Monday February 19, 2018 1:14 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple today released a new update for tvOS 11, the operating system designed to run on the fourth and fifth-generation Apple TVs. tvOS 11.2.6 comes one month after the release of the tvOS 11.2.5 update, which focused on bug fixes and other under-the-hood improvements.
tvOS 11.2.6 can be downloaded over the air through the Settings app on the Apple TV by going to System --> Software Update. Apple TV owners who have automatic software updates turned on will be upgraded to the tvOS 11.2.6 automatically.
As a minor 11.x.x update tvOS 11.2.6 focuses on performance improvements and bug fixes to address issues that were discovered following the release of tvOS 11.2.5. It is being released alongside bug fix updates for iOS, macOS, and watchOS to address a problem that caused devices to crash due to an inability to render a specific character in the Indian language Telugu.
tvOS 11.2.6 will be followed by tvOS 11.3, an update that is currently being beta tested and is slated for release this spring.
Tuesday February 13, 2018 10:24 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple is developing a new drama series that's based on the early life and career of NBA star Kevin Durant, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, reports Variety.
The show, called "Swagger," was inspired by Durant's experiences as a youth playing basketball. It will highlight the world of Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball, taking a look into the lives of players, their families, and coaches.
Imagine Television, led by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, will produce alongside Kevin Durant's Thirty Five Media. Both Durant and Grazer will serve as executive producers, while Reggie Rock Bythewood will write and direct. Bythewood is known for his work on "Notorious," a movie that shared the story of Notorious B.I.G., and television series "Shots Fired."
Friday February 9, 2018 6:00 am PST by Mitchel Broussard
DirecTV Now has updated its Apple TV 4K deal today with an even lower price point: if you prepay for just three months of the streaming TV service for a total of about $105, you'll get the 32GB Apple TV 4K for free. The deal is an improvement on the original DirecTV Now offer of prepaying for four months of the $35/month service (that's the entry price point), which ended up costing $140 for the 32GB Apple TV 4K.
This makes DirecTV Now's deal the best sale price currently available online for the Apple TV 4K, with the $105 price tag up to $75 cheaper than the device's current going rate of about $170 to $180 at retailers like B&H Photo and Best Buy. You could also opt for the higher cost packages of DirecTV Now when prepaying for three months, with the service increasing to $50/month, $60/month, and $70/month for additional channels.
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Once ordered, the Apple TV 4K arrives in the mail within a few weeks, and if you don't want to continue to pay for DirecTV Now at the end of the three month prepaid period, you can cancel it before you're billed again and keep the Apple TV 4K. The offer is limited to new DirecTV Now subscribers in the United States, but existing customers can take advantage of it by using a different email address. There's also a limit of one offer per DirecTV Now account and two per shipping address.
Below you'll find more of the fine print on the refined deal:
4K Apple TV (32 GB): Must prepay first three months of service at full price. Online orders will be shipped via FedEx ground to address provided. Allow 2-3 weeks for delivery. Offer limited to 1 per DIRECTV NOW account; 2 per shipping address. Not combinable with select offers. 4K HD not available with DIRECTV NOW.
The company notes on the updated page for the deal that it is a limited time offer and "won't last," suggesting that it could return to the normal four months of prepaid service fairly soon. If you're interested, head over to DirecTV Now's landing page for the deal, click "Redeem & Stream," and make sure to add the free Apple TV 4K to your plan during the sign-up process.
For more information on discounts happening this week, visit our Deals Roundup.
Friday February 9, 2018 1:09 am PST by Tim Hardwick
Apple's TV app gained a new News section late on Thursday. The dedicated section is appearing for users in the United States with devices running the latest iOS 11.2.5 and tvOS 11.2.5 releases.
The new News option offers live streaming access to Bloomberg, CBS News, Cheddar, CNBC, CNN, and Fox News. The aggregated streams can be viewed directly within the TV app, although like other sourced content, users need to have the associated third-party tvOS apps installed for the channel links to show up.
The News section was originally demoed during Apple's September Apple TV 4K announcement, where the recently launched Sports section was also shown. The main difference between the two in the app interface is that Sports gets its own button, while News currently sits below a section created for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics in the "Watch Now" area of the TV app.
Thursday February 8, 2018 10:35 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple has picked up a new TV show called "Little America," a half-hour anthology series written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the duo behind popular movie "The Big Sick," and Lee Eisenberg, who produced comedy series "SMILF" and will serve as showrunner.
According to Deadline, "Little America" is based on a series of true stories featured in Epic Magazine that paint a portrait of America's immigrants. From the magazine description:
Everyone here came from somewhere else. Even Native Americans crossed the Bering Strait at some point. This is the basic American idea -- an identity open to all -- but it can be easy to forget from inside. And that's when politics can turn ugly, as it has recently, with our political narrative becoming a story of blame and fear. "Little America" is meant to counter that narrative with a fuller portrait of our most recent arrivals. Here we present just a few stories.
You'll meet a woman who kissed a car for 50 hours. A man who escaped communism via zip-line. A Hindu Mayor of a small Kansas town. These stories are a small, collective portrait of America's immigrants. And thereby a portrait of America itself.
The show will reportedly look at "the funny, romantic, heartfelt, inspiring, and unexpected lives of immigrants in America." Nanjiani and Gordon will executive produce, alongside Alan Yang, "Master of None" co-creator, and Eisenberg.
"The Big Sick," written by Nanjiani and Gordon, won multiple award nominations and was the highest-grossing indie movie of 2017. Nanjiani is also known for his work on "Silicon Valley."
"Little America," alongside Apple's "Are You Sleeping" drama starring Octavia Spencer, are two projects that are being developed for straight-to-series consideration.
Wednesday February 7, 2018 1:56 pm PST by Juli Clover
The YouTube app for the Apple TV received a complete design overhaul today, introducing a new interface that's similar in design to the YouTube app for iOS, YouTube on the desktop, and the YouTube app for other television platforms.
Rather than a single navigation bar at the top that links to sections like Search, Home, and Subscriptions, there's a new universal search bar that's easier to access along with dedicated categories like Recommended, Entertainment, Food, Music, Gaming, Technology, Comedy, and more, which makes it easier to find new content relevant to your interests.
A navigation bar on the left side of the screen provides access to your subscriptions, library, and viewing history, and there's a new, more detailed settings section.
While today's update lists 4K videos as "4K" in the video app, it does not appear that YouTube is supporting 4K content on the Apple TV at this time. When viewing details about a video, maximum available resolution is still listed as 1920 x 1080.
Today's revamped YouTube Apple TV app comes just a few days after YouTube officially introduced its separate YouTube TV app for the Apple TV, allowing YouTube TV subscribers to access live content.
The new YouTube app for Apple TV is available now, and it can be installed by going to the YouTube app in the App Store and choosing "update" if it does not update automatically.
Wednesday February 7, 2018 1:03 pm PST by Juli Clover
Bryan Fuller, who was set to serve as showrunner on Apple's upcoming "Amazing Stories" reboot has opted to cut ties with Apple over creative differences, reports The Hollywood Reporter.
Fuller is said to have wanted to turn "Amazing Stories" into a Black Mirror-style show, while Apple is aiming for a more family friendly series.
"Amazing Stories," which Apple picked up in October, is a science fiction and horror series created by Steven Spielberg. It originally ran on NBC from 1985 to 1987, and during the two years that it aired, the show won five Emmy Awards. The show focused on a new topic each episode, similar to "Tales From the Crypt" and Twilight Zone."
Fuller has been involved with "Amazing Stories" since 2015, and was originally set to write the script for the show before Steven Spielberg became involved. Fuller has, in the past, ended several other projects because of creative and financial differences, including "American Gods" and "Star Trek: Discovery."
Previous rumors have suggested that Apple wants to produce television shows with broad appeal that are also tame enough to be shown in an Apple Store. The company is said to be shying away from content that includes nudity, raw language, and violence, and it has reportedly turned down edgier content.
Apple is planning to create 10 new episodes of "Amazing Stories," with plans to spend more than $5 million per episode. "Amazing Stories" is not yet in production and it's not clear when the series will launch.
Wednesday February 7, 2018 12:48 pm PST by Juli Clover
Apple iTunes chief Eddy Cue today spoke at Variety's 2018 Pollstar Live event in Los Angeles, California, where he discussed Apple Music and the Music Business with Variety Executive Music Editor Shirley Halperin.
Cue's talk wasn't streamed live for viewers at home to watch, but several attendees shared Cue's major talking points on Twitter.
Unsurprisingly, some of the discussion focused on the HomePod, which is officially launching this Friday. According to Cue, the HomePod will use its built-in A8 chip and AI algorithms to automatically adjust the bass, treble, and other settings on a song-by-song basis, so there won't be a need for users to fuss with settings.
In fact, Apple is confident enough in the HomePod's ability to make these adjustments that there are no built-in options to allow users to manually adjust sound.
Cue didn't want to share information about Apple's upcoming original programming plans, despite the fact that the company has inked deals for eight TV shows so far. He did, however, say that we may hear "a lot more" about Apple's plans in "a little bit of time," suggesting Apple will share details on its television goals later this year.
Details are light on the other points that Cue covered in his talk, but should more information surface on what he had to say, we'll update this post.
Wednesday February 7, 2018 10:13 am PST by Juli Clover
Apple today seeded the second beta of an upcoming tvOS 11.3 update to its public beta testing group, one day after providing the second beta to developers and two weeks after releasing the first tvOS 11.3 public beta.
The new tvOS 11.3 public beta can be downloaded by going to the Settings app on the Apple TV and navigating to the Software Updates section under "System." "Get Public Beta Updates" will need to be toggled on, and once it is, the Apple TV will download the beta software.
With AirPlay 2, you can play the same music on multiple Apple TVs in different rooms, and when AirPlay 2 officially launches, that same functionality will extend to other AirPlay 2 devices like HomePod and AirPlay 2 compatible speakers.
Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV (a feature that was added to Apple TV 4K in a past update), and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.
With AirPlay 2, you can play a song on multiple Apple TVs in different rooms, and when AirPlay 2 officially launches, that same functionality will extend to other AirPlay 2 devices like HomePod and AirPlay 2 compatible speakers.
Other new features in tvOS 11.3 include enhancements to Match Content support, automatic frame rate switching on the fourth-generation Apple TV, and automatic mode switching for AirPlay video sessions.
Update: tvOS 11.3 beta 2 fixes a bug that caused the Play/Pause button on the Apple TV Siri Remote not to function properly.
32GB and 64GB models are available for $149 and $169 respectively in the United States, reflecting modest savings of $30 off Apple's regular pricing for the equivalent brand new Apple TV 4K configurations. We've yet to see any refurbished Apple TV 4K models listed in other countries.
Apple says its refurbished products are thoroughly inspected, tested, cleaned, and repackaged with a new white box and accessories.
Refurbished Apple TVs are covered by Apple's standard one-year warranty effective on the date the device is delivered. The limited warranty can be extended to up to two years from the original purchase date with AppleCare for Apple TV for $29, but note this plan doesn't include accidental damage coverage.
Apple's refurbished products are virtually indistinguishable from brand new products, so they represent an opportunity for savings, but better Apple TV 4K deals are occasionally offered by resellers. Keep an eye on our Apple Deals roundup.
Thursday February 1, 2018 4:07 pm PST by Juli Clover
YouTube this morning teased that its YouTube TV Apple TV app was "coming very soon," and "coming very soon" apparently meant this afternoon.
The YouTube TV app is now available for download from the App Store on the Apple TV, where it is featured prominently in a banner.
YouTube TV's new Apple TV app comes just in time for Super Bowl LII, which is set to take place on Sunday, February 4. YouTube also recently expanded to Roku devices, presumably with the aim of luring new subscribers who want to watch the Super Bowl.
The YouTube TV service, which is priced at $35 per month, offers subscribers access to television shows on ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, the CW, Disney, ESPN, FX, USA, and dozens more.
YouTube TV boasts more than 40 channels, including live sports and news. It also offers unlimited DVR storage space and allows subscribers to access their shows from anywhere in the United States, plus it includes content from the $9.99 per month YouTube Red service.
Introduced back in April, YouTube TV is a live streaming service designed to compete with offerings like Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, DirecTV Now, and Playstation Vue, all of which are available via apps on fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models.
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