After the first flurry of Macs running Apple’s own processors, in November of last year, Apple has made another step toward transitioning the entire Mac line to these new chips. The new iMac, announced yesterday, not only features Apple’s own M1 processor, but is the first Mac to benefit from a redesign along with this upgrade. At the same time, Apple announced new iPad Pros, AirTags, and a refresh of the Apple TV 4K.
Apple TV+ launched with a bunch of A-listers, and so far we have seen a handful of series on the service. I watched and enjoyed two of them – The Morning Show and For All Mankind – but now that they’re over, what do I do? I’m not interested in the other series, and, while there’s a lot of stuff that’s been announced, Apple has fallen into the trap of not having enough content to make its service worthwhile.
It’s only $5 a month, and free for a year to anyone (like me) who bought a new Apple device. That free subscription is Apple’s way of planning for this period, when there’s nothing more for people to watch. But what about those who pay cash money for the service? Since there’s no back catalog, there’s no point in paying any more.
Apple clearly knew this would happen, and this is probably why they gave away millions of free subscriptions. For a service like this to stick, however, it needs new content regularly. I liked what I saw, and it was free (well, I did pay a lot for that iPhone…), but going forward, I hope there will be a reason to want to pay for a subscription when the freebie runs out.
The Apple TV+ debut is a mixed affair. It may only have a handful of shows right now, but people seem to be enjoying them (even if most critics didn’t). I know I am anxiously looking forward to Friday for the next episode of The Morning Show and For All Mankind.
However, Apple TV+ content is only available through the TV app. And the TV app is pretty bad, mediocre at best…
The TV app is a bit of a mystery. As the article points out:
The TV app now has to juggle being a somewhat neutral curation of every TV show and movie available and act as the venue for Apple’s TV+ original content. It has to serve dual duty as directory and provider.
I don’t understand why there’s not a tab for Apple TV+, as there is in the Music app for Apple Music, or in the App Store app for Arcade.
I want the TV app to only show me the stuff that I pay for and can actually watch right now. Advertising of the full iTunes store or Apple TV Channels library should be in a separate tab, like a new “Browse” experience. The primary tabs like “TV Shows”, “Movies” and “Kids” should not be thinly-veiled ad platforms.
Yep. Apple is pushing the channels that they can get their commission on rather than making an app that is viewer friendly.
By the way, when are the next episodes of those Apple TV+ series coming out? I can’t find anything about dates in the TV app.
I was watching something I had ripped on Plex recently, and I noticed that it looked a bit faded, muted, even veiled when I streamed it through the Plex app on my Apple TV 4K, compared to streaming it through the Plex app on my TV. I thought that, perhaps, the app itself had some way of rendering the colors and sharpness that was different on the two devices.
Then I tried some other apps, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The output from each source was very different. With Netflix, the TV looks a lot muddier than when I stream from the Apple TV, and with Amazon Prime Video, the colors are very different.
Here’s an example, from the beginning of the first episode of Person of Interest. I took this photo of the image streamed via the Apple TV app:
And here’s the same scene from the Amazon app on my TV:
Checking my TV’s settings, I made sure that the settings apply to all sources. The Apple TV shouldn’t change much; you can choose whether it plays HDR and either 50 or 60 Hz, but neither of these settings made a difference. There’s also a color gamut setting, but that didn’t make any difference either.
The color cast difference in the two photos above is quite striking, and much more of a difference than what I saw from Plex. The brightness and saturation are also very different.
Does anyone know why I’m seeing such a difference in colors, sharpness, and contrast between the two? Theoretically, these apps should be sending the same data regardless of source.
Remember the 1st generation Apple TV? The one that was a sort of iPod for the living room? You’d sync content to it from your iTunes library, then watch it on your TV, using HDMI or component video connections.
This has long been an obsolete device, but Apple is adding another limitation.
Also beginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.
After the changes, you’ll only be able to access the iTunes Store on Apple TV (2nd generation) or later.
I only recall syncing content to the 1st generation Apple TV, not accessing the iTunes Store directly on the device. So I’m not sure if you’ll be able to use it by manually syncing content in the future or if it is truly dead.
The 1st generation Apple TV was available with either 40 or 160 GB storage, and is still a useful device. Does anyone still use one? If so, what do you plan to do after this change?
This has become a lot simpler lately: you can now do this without wires. This means you can leave your Apple TV in the living room, and take screenshots from any Mac on the same network.
If you do need to take screenshots of the Apple TV – something that generally only developers and journalists need to do – here’s how.
First, make sure your Apple TV is awake, and your TV is on; you’ll need to view it briefly.
Next, fire up Xcode, then choose Window > Devices & Simulators. Click your Apple TV in the Discovered sidebar, then click Pair with your Apple TV. You’ll see a screen asking you to enter the six-digit code displayed on your TV; go to the other room and get the code, then enter it.
You’ll next see a screen like this:
You can now click Take Screenshot to capture the screen. Of course, you still need to go back to where the Apple TV is located to navigate through menus and select items, since Xcode can’t (unfortunately) display what the Apple TV is showing in real time.
I was very interested in getting the new Apple TV 4K. I wanted to be able to view 4K movies on my 4K TV. I can already do this to some extent with Amazon Prime Video, and the quality is impressive. However, Apple has published a support document that explains the requirements for accessing 4K content.
You won’t be able to download 4K movies; you’ll only be able to stream them.
You can download a local copy of an HD movie, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions, but you can’t download a 4K version.
And you’ll need a 25 Mbps connection to get 4K content. Otherwise you’ll just get HD or SD:
The higher the quality of the video that you’re trying to stream, the faster your Internet connection has to be. (Apple recommends a minimum speed of 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.) Your Apple devices automatically switch the video quality to a lower quality version if your Internet connection isn’t fast enough.
Yet again, Apple hits users without fast internet connections. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to download a movie, even if I do so overnight because my connection isn’t fast enough to do in when I want to watch it. And what about people with bandwidth caps? If they want to watch a movie several times, I assume the content will be stored in the Apple TV until more content is streamed overwriting it. But if you want to watch a movie again after you’ve watched a few others, then it won’t be local.
I assume these restrictions have something to do with Apple’s agreement with movie studios. But they do highlight he fact that you don’t own the movies you buy from the iTunes Store; you are merely renting them. You can’t do what you want with them, you can’t even back them up in case they are removed from the store.
Whether you’re considering an Apple TV or you already have one, you can more fully enjoy Apple’s entertainment device with this ultimate guide by TidBITS managing editor Josh Centers. You’ll learn how to set it up and use it to watch movies and TV shows, play music, display your photos, give presentations, and run all manner of apps on the big screen.
Josh walks you through cables, ports, and setup, and explains how to use gestures and spoken commands with the Siri Remote — yes, you can talk to your TV! He helps you navigate and customize the Home screen, plus describes getting-started settings such as inputting your Apple ID and enabling parental controls.
The book, which is organized to make it easy to find the topic you need now, walks you through using the built-in apps for playing iTunes Store video and describes how to download apps for Comedy Central, Disney, ESPN, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, YouTube, and more — complete with clickable Web activation links for 50 video apps, so you don’t have to type those Web URLs by hand. But you’re not restricted to commercial video: Josh explains how you can best view home movies and any DVDs or Blu-ray discs you own.
The book also looks at using an Apple TV to listen to your music or Apple Music, download and play podcasts from iTunes, and browse your photos. An important new feature of the Apple TV is its App Store, and you’ll find recommendations for apps that bring fitness, food, mapping, shopping, art, gaming, and more to your big screen.
Bonus! A special cheat sheet summarizes key Siri Remote tips and spoken commands so that you can easily try them from the couch.
With the release of the fourth-generation model, the Apple TV has opened up to third-party apps. You are no longer limited to getting local media from your iTunes library. One of the first apps that lets you use other sources is Plex, which “organizes your video, music, and photo collections and streams them to all of your screens.”
I had tried out Plex some years ago, and found it as enjoyable as installing Linux on a computer. But the company has made great strides in improving the software, and as soon as the Apple TV app was available, I installed it on my device. In this article, I’m going to compare the two for streaming content to an Apple TV. I’ll also discuss using these two methods to share content on other devices.
From day one with the Apple TV, I have hated the way you enter passwords. Some bright UI designer at Apple felt that a single line of characters when you enter passwords was cool, but ignored the fact that it takes way too long to navigate that line.