Archive for the ‘Apple TV’ Category

DirecTV Now renews four-month subscription promo with Apple TV 4K

Friday, November 17th, 2017

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DirectTV Now has re-started its launch promotion, and is offering new subscribers the new Apple TV 4K if they pay four months of service in advance.

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Apple Seeds Fourth Beta of tvOS 11.2 to Developers

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Apple today seeded the fourth beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2 update to developers for testing purposes, four days after seeding the third tvOS 11.2 update and over two weeks after the launch of tvOS 11.1.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


According to Apple's release notes, the tvOS 11.2 update enables a new AVDisplayManager feature for developers, designed to allow the device to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content.

The update includes support for switching the Apple TV 4K display output to SDR for apps that are GPU-bound when running in HDR and it re-introduces the Unwatched category in Home Sharing for Movies, TV Shows, and Home Videos.

Apple says tvOS 11.2 also adds new features, bug fixes, and security improvements to the tvOS operating system.

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‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Gets 4K Mention on iTunes, Suggesting Disney’s 4K Holdout May Be Ending

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 has received a card on the iTunes Movies storefront that encourages users to watch the film in 4K HDR on the Apple TV 4K, suggesting that Disney's 4K video holdout on iTunes may end soon. The change comes after news in September that Disney would be the only major Hollywood studio not supporting 4K versions of its films on the iTunes Movies store, including Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars movies.

Right now, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 appears under the "Now Available to Rent" section of iTunes with a new "Watch It in 4K" card, but when you tap through to the movie's page it's still listed as HD-only as of writing. As such, the mention could be an error, or the first hint at more Marvel and other Disney movies imminently gaining 4K iTunes support.


Spider-Man: Homecoming is another Marvel Studios movie -- a studio which Disney owns -- that's in 4K HDR on iTunes, but it has been 4K since it released on the digital storefront in September due to the distribution rights of the film being owned by Sony, not Disney.

For now, it appears that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is the only Disney-related film with a hint of having imminent 4K support on iTunes. Other newly released Disney films, including Cars 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, don't have mentions of 4K support anywhere on iTunes yet. Apple's 4K iTunes films are priced at the same point as HD versions -- $20 -- and if you previously owned the movie in HD, Apple automatically upgrades it to 4K HDR without requiring additional payment.

If Disney does begin a wider rollout of 4K support across its iTunes film catalogue, it will be joining 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures in backing the 4K video format on Apple devices.

(Thanks @vash_maxwell!)

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‘DirecTV Now’ Offering Free 32GB Apple TV 4K When Signing Up for 4-Month Service at $140

Friday, November 17th, 2017

With DirecTV Now's latest offer, if you sign up for four months of the streaming TV service at an upfront cost of around $140, you'll get the 32GB Apple TV 4K for free. DirecTV Now starts at $35/month for the "Live a Little" package, which adds up to $140 for four months of service (without any additions like HBO or Showtime). Higher tiers increase to $50/month, $60/month, and $70/month with more channels added to each.

If you opt for the lowest tier, you can get Apple's latest Apple TV 4K device for just $140, which is $40 cheaper than its traditional price point of $180 at Apple and other retailers. If you take advantage of the savings and eventually decide you don't want to continue paying for DirecTV Now, you can cancel the service at any time on the company's website.


The sale is for new customers signing up to DirecTV Now, but existing subscribers can likely use another email and credit card combination to get the free Apple TV 4K. The offer will last through the end of 2017, requires a credit card or PayPal payment, and will see the Apple TV 4K delivered in around three weeks from the order date.

Here's more of the fine print, which also mentions that DirecTV Now does not currently support 4K HDR content streaming:
4K Apple TV (32 GB): Must prepay first four months of service at full price. Non-refundable. Online orders will be shipped via FedEx ground to address provided at point of sale. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Offer limited to 1 per DIRECTV NOW account; 2 per household. Not combinable with select offers. 4k HD not avail. w/DIRECTV NOW.
To get started, visit DirecTV Now's website, click "Start your free trial now," and on the fourth step of the sign-up process you'll encounter the "Special Offer" section with mention of the Apple TV 4K deal. When you're done, be sure to head over to our Deals Roundup and Black Friday Roundup to catch up on all of the latest sales as we head into Black Friday.

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Vimeo Announces Support for HDR Video Playback on iPhone X, 2017 iPad Pro, and Apple TV 4K

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Vimeo today announced that support for high dynamic range (HDR) videos has officially arrived across the company's entire suite of apps for the iPhone X, 2017 iPad Pro models, and Apple TV 4K. Vimeo said this means it's "the only video-hosting platform available in HDR" on Apple's platforms right now. This might be a reference to YouTube, which has been notably absent from including 4K video on its Apple TV app due to each company supporting different HDR codecs.

For Vimeo, the company said that it's enabling HDR with 10-bit graphics and a BT.2020 wide color gamut by leveraging the next-generation High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) standard to keep file sizes at manageable levels. This will allow video makers and editors who shoot in HDR the ability to upload to Vimeo "in the highest color accuracy possible."

We now support 10-bit video, which means the image quality is strikingly clear and cleaner than ever before. The precision and nuance of 10-bit allows us to upgrade from 16 million colors to 1 billion colors.

With BT.2020 (or Rec.2020) support and wider color gamuts (WCG), your image will now represent over 75% of the color that the human eye can see. That’s a big change: most modern color gamuts in videos are limited to a 35% color range. But with BT.2020, we can truly depict your deepest reds, brightest greens, and darkest blacks like never before.
The new support also unlocks resolutions in up to 8K, according to Vimeo, which viewers can watch on devices that support output of these resolution levels (4K, 5K, 6K, and 8K), or download them for file sharing later. Because Vimeo is also a video marketplace where creators can sell videos, the company noted that 8K Ultra HD support isn't just about streaming video (since 8K displays are still nascent in the market), but also for selling, distributing, and submitting videos to festivals "in the best quality possible."

Viewers will be able to know when a video is available in HDR with an included "HDR" badge on the video page and player, which Vimeo automatically detects and displays. Like all HDR and high-resolution content, viewers will need a screen that supports HDR 10 and HEVC, so anyone with an iPhone X, a model of the latest iPad Pro from 2017, and Apple TV 4K will be able to watch this content on their devices.

La La La from Rus Khasanov on Vimeo.


Vimeo content in HDR will also include a separate standard definition version of the video, for users who don't have access to HDR-capable devices. Any device will be able to download HDR HEVC files so they can share and transfer the videos to other platforms, as well.

For more information on Vimeo's HDR support, check out the company's blog post here. Vimeo is available for free on the iOS App Store [Direct Link] and tvOS App Store.

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LIFX launches HomeKit-compatible LED light strips, add-on bridge for older setups

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

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Lighting provider LIFX has upgraded its LIFX Z light strip kit, with the new version supporting HomeKit natively.

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Apple Seeds Third Beta of tvOS 11.2 to Developers

Monday, November 13th, 2017

Apple today seeded the third beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.2 update to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second tvOS 11.2 update and two weeks after the launch of the tvOS 11.1.

Designed for the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models, the tvOS 11.2 developer beta can be downloaded onto the Apple TV via a profile that's installed using Xcode.


According to Apple's release notes, the tvOS 11.2 update enables a new AVDisplayManager feature for developers, designed to allow the device to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content.

The update includes support for switching the Apple TV 4K display output to SDR for apps that are GPU-bound when running in HDR and it re-introduces the Unwatched category in Home Sharing for Movies, TV Shows, and Home Videos.

Apple says tvOS 11.2 also adds new features, bug fixes, and security improvements to the tvOS operating system.

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Jennifer Aniston & Reese Witherspoon drama, Drake TV and movies on tap for Apple

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

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Apple's drive for unique video is heating up, with a new morning show-related drama starring Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon reportedly being green-lit, plus a "go-ahead" from Apple for Drake to produce whatever shows or movies the musician wants.

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Apple Developing TV Show Starring Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Apple is developing a new TV show that will star Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Described as a "morning show drama," the series will star Witherspoon and Aniston as morning talk show hosts, taking a look into the "cutthroat world" of morning TV.

The show is described as an inside look at the lives of the people who help America wake up in the morning, exploring the unique challenges faced by the women (and men) who carry out this daily televised ritual. Brian Stelter's book Top of the Morning: Inside the Cutthroat World of Morning TV -- which was previously in development at Lifetime as a TV movie -- will provide additional background for the show, which is based on an original concept by Ellenberg.
Reports suggested Apple was in a bidding war for the Aniston/Witherspoon show back in September, and it appears the company won out over competitors like Netflix and Showtime. While there's no script available for the show at this time, Apple has inked a deal for two seasons, each with 10 episodes.

Aniston and Witherspoon will star, executive produce, and co-own the upcoming show alongside Media Res, the company that will produce it for Apple. The series is written by Jay Carson, known for his work on House of Cards.

The new morning show drama is Apple's second series that's currently in development. Apple in October inked a deal with Steven Spielberg's Amblin Television and Comcast's NBC Universal to create new episodes of sci-fi series "Amazing Stories." "Amazing Stories," created by Spielberg, originally ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987.

Apple so far has released two original television shows, "Planet of the Apps" and "Carpool Karaoke: The Series." Both of those shows aired exclusively on Apple Music, but it's not yet clear if Apple will also make its higher-profile content available solely on Apple Music or if it will also be accessible on iTunes.

Apple's push into original content is being led by former Sony executives Zack Van Amburg and Jamie Erlicht, who joined Apple back in June. Van Amburg and Erlicht, who helped produce shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Crown," and "Better Call Saul," are running Apple's video programming efforts on a worldwide scale under iTunes chief Eddy Cue. Apple has also made several other video hires in recent months as it aims to better compete with companies like Netflix and Amazon.

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HBO’s Interactive TV Show App ‘Mosaic’ Launches Today for iOS and tvOS

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Last month, HBO announced a new project called "Mosaic," a murder-mystery TV show that allows you to interact with and discover branching paths based on characters you choose to follow. This interactive version of Mosaic has now arrived in the form of an app for iOS and tvOS, and in 2018 a traditional, linear version of the story will debut on HBO. HBO will air the plot line that creators Ed Solomon and Steven Soderbergh envision for the series, which viewers can compare with their own versions.

The free app allows you to choose from various viewing orders, character decisions, and branching information options over the course of a 7.5-hour mini series, which stars Sharon Stone, Garrett Hedlund, Beau Bridges, Paul Reubens, and more. "Mosaic" won't just be a one-off series, with Soderbergh telling TechCrunch that he has made two more "made-for-Mosaic" shows, which will be coming after this first series launches. Soderbergh referred to the app as an "open source format" that will be available to other creatives in the future.

Soderbergh says “I looked at this as sort of an open source format that other fimmakesrs can come in and push.� Beyond the next two Mosaic titles he’s making, it’s unclear if other creators will launch their own separate apps based on the Mosaic tech, or if today’s app will become a hub for viewing or even buying this branching narrative content.
Soderbergh explained that the outcome of the story doesn't change because of choices you make, but that the app is more focused on what information you have -- or lack -- based on the branches you've taken. On Apple TV and iOS devices, the branching narrative will pop up with options after the end of certain scenes, letting you decide what a character should do next or switch to another plot line completely.


As you delve more into the mystery, you'll unlock "Discoveries" with extra clips, documents, and secrets that serve as additional pieces of the show's overall puzzle.
“The outcome and the events of the story don’t change based on your choices� says Soderbergh who avoided making Mosaic an overly-complicated video game. “It’s merely what information do you have about the story based on what you’ve been following.’ Some people like to just keep making choices and get to the end of a path, some people like to minesweep� jumping between separate characters in chronological order.
The Mosaic app was developed by PodOp, which was said to have filed 14 patents for the technology behind the interactive storytelling experience. The developer built storyboard management software that assisted Soderbergh and Solomon in planning out and scripting the branching narrative, as well as analytics tools that will help HBO and the creators see how audiences respond to the new format. If you'd prefer to wait for a more traditional experience, HBO's linear cut of the show will be six hours and debut on January 22, 2018.

You can download Mosaic on iPhone, iPad, and Apple TV for free starting today. [Direct Link]

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