10 tips for getting the most out of your Apple TV

10 tips for getting the most out of your Apple TV

Apple TV, with its spartan looking remote control, is as simple as can be for a media streaming box. But that doesn’t mean it has no tricks on its own. Here are 10 tips for getting the most out of your Apple TV:

  • To quickly put your Apple TV to sleep, press and hold the “Play/Pause” button.
  • Press and hold the “Select” button during video playback, and you will get a menu to adjust audio, subtitle and speaker options.
  • When you’re playing a video or nesting deeming in submenus, press and hold the “Menu” button to take you back to the main menu.
  • Data entry using the remote is slow and error prone. Use the free Remote app on your iPhone or iPad instead. Or use any bluetooth keyboard via Settings > General > Bluetooth.
  • Rather than using the default National Geographic pictures as screen saver, you can select movie trailer posters, your Photo Stream photos or Flickr album. Change it under Settings > Screen Saver > Photos.
  • To hide apps on your home screen, go to Settings > General > Restrictions.
  • To rearrange the icons on the home screen, first navigate to the app icon. Press and hold the “Select” button until the icon begins to jiggle, then use the arrow keys to move the icon where you want.
  • In addition to iPhone and iPad, you can AirPlay content on your Mac to the Apple TV if you are running OS X Mountain Lion or later. 
  • Instead of using the stock Apple remote control, you can program non-Apple remote control if it has learning capability. Setup is under Settings > General > Remotes > Learn Remote. This allows you to use one remote to control all your home entertainment TV and boxes.
  • To reset your Apple TV in case it is unresponsive, press and hold down “Menu” button together with “Down” button.

Apple releases app for WWDC 2013

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Apple has released the app for WWDC 2013, its annual developer conference happening next week June 10-14. This year’s WWDC app is opened to anyone with a registered Apple account. For the first time, daily session videos of the conference will be made available to all developers. This is unlike in the past where WWDC app was opened for those who bought a ticket to the event, and session videos were made available to all developers few weeks after the event.

Apple is expected to unveil the next generation iOS and OS X in the keynote of the event scheduled June 10 Monday 10am PDT. 

Apple has so far released only two new products this year

apple-store

It is mid-year 2012, and Apple has only released two new hardware products this year. The products are off course the new iPad and the 3rd generation Apple TV.

Typically Apple products are launched in a predictable cycle. For iPad, iPhone and iPod, it is a yearly refresh. Macs are a different story but it is usual to have two refreshes each year for MacBook Pro notebooks, and a yearly refresh for MacBook Air. 

Macbook Pro misses its Q1 refresh this year, all due mainly to the delay in Intel’s Ivy Bridge processors. But wait no further, as all signs point to a confirmed launch of Macbook Pro refresh next week during the WWDC conference keynote on June 11 morning.

In fact there are rumors that Apple will refresh not just the Macbook Pro but its entire Mac line including accessories during the keynote. That will include Mac Pro, Mac Mini, Macbook Air, iMac, Thunderbolt Display, Time Capsule and Airport routers. Stay tuned!

Summary of March 7 Apple Event: iOS 5.1, new Apple TV, new iPad, iPhoto for iOS

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Apple just completed its March 7 media event at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco. If you want the full coverage, please visit the usual suspects such as Engadget, MacWorld etc websites. For those in a hurry, here are the quick summary:

  • iOS 5.1 will be available later today. Those with iOS 5 can update directly from within Settings app.
  • As part of iOS 5.1, Siri will add Japanese language support.
  • iTunes in iCloud now support movies with the ability to re-download movies you’ve purchased on any device. iTunes movie now come in 1080p.
  • Apple unveils third generation Apple TV with 1080p support with a streamlined new user interface. The price is the same as existing model at $99. Available next week March 16th, order starts today.
  • Apple launches new iPad. It is not iPad 3 or iPad HD, just iPad. Or the new iPad. Or third generation iPad.
  • New iPad comes with 264ppi 2048×1536 resolution Retina Display. This is twice the resolution of existing iPad and more than 1 million pixel more than HDTV 1080p (1920×1080) standard. The new screen also boasts 44% greater saturation.
  • New iPad has a new A5X processor with quad-core graphics and is twice as fast as Tegra 3.
  • New iPad has a 5M pixel iSight camera with backside illuminated sensor, 5-element lens, Hybrid IR filter, face detection and ISP (signal processor) module built into the A5X chip. It can record video at 1080p with video stabilization and temporal noise deduction features.
  • There is no Siri for the new iPad. Instead it comes with voice dictation for US English, British, Australian, French, German and Japanese.
  • The new iPad supports World Ready 3G and next-generation 4G LTE wireless. It is capable of 21Mbps HSPA+ and DC-HSDPA at 42Mbps, and LTE at 73Mbps. (Compare with iPad 2 which is capable of 3.1Mbps on EV-DO and 7.2Mbps on HSPA).
  • The new iPad has a 10 hours battery life. The battery life is 9 hours on 4G LTE. It is 9.4mm thin and weights 1.4lbs, which is slightly heavier than iPad 2.
  • The new iPad has the same pricing as iPad 2: $499 for 16GB Wi-Fi, $599 for 32GB Wi-Fi and $699 for 64GB Wi-Fi. The price for 4G LTE version is $629 for 16GB, $729 for 32GB and $829 for 64GB.
  • The new iPad will be available March 16 for US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia. Pre-orders starts today.
  • The new iPad will be available March 23 for Austria, belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Macau, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
  • Apple updates iOS apps: iWorks, iMovie, Garage Band. Free update for existing users.
  • Apple releases new iPhoto for iOS with photo editing and organization features. $4.99 available today.
  • iPad 2 16GB will be made available at $399, a price drop of $100.

Apple TV is now about $10 cheaper at $89.99

Apple TV price drop

Apple TV is now at $89.99 at Amazon and Best Buy, a price drop of about $10. At Apple’s online store, Apple TV is still listed at the usual $99.

The price drop might be an indication that retailers are making room for a newer model. Mid-November is unusually late for a product launch ahead of Christmas shopping season. But it is nevertheless good bargain if Apple TV is in your shopping wish list.

Apple TV at Amazon.com

Apple cancels TV show rental on iTunes and Apple TV

Apple has canceled TV show rental on iTunes and Apple TV, as “iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows”.

“iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.”

Priced mostly at 99-cent per episode, TV rental debuted as an option when Apple launched its second generation Apple TV last September. With only ABC and Fox joining the program, Apple has not been able to get other studios such as Warner, NBC and Viacom to offer their programming on TV rental.

All Things D: Apple Pulls the Plug on TV Rentals

Apple adds TV show purchase option and Vimeo streaming in Apple TV 4.3 update

Apple has pushed out a new version 4.3 firmware update to Apple TV. New in this update is the ability to purchase TV shows. This is a shift in direction as 99 cents rental-only approach is the only option when Apple released second-generation Apple TV back in September 2010.

You can now buy TV episodes directly from Apple TV and your purchase will appear under the “Purchased” section of iTunes on both desktop and iOS devices. You can redownload and restream the purchased shows for repeat viewing.

TV shows is generally $2.99 a pop but most will welcome there is such an option. Fox and ABC remains the only two major networks offered in Apple TV, with CBS and NBC missing. With the offering for purchase option, lets hope more studio willl offer their contents in Apple TV.

Apple-vimeo

The new update also adds Vimeo as a service accessible directly from Apple TV. A strong endorsement for Vimeo video site.

XBMC released for AppleTV2 and iOS

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XBMC, the best-loved open source media platform for TV, is now ported to AppleTV2 and iOS devices. This makes AppleTV2 the cheapest full featured brand name media streamer you can get. This must worry other media streamer makers such as Roku and Popcorn Hour, as you can get the best of iTunes world and best of media player in one box.

XBMC completes the AppleTV2 as a media streamer and player. With XBMC, you can now view media outside of iTunes, with codec not supported by AppleTV2 such as divx and MKV. And XBMC will transcode 1080p media to play on AppleTV2. XBMC is installed as an app within AppleTV, which means you can keep using stock player for your iTunes content and rental. All these in one of the best user interface for a media platform on your TV.

One caveat is you need to jailbreak your device in order to run XBMC on your AppleTV2, iPad or iPhone 4. But it is better than nothing.

You asked for it: XBMC for AppleTV2, iPad, iPhone4