely through the Apple TV's built-in update feature, is said in Apple's release notes to let users now stream music from the media hub to speakers connected to an Airport Express or to other Apple TVs in the home, letting it serve as a form of repeater.

Owners are also no longer tied to the built-in Apple Remote and can now teach Apple TV to recognize other infrared remotes in place of the official controller; the technique potentially allows universal remotes such as Logitech's Harmony line.

Other additions include the option for playlists that include a mixture of various audio and video formats as well as the ability to adjust volume in the music section.

Readers are encouraged to list other, unpublished features they may discover in the 2.3 firmware.
post #2 of 108
Already had Harmony Remote working with AppleTV. Streaming to Airport Express is a welcome and long-awaited feature though. Now to download & test.
post #3 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Owners are also no longer tied to the built-in Apple Remote and can now teach Apple TV to recognize other infrared remotes in place of the official controller; the technique potentially allows universal remotes such as Logitech's Harmony line.

You've misunderstood. This update isn't necessary in order to use a universal remote. The whole point of a universal remote is that it has a database of codes that third party remotes use, and failing that can learn the codes directly from remotes, and can therefore replace any IR remote. The Harmony database includes the Apple remote codes and therefore can already be used to replace an Apple remote.

This AppleTV update takes the idea in the opposite direction: the AppleTV's receiver can learn to respond to non Apple remote codes. This is useful because many TV manufacturers ship TVs with remotes that will also control the same brand's DVD players. So let's say you've got a Sony TV, no Sony DVD player and an AppleTV. The Sony TV's remote has play, skip, menu etc. buttons (for controlling a Sony DVD player that you don't actually have). Now, with this update to the AppleTV, the Sony remote can be used to control the AppleTV.

In conclusion, this update eliminates the requirement for a universal remote if you've a simple setup of a TV and an AppleTV, and the TV's remote control has the necessary play, skip etc. buttons.
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post #4 of 108
Now all they have to do is make it useful by allowing DVR functionality. Why this has not be implemented is beyond me. ATV has far less functionality than competing units.

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post #5 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Now all they have to do is make it useful by allowing DVR functionality. Why this has not be implemented is beyond me. ATV has far less functionality than competing units.

Maybe because ATV is supposed to replace your cable box, not supplement it. Why pay a flat subscription rate to the cable companies when you can have a la carte!
post #6 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Now all they have to do is make it useful by allowing DVR functionality. Why this has not be implemented is beyond me. ATV has far less functionality than competing units.

I predict a DVR in my aTV just as soon as there's an FM tuner in my iPod.

(Half past never.)
post #7 of 108
This is pretty cool. I don't have to have the G5 that holds my music turned on for the Airport Express.

I think it should stream to Macs and iPhones / touch too.
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post #8 of 108
My AppleTV is rebooting right now with 2.3. I am totally psyched about the AirTunes. I've been wondering why this wasn't there before!! Now my home music system is complete.

Jim
post #9 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post

I predict a DVR in my aTV just as soon as there's an FM tuner in my iPod.

(Half past never.)

that actually made me laugh out loud... so true...
post #10 of 108
Hah, I swore the Apple TV had the AirTunes capabilities since launch! Well, the new IR stuff sounds good.


And @ people who might want to turn this into a DVR vs. no-DVR discussion,

Please stop while you're behind. The iTunes Store, which provides content (a la carte) to Apple TV users, is in direct competition with cable TV boxes/subscriptions.

Now a Netflix Instant Watch portal similar to the flickr photo album portal? That's a possibility (though I suspect Apple would want to enhance such a service by making the movies actually download to the hard drive and make all Instant Watch movies browse-able right off the device, rather than requiring interaction with a computer).
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post #11 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Hah, I swore the Apple TV had the AirTunes capabilities since launch! Well, the new IR stuff sounds good.


And @ people who might want to turn this into a DVR vs. no-DVR discussion,

Please stop while you're behind. The iTunes Store, which provides content (a la carte) to Apple TV users, is in direct competition with cable TV boxes/subscriptions.

Now a Netflix Instant Watch portal similar to the flickr photo album portal? That's a possibility (though I suspect Apple would want to enhance such a service by making the movies actually download to the hard drive and make all Instant Watch movies browse-able right off the device, rather than requiring interaction with a computer).

Yep, the Netflix and Flickr tie-ins would be nice. A Safari browser and optional keyboard for the AppleTV we be nice too.
post #12 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

And @ people who might want to turn this into a DVR vs. no-DVR discussion,

Please stop while you're behind. The iTunes Store, which provides content (a la carte) to Apple TV users, is in direct competition with cable TV boxes/subscriptions.

These DVR Vs. no DVR debates are always so US-centric. Ever heard of the rest of the world? Just because you guys don't get anything decent transmitted free-to-air, doesn't mean that's the case in the rest of the world. If I could get an AppleTV/Mac Mini with blu-ray and FreeView (UK digital terrestrial broadcasts) DVR, I would.
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post #13 of 108
I would like keyboard support so I can use a Logitech wireless keyboard for text entry, instead of having to use the Apple Remote to peck at letters on the screen.
post #14 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

And @ people who might want to turn this into a DVR vs. no-DVR discussion,

Well, what about @people who might want to turn this into a why does anyone want TV discussion

and

@people who might want to turn this into a why does anyone want Blu-ray discussion?
post #15 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

These DVR Vs. no DVR debates are always so US-centric. Ever heard of the rest of the world? Just because you guys don't get anything decent transmitted free-to-air, doesn't mean that's the case in the rest of the world. If I could get an AppleTV/Mac Mini with blu-ray and FreeView (UK digital terrestrial broadcasts) DVR, I would.

Based on your comment, I am not so sure you know what a DVR does. It has nothing to do with the signal or content.

I understand people's criticism of the Apple TV, including the lack of a DVR function. It doesn't really affect me as we don't watch cable / satellite / OTA broadcasts. I download stuff and add it to the library. Missing for me from the ATV is access to streaming content sites. It's possible with Boxee on the ATV but should be part of the standard software. I know why it isn't, though. Apple's revenue model for the ATV / iTunes would be severely undermined.
post #16 of 108
Speaking of Boxee, does the update break it? I'm fully expecting to have to reinstall it, but I hope it still works.
post #17 of 108
um I've been using my Logitech Harmony with it for the past year....
post #18 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by focher View Post

Based on your comment, I am not so sure you know what a DVR does. It has nothing to do with the signal or content.

What a bizarre statement. We're talking "Digital Video Recorder" right? Like a VCR but with an HDD instead of tapes.

Some people say that Apple shouldn't add DVR functionality because AppleTV competes against cable. That statement is making an intrinsic implication that the only stuff worth recording is transmitted over cable which requires a subscription. I'm saying that actually, there's plenty of stuff worth watching that's transmitted for free.

For me, the AppleTV's ability to rent HD movies is interesting. Its ability to stream content from a computer in the house is interesting. But if I had an AppleTV as it stands now, I'd still want a DVR and a blu-ray player. Why have three devices when a Mac Mini with a blu-ray drive, a couple of FreeView tuners and some decent Apple software could do it all in one, better, and for less money overall?
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post #19 of 108
I like it, it learns & pairs with any remote you have in the house even the one that came standard with my tv
post #20 of 108
Same... been using my Logitech Harmony remote with the Apple Tv for like a year now....
I think it must just increase overall compatibility with normal remotes.
post #21 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post

I predict a DVR in my aTV just as soon as there's an FM tuner in my iPod.

Where have you been?? Most iPods except the touch have FM capability ?!?! You just need the Radio Remote.

post #22 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by GeekLawyer View Post

I predict a DVR in my aTV just as soon as there's an FM tuner in my iPod.

(Half past never.)

Here you go: http://store.apple.com/us/product/MA...mco=MjE0NzczMg

It's been around quite awhile.

Edit: retroneo beat me to it
post #23 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBum View Post

Speaking of Boxee, does the update break it? I'm fully expecting to have to reinstall it, but I hope it still works.

To answer my own question: YES, BOXEE IS BROKEN UNDER 2.3!!!

Luckily, I checked the Boxee forums before upgrading my Apple TV.
post #24 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by retroneo View Post

Where have you been?? Most iPods except the touch have FM capability ?!?! You just need the Radio Remote.


Not supported on the iPhone.
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post #25 of 108
There's no reason for DVR and it's obvious why Apple is staying away from it.

1) HULU.com - I watch most stuff on hulu for a couple weeks after it's aired on TV
2) ABC.com NBC.com CBS.com TBS.com HBO.com, etc. etc. etc... I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want for a long time after it's aired. I can pause and go to the bathroom and even watch all the commercials (yes, I like them).

I think that aTV is great for getting a quick streaming moving to your big 'ol TV whenever you want it. It's good for buying and downloading your favorite movies. But DVR is gone and dead. As our computers dock to our HDTV's, we'll all forget about DVR's soon soon soon enough.

P
post #26 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

These DVR Vs. no DVR debates are always so US-centric. Ever heard of the rest of the world? Just because you guys don't get anything decent transmitted free-to-air, doesn't mean that's the case in the rest of the world. If I could get an AppleTV/Mac Mini with blu-ray and FreeView (UK digital terrestrial broadcasts) DVR, I would.

Let me guess, you were the hall monitor in school.
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post #27 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBum View Post

To answer my own question: YES, BOXEE IS BROKEN UNDER 2.3!!!

Luckily, I checked the Boxee forums before upgrading my Apple TV.

fix is in the works.
hopefully boxee/xbmc will run on the 2.3 firmware within 24hrs
post #28 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachomius View Post

There's no reason for DVR and it's obvious why Apple is staying away from it.

1) HULU.com - I watch most stuff on hulu for a couple weeks after it's aired on TV
2) ABC.com NBC.com CBS.com TBS.com HBO.com, etc. etc. etc... I can watch whatever I want, whenever I want for a long time after it's aired. I can pause and go to the bathroom and even watch all the commercials (yes, I like them).

I think that aTV is great for getting a quick streaming moving to your big 'ol TV whenever you want it. It's good for buying and downloading your favorite movies. But DVR is gone and dead. As our computers dock to our HDTV's, we'll all forget about DVR's soon soon soon enough.

P

What we need is Hulu.com, etc functionality on the ATV. Apple could team up with those big networks to get a cut of advertising revenue or at least have the networks subsidize the ATV.

That would help give folks a reason to buy an ATV. Content and pricing seem to be its biggest issues. If you could watch a large chunk of ad supported shows for free whenever you want that would be a big bonus.

Sure Apple might not want that as it competes with iTunes, but iTunes still carries some advantages to distinguish itself -it is ad-free and you own the TV show and can transfer it to your ipod.
post #29 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by wobegon View Post

Hah, I swore the Apple TV had the AirTunes capabilities since launch! Well, the new IR stuff sounds good.


And @ people who might want to turn this into a DVR vs. no-DVR discussion,

Please stop while you're behind. The iTunes Store, which provides content (a la carte) to Apple TV users, is in direct competition with cable TV boxes/subscriptions.

Now a Netflix Instant Watch portal similar to the flickr photo album portal? That's a possibility (though I suspect Apple would want to enhance such a service by making the movies actually download to the hard drive and make all Instant Watch movies browse-able right off the device, rather than requiring interaction with a computer).

This is a discussion forum, we'll discuss whatever we d@mn well please.
post #30 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post


For me, the AppleTV's ability to rent HD movies is interesting. Its ability to stream content from a computer in the house is interesting. But if I had an AppleTV as it stands now, I'd still want a DVR and a blu-ray player. Why have three devices when a Mac Mini with a blu-ray drive, a couple of FreeView tuners and some decent Apple software could do it all in one, better, and for less money overall?

I totally agree. That mac mini would be the ultimate HTPC for many people, and it will unfortunately never happen (unless we build it ourselves). Apple seems intent on telling us what we need, not the other way around.

I couldn't care less about freaking Airtunes in my ATV. I already stream from my iMac to 2 Airport Express locations and the ATV, and it stays on all the time anyway. With the ability to control iTunes on the iMac via Remote app on my iPhone, i have no more use for the AppleTV as a music interface. The rentals are a good deal, but I have moved on to blu-ray so their low-bitrate 720p content is a joke. I only use ATV now for streaming my home movies and handbrake'd rips.

iTMS+ATV will not ever replace cable+DVR. And people who are geeky and rich enough to buy an AppleTV can probably afford to have both and AppleTV and an expensive 400+ channel cable subscription complete with an HD package to go with their flat panel.

The AppleTV is going nowhere fast, which is sad because if they would ask us what we need instead of telling us, we would all be better off.
post #31 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by UnseenLlama View Post

Maybe because ATV is supposed to replace your cable box, not supplement it. Why pay a flat subscription rate to the cable companies when you can have a la carte!

Why pay anything when you can DVR free-to-air TV.

It's not about it being an alternative to anything. It's about consolidating the ridiculous assortment of non-user-friendly devices one is expected to have under their TV to pass as a human being into one simple device. If i want to watch a DVD I shouldn't need to perform genital origami just to reach over the TV to unplug cords or attempt to navigate cryptic, MS DOS-like on screen menus using 3 remote controls.

Please Apple give me this one device to rule all others or open up your DRM so somebody can before I lose interest in TV altogether.
post #32 of 108
No streaming from a NAS is dissapointing. I want to dump my music/movies onto a NAS and stream to ATV without having my laptop on.
post #33 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by jotnar View Post

No streaming from a NAS is dissapointing. I want to dump my music/movies onto a NAS and stream to ATV without having my laptop on.

Just install Boxee or XBMC.
(Or ATV Files or Sapphire or Nito)
All these AppleTV add ins can stream media from a network share.

Some of them even index your files, pull down cover art and episode data from the internet and show it all with a nice DVD like interface.



C.
post #34 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

These DVR Vs. no DVR debates are always so US-centric. Ever heard of the rest of the world?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pachomius View Post

There's no reason for DVR and it's obvious why Apple is staying away from it.

1) HULU.com
2) ABC.com NBC.com CBS.com TBS.com HBO.com, etc. etc. etc...

See what I mean?

Also, what resolution and bit-rate do those online services use?
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post #35 of 108
Excuse me for butting in. don't pick on the English guy, even though he wants us to be more globalt minded; yet he spouts off about UK techno-bable.

So to me, the only way for ATV to be totally viable is if Apple addresses...
  • DVR with some kind of link to your tuner. Otherwise this will NEVER replace a DVR. As long as there is cable and dish and SATV you'll never convince enough people to dump cable and just buy "a-la-carte". iTunes is good, but netflix is better and broadcast is the most diverse with new content all the time.
  • Offer Free Watch TV shows on iTunes. Otherwise, why bother if you already have cable. Not every show people watch is on iTunes and there are so many free sites out there that have free-view TV. Sure it's not live when it airs and that leads me back to point #1. You can go on for hours about "a-la-carte" but that means nothing to Joe-Six-Pack with a Dish who lives in Union, Missouri. You could also say that Joe isn't in ATV's target market, but for ATV to trully be accepted as compeition, they will have to convince 'ol-Joe as well.
  • Offer a way to download my personal DVD/BD to iTunes (Including Special Features). In order to appease everyone, Apple is going to have to work out a deal with the movie industry to allow users to download personal DVD/BD to iTunes or ATV will never replace the DVD player. Most people today that have movies own DVDs, so they will NEVER be able to toss the tried-and-true DVD player if there's no way to watch thier DVD's THROUGH the ATV.
  • Offer Special Features from DVDs on iTunes. yes, people can say that Special Features is a thing of the past with the internet, but that's 95% of the reason why most people buy movies on DVDs in the first place; other than offesting the cost of multiple rental fees. Plus Specail features aren't always good but more than 50% of the time they are well worth the cost of the DVD alone (i.e. "Gangs of NY"; horrible movie but fantastic Special Features). heck, I'd pay double the iTunes asking price if i could get LOTR Specail features on iTunes. Long Point Short, Movie companies will continue to offer Specail Features to help boost sales. weather it's online or not is the debate. I'd prefer it to be downloadable.

anyway, that's my 2 cents...
post #36 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by antkm1 View Post

even though he wants us to be more globalt minded; yet he spouts off about UK techno-bable.

Sorry. Should have made it clear that FreeView uses DVB-T, a Europe-wide standard. In any case, I was using it as an example of free-to-air content that's worth watching. I'm sure the UK isn't alone in that.
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post #37 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Why pay anything when you can DVR free-to-air TV.

It's not about it being an alternative to anything. It's about consolidating the ridiculous assortment of non-user-friendly devices one is expected to have under their TV to pass as a human being into one simple device. If i want to watch a DVD I shouldn't need to perform genital origami just to reach over the TV to unplug cords or attempt to navigate cryptic, MS DOS-like on screen menus using 3 remote controls.

Please Apple give me this one device to rule all others or open up your DRM so somebody can before I lose interest in TV altogether.

Absolutely - couldn't have said it better. Here in the UK we get some fantastic over-the-air stuff that is excellent quality on Freeview. I can record it using EyeTV on my Mac, but is is such a time-consuming palaver having to transcode it from MPEG2 to MPEG4 in order to get it on to AppleTV (via iTunes) that I've given up. As a result the AppleTV never gets used.

I would love to be using AppleTV as the main interface box for my TV, and it could be done so easily. All it would take is the following:

1. Support for a dual-tuner freeview USB stick (maybe via ability to load a version of EyeTV?).
2. DVD drive
3. (Ideally) incorporation of BBC iPlayer or similar streaming support from various TV channels.

Then AppleTV would provide EVERYTHING I would need to access on my TV, and as a result I would use it ALL the time from the TV. And as a result of this I know that I would rent tons of stuff on it because it would be there and easy to access. As it is, because I don't use the AppleTV at all, I never rent anything.

I know that Apple thinks it is being a big clever profit-oriented, shareholder-focused, corporation by only really allowing AppleTV to access material that comes from Apple at a price, but in doing this they are neglecting to deliver a product that is optimal for most of their customers. I think this is very short-sighted and causes the product to be ignored by most people, even many of those who own it.

Ultimately they may in time deliver TVs which incorporate AppleTV functionality plus all the off-the-air, DVD, and internet streaming stuff. If so, I will be first in the line to get one. The current iMacs are nearly there in conjunction with EyeTV, but fall just too far short (and are probably not big enough for most people anyway).

Until then AppleTV in my view is just a hobby that they are not very good at. A bit like taking up football and only making it to the fourth team, and even then not always being selected to play.
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post #38 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post

Just install Boxee or XBMC.
(Or ATV Files or Sapphire or Nito)
All these AppleTV add ins can stream media from a network share.

Some of them even index your files, pull down cover art and episode data from the internet and show it all with a nice DVD like interface.



C.

I'm signed up on the boxee alpha but I'll wait for the update/work around thingy. thanks for the pointer to the other options though.
post #39 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Sorry. Should have made it clear that FreeView uses DVB-T, a Europe-wide standard. In any case, I was using it as an example of free-to-air content that's worth watching. I'm sure the UK isn't alone in that.

Appologies, let's just quit the bias talk, people may seem bias in the US for the same reason i called you out, we argue based on our own POV. That doesn't mean we excuss ignorant but welcome increased knowlege. that's what being geeks are all about friend.

anyway, the point about ATV is that it can't possible replace what's the mainstream, not that i think Apple is trying to, but i'd like it to. Apple's all about simplicity in product design. why not dive head first into the mainstream home video market?!?

I'd also allow the ATV to have APPs from the App store and Safari and Email and possibly even video phone. I don't see why the iphone firmware couldn't be installed on the ATV right now???
post #40 of 108
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. H View Post

Sorry. Should have made it clear that FreeView uses DVB-T, a Europe-wide standard. In any case, I was using it as an example of free-to-air content that's worth watching. I'm sure the UK isn't alone in that.

Freeview ROCKS!

but the sooner 2012 arrives and we free up the bandwidth for a larger slice per channel.. the BETTER for all our eyes.

I'm getting sick of the crappy compression artefacts on some channels (50" screen)
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