Wednesday September 24, 2014 7:22 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
UK home entertainment and communications provider Sky expanded its Apple TV offerings with its expanded NOW TV channel supporting the broadcaster's Entertainment Month Pass and Sky Movies Month Pass, reports Engadget. These two passes join the existing Sky Sports day pass that debuted on NOW TV last year.
The Entertainment Month Pass for NOW TV brings the latest television programming from 13 pay TV channels, including Boardwalk Empire and The Leftovers, for £4.99 (US$8.19) monthly. The Movies Month Pass is for movie buffs, offering streaming access to more than 800 blockbuster Hollywood films for £9.99 (US$16.39) a month after a 30-day free trial. UK customers also will be able to access the £9.99 (US$16.39) Sky Sports Day Pass for one-day access to six different Sky Sports channels.
Apple recently has been expanding the content and capabilities of its Apple TV. In the past few weeks, the company has rolled out a new channels for Beats Music and FX NOW, tweaked the user interface with an iOS 7-inspired design, and added support for iOS 8 features like Family Sharing and iCloud Photo Support.
Tuesday September 23, 2014 10:17 am PDT by Juli Clover
Apple today added the FXNOW channel to the Apple TV, providing users with content from the FXNOW network. Previously rumored in July, the new FXNOW channel is the on-demand portion of the FX, FXX, and FXM television channels, all of which are owned by the Fox Entertainment Group.
Rumors suggested the FXNOW Apple TV channel would include content from The Simpsons, branded Simpsons World, which includes all 552 episodes of The Simpsons. Early reports on the channel suggested users would be able to create playlists of episodes and share favorite scenes. Currently, however, the channel offers a variety of content from FX, including episodes of The Strain and Sons of Anarchy.
Like many cable-based channels on the Apple TV, much of the FXNOW content require cable authentication. Supported cable providers for the FXNOW channel include AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Cox, and Time-Warner.
Apple has significantly expanded content offerings on the Apple TV over the past year or two, but many of the additions have been limited to the United States. The Netflix channel has, however, been available in many of the markets served by Netflix, which has included the U.S., Latin America, and a number of countries in Europe. As a result, it is unsurprising that the channel has expanded to Germany, but viewers there will be happy to see Apple TV support arriving right alongside the general launch of Netflix in the country.
The Apple TV channel is a companion to the Showtime premium cable network and offers limited free content to all users. Most content, which includes live and on-demand shows and events, is limited to customers who subscribe to the network through a participating cable provider.
Tuesday August 26, 2014 7:13 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Apple today launched its iTunes Festival channel on the Apple TV ahead of the festival's start on September 1. Similar to previous years, the iTunes Festival channel contains information relevant to the upcoming London version of the popular music festival.
Ahead of the event, the channel allows you to browse information on the history of the festival, details on the Roadhouse, and the performance schedule for next month. When the festival begins, Apple TV owners can watch HD streams of both live and archived performances.
Apple recently filled its performance calendar adding well-known musicians such as Mary J. Blige and Tony Bennett to the festival lineup. These performers will join previously announced acts such as Maroon 5, Pharrell Williams and Lenny Kravitz. Tickets for the concert are available for free via a lottery system and through local radio station promotions.
Apple's iTunes Festival iOS app is also showing as having an update available to support the upcoming concert series, but many users are reporting errors when trying to update their apps.
Wednesday August 20, 2014 11:58 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Alongside the new NFL Now channel on the Apple TV debuting today, ESPN has also expanded its WatchESPN channel to include support for college sports with the SEC Network and Longhorn Network.
The SEC Network is a brand-new television network created through a partnership between the Southeastern Conference and ESPN. The network launched last week ahead of the 2014 college football season with plans to cover at least 1000 live events per year from the conference's 21 sports. The network consists of a standard SEC Network channel, which mirrors featured content from the SEC Network television channel, as well as an SEC Network + channel with additional coverage.
The Longhorn Network is focused solely on the University of Texas at Austin athletic program and is also produced in partnership with ESPN. The network is entering its fourth year of availability, but has just been added to the WatchESPN online service this season.
Both networks were added to the WatchESPN iOS app last week, but it has taken a few extra days to make their way to the Apple TV channel. Access to the content is limited to those who have television subscription packages that include the corresponding channels.
Wednesday August 20, 2014 10:06 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
The National Football League earlier this month officially launched its NFL Now service, its next-generation video streaming service that provides access to the largest digital library of NFL videos available online. The video content can be viewed on the iPhone, iPad, Mac (via a web browser) and other connected devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and as of today, the Apple TV channel that was leaked earlier in the month.
The NFL Now service delivers historic videos, breaking news, game highlights and original programming from the NFL Now studios. Personalization is a key feature -- allowing users to follow their favorite players and teams, with up to 4,800 minutes of team coverage being pushed across their screens each week. The service also will provide live video coverage of important press events and other important moments from the NFL. It will not live stream NFL games that are in progress. Customers who want to watch games as they are happening must download the NFL Mobile app [Direct Link].
NFL Now is available in two tiers, with the free NFL Now service providing access to the core news and video content. Football fans who want even more content and personalization can subscribe to the $1.99 monthly NFL Now Plus service, which offers instant in-game highlights, access to NFL Films videos and the ability to create custom video streams featuring their favorite teams or players.
iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users can download the NFL Now app [Direct Link] from the iOS App Store for free. Mac users can get their fill of NFL coverage via the NFL Now website, while Apple TV channels can access the new channel directly from the main screen on their set-top boxes.
Tuesday August 12, 2014 8:53 am PDT by Kelly Hodgkins
Ahead of its London iTunes Festival in September, Apple is promoting its Apple TV with a bundle deal offering a $25 iTunes gift card with each Apple TV purchase (via 9to5Mac). The gift card can be used to purchase apps, music, and movies available in the iTunes Store, and the promotion is valid through September 30.
Earlier this year, Apple offered a similar $25 gift card promotion that sparked speculation about a possible imminent launch of an updated Apple TV. These rumors turned out to be false, and Apple is still selling the same third-generation model that saw its last substantial update in early 2012. Though this latest promotion offers a $25 gift card, the Apple TV still retails for its original $99 price tag.
The current crop of rumors suggests a 2015 update for Apple's television-related hardware, with delays to a rumored set-top box interfacing with live and on-demand content reportedly due to ongoing negotiations with cable companies. Rumors have indicated the next-generation Apple TV may include an App Store, support for wireless game controllers, Siri integration and more, although it is unclear whether Apple plans to split the television lineup between the full-featured set-top box and an improved Apple TV or if everything will be bundled into a single Apple TV product.
Wednesday August 6, 2014 9:10 am PDT by Eric Slivka
Roughly six weeks ago, ABC News launched a new Apple TV channel offering a wide range of live and on-demand content from both national and select local feeds. Based on the first 30 days of availability, ABC News has now put together an infographic that offers a look at how the channel is being used. Among the interesting observations:
- Live video usage on Apple TV, which accounts for 20 percent of channel views, is 50 percent higher than on mobile and desktop combined.
- Apple TV viewers spend 65 percent more time per visit than desktop users.
- Peak usage for the ABC News Apple TV channel falls at 9 PM Eastern Time, likely due to that time period encompassing evening viewing hours for most of the United States.
Click for full infographic
Alongside today's usage data release, ABC News is also announcing the addition of three new local stations to the channel: Albuquerque (KOAT), Boston (WCVB), and Honolulu (KITV). The new additions join the original nine local stations made available on the channel at launch.
Apple has been adding new channels to the Apple TV at a fairly rapid pace, at least in the United States, although many of them require authentication through an existing cable service provider. The company has long been rumored to be working on a more powerful set-top box, but the latest rumors have suggested the device is unlikely to arrive until 2015.
Wednesday July 30, 2014 11:50 am PDT by Juli Clover
For several months now, rumors have continually suggested Apple is working on a new television product, which may be an updated set top box with capabilities like support for games and apps and expanded access to television content.
Every rumored release date has come and gone thus far, and according to a new report from The Information, a new television-related product is not likely to appear until 2015.
A source that spoke to The Information has suggested that Apple engineers who are working on the new television product have been informed that the device will not launch in 2014, largely due to ongoing contractual issues with cable companies and Comcast's pending purchase of Time Warner Cable.
Apple engineers who are working on aspects of the device have been told by their bosses not to expect a launch this year and are working off timelines that assume a launch next year, according to a person familiar with the plans. Apple employees have cited cable companies "dragging their heels" and the pending Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger as reasons the device and accompanying TV service haven't launched.
Conversely, sources in the television industry have denied that cable companies are behind the delay, suggesting Apple has "bit off more than it can chew," and needs permission from many different rights holders to "create the service it wants to offer."
The most recent content rumors from February of 2014 have suggested Apple is working to wedge itself between cable companies and consumers, potentially providing content from cable companies through its set-top box, overlaid with an Apple TV-style interface. Apple is also seeking to add DVR capabilities to the service.
In 2013, Apple was said to be close to completing a deal with Time Warner Cable over a possible TWC Apple TV app, allowing Time Warner subscribers to watch live television through the Apple TV, but the negotiations may have stalled due to the pending Time Warner-Comcast merger.
Earlier this year, a product roadmap from KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo pointed towards a Q3 2014 launch date for the redesigned Apple TV, but based on The Information's new data, it seems any potential launch plans have now been pushed back.
Apple today added two more channels to the Apple TV, delivering financial news channel CNBC and network FOX NOW to the platform.
CNBC offers access to a live stream of the financial channel, as well as on-demand clips from news segments and full episodes of the channels "Prime" content original series. Viewing requires authentication with one of a number of cable and Internet providers. Notable cable companies not available for authentication include Time Warner and Charter.
FOX NOW includes on-demand access to a number of shows from the network, including 24: Live Another Day, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Glee, and more. Authentication through a cable provider is required for full access to content.
Thursday July 10, 2014 12:22 am PDT by Richard Padilla
Google's Chromecast and the Roku were the two highest-selling streaming media devices in the U.S. last year as the Apple TV fell to third place, according to new data from Parks Associates (via GigaOM).
Both Google and Roku sold an estimated 3.8 million streaming media devices last year, with Apple selling just over 2 million Apple TVs. To date, Apple has sold over 20 million Apple TVs worldwide since launching the streaming device in 2007, while Roku has sold 8 million devices since its first media box in 2008.
A Parks Associates report last year noted that 14% of U.S. broadband households were using streaming media devices. The study also stated that 37% of those surveyed households used a Roku device while 24% used an Apple TV, making the Roku the most used set-top box in the U.S.
Recent rumors have suggested that Apple is working on a next-generation Apple TV, which may feature a streaming TV service through a partnership with Comcast and other cable-box like capabilities. Some reports have also speculated that a new Apple TV may include enhanced gaming capabilities, utilizing iOS gaming controllers and an App Store ecosystem to provide a console-like experience.
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