John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Apple Finally Gets Around to Updating Apple TV

It has been about two years since Apple last released a major firmware update for its Apple TV platform, so the release of Apple TV 3.0 today will come as welcome news to those who own the device.

Apple TV 3.0 is largely as rumored: Adding support for Internet radio, Genius Mixes, iTunes LP and iTunes Extras (bonus clips, interviews, etc.). But it boasts another new feature as well: A redesigned user interface.

appletv_main

Whether the debut of Apple TV 3.0 heralds a hardware refresh of the device itself is anyone’s guess. It is worth noting, though, that there’s been quite a bit of speculation recently that Cupertino is working on an overhauled device that will offer DVR capabilities and support iTunes TV show subscriptions.

As Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote back in August: “Apple could leverage its deep library of content with many network and cable channel content owners to provide unlimited access to a sub-library of its TV shows for a standard monthly fee ($30 or $40 per month).”

According to Munster, “Such a product would effectively replace a consumer’s monthly cable bill (~$85/month) and offer access to current and older episodes of select shows on select channels. The selection would dictate the value, and several tiers could be offered, but we see this as one way for Apple to leverage its large iTunes content library as well as its unique Apple TV hardware in order to get digital video to the TV for a price significantly less than the average cable or satellite TV bill.”

Sounds sweet, right? And it would be sweeter still if it were to offer App Store support and allow users to control games and other apps via iPhone or iPod touch …

Below, the official Apple (AAPL) release:

Apple Introduces Apple TV 3.0 Software With Redesigned User Interface

Enjoy iTunes Extras, iTunes LP & Genius Mixes on Your HD TV

CUPERTINO, Calif., Oct. 29 — Apple® today introduced new Apple TV® 3.0 software featuring a redesigned main menu that makes navigating your favorite content simpler and faster, and makes enjoying the largest selection of on-demand HD movie rentals and purchases, HD TV shows, music and podcasts from the iTunes® Store even better on your TV. You can now enjoy iTunes Extras and iTunes LP in stunning fullscreen with your Apple TV, as well as listen to Genius Mixes and Internet radio through your home theater system. The new Apple TV software is available immediately free of charge to existing Apple TV owners, and Apple TV with 160GB capacity is available for just $229.

“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 you instant access to your 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. The new software also allows Apple TV users to enjoy stunning fullscreen iTunes Extras and iTunes LP, including great new movie titles such as “Star Trek” or classics like “The Wizard of Oz” and albums such as Taylor Swift’s “Fearless (Platinum Edition)” and Jack Johnson’s “En Concert.” iTunes Extras gives movie fans great additional content such as deleted scenes, interviews and interactive galleries. iTunes LP is 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.

Now Apple TV users can enjoy Genius Mixes through their home theater system and listen to up to 12 endless mixes of songs that go great together, automatically generated from their iTunes library. Customers can also enjoy Internet radio, allowing them to browse and listen to thousands of Internet radio stations, as well as tag favorite stations to listen to later. Apple TV’s support of HD photos is enhanced with iPhoto Events, which simplifies finding your favorite photos on Apple TV, as well as iPhoto® Faces, which gives access to photos organized by people identified in iPhoto.

Apple TV users have direct access to a catalog of over 8,000 Hollywood films on iTunes including over 2,000 in stunning 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. Purchases downloaded to Apple TV are automatically synced back to iTunes on the user’s computer for enjoyment on their Mac® or PC or all current generation iPods or iPhones.* iPod touch® or iPhone® users can download the free Remote app from the App Store to control their Apple TV with a simple tap or flick of the finger.


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