Apple's TuneKit iTunes LP format appears aimed at Apple TV

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
The iTunes LP album and iTunes Extras movie-enriching bonus material bundles Apple introduced as a new feature of iTunes 9 are built using a new TuneKit JavaScript framework and appear aimed to deliver new big screen content to Apple TV.



The new iTunes interactive media content formats are built using open web standards: HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, using a new framework Apple calls TuneKit. The new media authoring framework is referenced repeatedly within the iTunes Extra component files.



Similar to Apple's use of the SproutCore JavaScript framework to build its MobileMe web apps, TuneKit provides media developers with a familiar JavaScript framework for creating interactive bonus materials. TuneKit, like SproutCore, proves that a proprietary middleware runtime plugin such as Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight is simply unnecessary to deliver this kind of interactive media content, thanks in part to rapid advances in JavaScript rendering engine optimization.



Apple's new TuneKit is also much easier to develop for than the complex specifications involved with DVD and Blu-Ray disc authoring, and lacks the "bag of hurt" associated with licensing issues that Steve Jobs a year ago predicted would hold back Blu-Ray adoption.



Apple TV written all over it



Even more interesting is the evidence that Apple developed the new media packages with HDTVs in mind. For starters, the content is designed for a 1280x720 resolution. That means it's too big to play back on Apple's mainstream 13" MacBook Pro without entering full screen mode or scaling down to fit the screen available within the normal iTunes playback window.



The native resolution exactly fits the HDTV output of Apple TV, however, and would even work when scaled down to its standard definition 480p display. It wouldn't work so well the old TVs that only accept S-Video or composite video inputs however, the very type Apple made no efforts to support on Apple TV even though its hardware had the innate capacity to deliver a composite signal.



Even more telling is the discovery that the iTunes content files reference the HTML meta tags "hdtv-fullscreen" and "hdtv-cursor-off." While the content packages currently require iTunes 9 on a Mac or PC for playback, these discoveries not only indicate that support for Apple TV is in the works, but suggest that the content was created specifically for it.



Apple hasn't dramatically updated the Apple TV software since the "Take Two" 2.0 firmware was released at Macworld Expo in January 2008. The next major update is expected to incorporate features of Snow Leopard, including QuickTime X and its HTTP Live Streaming protocol.



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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 59
    sheffsheff Posts: 1,407member
    I think that only a few people will actually use iTunes LP, as the whole benefit of digital music was the ability to buy only those songs you wanted. This will be mostly for the enthusiasts. This means that apple has a new corporate hobby to indulge, along with apple tv.
  • Reply 2 of 59
    iTunes LP is a neat idea but I don't see it being any major selling point to the iTunes Store. I think if Apple was smart here they would have opened the format and tried to push it as a standard for all digital music distributers. Betting on their own ability to implement it better in the iPod than its competitors can in their products. If it remains some weird iTunes Store exclusive it's really not going to be anything more than a niche feature only available on some cherry picked albums.
  • Reply 3 of 59
    Quote:

    Even more interesting is the evidence that Apple developed the new media packages with HDTVs in mind. For starters, the content is designed for a 1280x720 resolution. That means it's too big to play back on Apple's mainstream 13" MacBook Pro without entering full screen mode or scaling down to fit the screen available within the normal iTunes playback window.



    I'm surprised that full screen mode for the 13" laptops doesn't already exist. Hmmm, what could they be waiting for? Apple TV? Yes, that's obvious, but what other rumored product would be perfect for viewing 1280x720 full screen iTunes LP and iTunes Extras enabled movies?



    If you said the tablet, give yourself a cookie.
  • Reply 4 of 59
    I absolutely hate owning a physical item like CDs and DVDs. I like the concept of having them on my hard drive but I feel somewhat cheated with the price of digital downloads specifically for movies. The quality is awful, it's priced the same as normal DVDs, and there's nothing extra you'd find with a blu-ray or DVD like commentaries. I own an Apple TV and I've only used the thing to transfer movies from my computer to the big screen and also some rentals. The fact that they are developing movies with extras on them for the Apple TV has me very excited. What would be very cool is if these movies were also connected in some way to online features as well.
  • Reply 5 of 59
    saareksaarek Posts: 1,105member
    I just bought the new Muse cd from iTunes, I only got it from iTunes as it's the LP version, I always felt cheated by the price of downloads as I could buy the cd from a shop for the same price, however considering all of the extras in the LP version I feel that I have gotten a fair deal.



    I like the extras and feel it boosts the album, well done Apple and of course Muse.
  • Reply 6 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I just bought the new Muse cd from iTunes, I only got it from iTunes as it's the LP version, I always felt cheated by the price of downloads as I could buy the cd from a shop for the same price, however considering all of the extras in the LP version I feel that I have gotten a fair deal.



    I like the extras and feel it boosts the album, well done Apple and of course Muse.



    I love idea as well. I just wish it could be a little cheaper. The prices seem to be a little high.
  • Reply 7 of 59
    Seems like it's their answer to BD-Live.
  • Reply 9 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I just bought the new Muse cd from iTunes, I only got it from iTunes as it's the LP version, I always felt cheated by the price of downloads as I could buy the cd from a shop for the same price, however considering all of the extras in the LP version I feel that I have gotten a fair deal.



    I like the extras and feel it boosts the album, well done Apple and of course Muse.



    Where do you shop? I don't know any retailers that sell CD's for 10 bucks.
  • Reply 10 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    I think that only a few people will actually use iTunes LP, as the whole benefit of digital music was the ability to buy only those songs you wanted.



    That, plus the ability to quickly mix songs from multiple artists/albums (which the Genius feature made very easy and useful, and Shuffle did this also already earlier).

    That is why I agree, the iTunes LP will remain a small niche product.
  • Reply 11 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by saarek View Post


    I just bought the new Muse cd from iTunes, I only got it from iTunes as it's the LP version, I always felt cheated by the price of downloads as I could buy the cd from a shop for the same price, however considering all of the extras in the LP version I feel that I have gotten a fair deal.



    I like the extras and feel it boosts the album, well done Apple and of course Muse.



    I was about to buy their new album from iTunes before you talked about the LP thing. I just found out that the LP version is only available in several countries, and it's sold at the same price as normal version in other countries. I don't know if I should hold out for it or just buy it and call it a day.
  • Reply 12 of 59
    how does one justify purchase of Apple TV and its incredible limitations ? I mean if you take a look at XBMC / PLEX ( especially PLEX ) and various plug-ins and incredible interface skins it just boggles my mind someone does not save up couple hundred dollars more and buys mac mini or finds used one on ebay for just a hair more than new appletv.
  • Reply 13 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by sheff View Post


    I think that only a few people will actually use iTunes LP, as the whole benefit of digital music was the ability to buy only those songs you wanted. This will be mostly for the enthusiasts. This means that apple has a new corporate hobby to indulge, along with apple tv.



    I think you're being tunnel visioned. Why would it be bad to offer more content for those that want it. The "whole benefit of digital music" isn't buying one song at a time. I can think of a million reasons why digital music is better, easier access, better categorizing, easier to travel with large libraries etc. etc. You couldn't be further off base and when the tablet makes it's debut you'll undoubtedly be the fist to say it'll flop as well. "Corporate Hobby" there's no such thing when you are talking about billions of $$$$'s. If it's labeled as a hobby expect it to grow and evolve rapidly. Vanish is another thing.
  • Reply 14 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by wally007 View Post


    how does one justify purchase of Apple TV and its incredible limitations ? I mean if you take a look at XBMC / PLEX ( especially PLEX ) and various plug-ins and incredible interface skins it just boggles my mind someone does not save up couple hundred dollars more and buys mac mini or finds used one on ebay for just a hair more than new appletv.



    The apple T was designed to connect to a TV and the mac-mini wasn't. It's that simple. If you haven't used one then you should go check one out and then get back to me. To say it's "incredibly limited" would be ignoring the point of what it does; deliver media.



    I might ask what's the point of connecting an mac-mini up to your TV? Do you really want to surf the web or do work on your TV? Have you tried it? It looks terrible at 50" I can tell you that. I started out with a mac mni when there wasn't an apple TV and honestly it was a drag with screen rez/ line res, frequencies, colors etc etc. I was happy to switch.



    Compared to my media server/ apple TV rig it was very clumsy. An mac mini is overkill and gets in the way of simply delivering media with a clean easy to navigate GUI, without the extras you don't need.
  • Reply 15 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post


    That, plus the ability to quickly mix songs from multiple artists/albums (which the Genius feature made very easy and useful, and Shuffle did this also already earlier).

    That is why I agree, the iTunes LP will remain a small niche product.



    How does the ability to mix songs change or have anything to do with Itunes LP? The songs are still individual songs and can still be burned as such to a mix CD. You're just buying the album in it's entirety. What are you talking about? and honestly who only buys 1 song always? Don't you ever want to appreciate the music as the artist intended or give the rest of the album more than 30 seconds worth of judgement. If not, then it's more evidence that the world is the way that it is.
  • Reply 16 of 59
    Quote:



    nice! ATV 2.0. LOL I hope.
  • Reply 17 of 59
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,013member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by spliff monkey View Post


    I think you're being tunnel visioned. Why would it be bad to offer more content for those that want it. The "whole benefit of digital music" isn't buying one song at a time. I can think of a million reasons why digital music is better, easier access, better categorizing, easier to travel with large libraries etc. etc. You couldn't be further off base and when the tablet makes it's debut you'll undoubtedly be the fist to say it'll flop as well. "Corporate Hobby" there's no such thing when you are talking about billions of $$$$'s. If it's labeled as a hobby expect it to grow and evolve rapidly. Vanish is another thing.



    I agree with you. I suspect we will shortly have an SJ announcement of a lot more features and services too with updates to ATV and the inevitable tablet not far behind (or possibly it will all come at the same time). This is Apple - the number one music retailer we are talking about here, not some 'niche' company after all!
  • Reply 18 of 59
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,013member
    Quote:



    I was kind of relieved there was no major change, just a capacity upgrade for the same price. So hopefully any major new upgrade in the works is software only and my trusty old first generation ATV won't be obsoleted any time soon. Perhaps older ATVs will be able to add an external drive on the USB with the next update. It always seemed a good place to add a Time Capsule to me, although perhaps a backup occurring while streaming a movie from Apple may be an issue (how about a suppress backup during streaming movies option?).
  • Reply 19 of 59
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    I was sceptical at first but maybe there is something to iTunes LP. I have got into the habit of buying single tracks and listening to music while I'm on the move, but this has got me thinking about how much I used to enjoy sitting in the living room with an album cover with a couple of friends and just listening to an album. ( Though of course not all albums offer this experience, you have to be picky ).



    Another thing with iTunes LP and iTunes Extras is that this may show that Apple is making progress in building the relationships it needs to win the confidence of media providers so that someday we may see major netflix-volumes of movies coming through iTunes and, finally, making the Apple TV reach its potential.



    This isn't a game-changer, but the brake may be coming off.
  • Reply 20 of 59
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SinisterJoe View Post


    iTunes LP is a neat idea but I don't see it being any major selling point to the iTunes Store. I think if Apple was smart here they would have opened the format and tried to push it as a standard for all digital music distributers. Betting on their own ability to implement it better in the iPod than its competitors can in their products. If it remains some weird iTunes Store exclusive it's really not going to be anything more than a niche feature only available on some cherry picked albums.



    MildlyBadJoe, iTunes LP is built using Javascript which is basically open and free to be used by anyone. I think Apple was smart to use an open standard rather than pushing a proprietary format.
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