Preparing to jailbreak your Apple TV

While jailbreaking isn’t my cup of tea, the fine folks at 9to5Mac have prepared an excellent primer for the forthcoming jailbreak for the Apple TV 4. Among the important things to note: you’ll need one of the earlier Apple TV 4s produced (so that it’s running an older version of tvOS) and you’ll very likely want a USB C cable to connect to your Apple TV.

Even if you aren’t interested in jailbreaking your Apple TV, though, they do share a cool way to decode your  ATV’s serial number to see the exact week it was produced!

Posted by / March 15, 2016 / Posted in News

Sony expanding PlayStation Vue TV service nationwide

In 2015, Sony launched PlayStation Vue, a TV package that allowed subscribers access to bundles of conventional television channels for prices starting at $30 a month, providing both live TV and cloud-based DVR functionality. Initially only available in Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia and San Francisco, Trusted Reviews reports that the service is now expanding nationwide.

The service is available not only on the PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4, but also the Amazon Fire TV. There’s currently no word on an Apple TV app option for PlayStation Vue, but with Apple struggling to reach agreements with networks to offer a competitor, the service would be a welcome option for many Apple TV owners.

Posted by / March 15, 2016 / Posted in News

First look: DuckTales: Remastered for Apple TV

WayForward Technologies has recently released DuckTales: Remastered for the Apple TV, adding to a growing collection of platformers in the Apple TV library. While I haven’t had a chance to sink serious hours into it, as someone who played the original version of the game for the NES many years ago, I was eager to take the game for a spin and share first impressions.

Continue reading First look: DuckTales: Remastered for Apple TV

Are Samsung smart TVs threatening Apple TV?

An article on The Motley Fool today discusses the possibility of Samsung smart TVs posing a major threat to the Apple TV (as well as other over-the-top streaming devices, such as the Roku and Chromecast).

The article notes that in roughly the past year, Samsung has shipped 20 million televisions powered by its own Linux-based operating system Tizen. Apple, on the other hand, is estimated to have shipped 37 million Apple TVs during the entire lifespan of the product line, which debuted in 2007.

Should fans of the Apple TV or other streaming devices be concerned at this point, though? The sales numbers are certainly impressive, but the app selection for Tizen-powered TVs is limited and it’s unclear how many people are actually using the smart features on their TVs.

At a time when it’s hard to buy a device that doesn’t have Netflix and Hulu, app and operating system quality is also increasingly important. Samsung hasn’t proven itself to be a hotbed for great software development and most smart TVs (Samsung or otherwise) just aren’t as pleasant to use as an Apple TV that’s expressly designed for one purpose.

While Samsung’s efforts shouldn’t be ignored, Apple is clearly offering a wider range of apps, better software, and the benefit of being able to pair with TVs of any brand.

Review: Rayman Adventures for Apple TV

Rayman Adventures is one of the marquee titles on the Apple TV so far. In addition to being part of a venerable franchise, the game has beautiful graphics, a forgiving learning curve, and interesting systems to encourage repeat play. All told, this game stands as possibly the best runner/platformer (more on that in a bit) currently on the Apple TV.

Continue reading Review: Rayman Adventures for Apple TV

Beyond Netflix and Hulu: Lesser-known streaming services

We all know the big streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, but a new post by Consumer Reports details some additional options, almost all of which are available for the Apple TV. Are you an Anglophile? Acorn.tv can give you your fill of British programming for $5 a month. Serious movie buff? Mubi.com gives you access to classic movies for another $5 a month. Even if you subscribe to all of these options, you’ll still be coming out ahead versus a cable bill!

 

Posted by / March 10, 2016 / Posted in News

Sixth beta of tvOS 9.2 for Apple TV released, new features added

Apple has released tvOS 9.2 beta 6 to developers for testing, per AppleInsider. While there’s no public beta for tvOS, Apple TV owners have several new features to look forward to when it’s released.

These new features include:

  • Support for folders on the home screen to organize apps
  • MapKit and Bluetooth keyboard support
  • Voice dictation via Siri

More as it develops.

Posted by / March 10, 2016 / Posted in News

Raise your pulse with these Apple TV games

Looking to see some of the new possibilities of the Apple TV hardware and remote? Look no further than some of these exciting games curated by AppAdvice.

Some great titles on this list, but I’d also add Rayman Adventures and Beach Buggy Racing. Don’t let the early levels fool you in Rayman: there are some tough challenges in this beautiful platformer. Beach Buggy Racing is a great way to scratch the Mario Kart itch, especially when paired with a true game controller.

Posted by / March 9, 2016 / Posted in News

Siri commands for the Apple TV

iMore has a terrific post outlining all of the current Siri functionality available in the Apple TV. If you’re tired of trying different commands and seeing what works and what doesn’t, it’s quite a comprehensive list. Apple has also been expanding Siri functionality for the Apple TV in software updates, growing the number of commands it understands over time.

A few favorites from the list:

  • “What movie stars [actor] and [actor]?” This shows movies that have both actors.
  • “What did he say?” This goes back 15 seconds and turns on closed captioning for a short period for when you can’t make out something that was said.
  • “Launch [app name].” This will open any app, perfect if you have quite a few installed!

 

Posted by / March 9, 2016 / Posted in News

Get a double dose of March Madness on Apple TV

Access to sports has long been one of the biggest hurdles for streaming services, but the NCAA March Madness Live app for Apple TV is hoping to change that, reports <re/code>.

The new app will launch Thursday, March 9 for a dozen streaming devices, but the Apple TV version has a unique killer feature: split-screen. You can put that 65″ screen to use and watch two games simultaneously so you don’t have to make the Sophie’s Choice of sports.

 

Access to the app does require registration to prove you’re a cable TV subscriber, so don’t go cutting the cord just yet!

Posted by / March 9, 2016 / Posted in News