Apple TV 3.0 Will Support iTunes LP and Extras, Needs More Still

10 Comments

Apple (s aapl) recently introduced two new formats, iTunes LP and iTunes Extras, which deliver additional content to album and movie purchases, respectively. Apple also only just updated the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions agreement, and AppleInsider spotted some key changes in that document that point to an upcoming Apple TV update that will support the new formats.

ituneslp-appletvIt seems inevitable that the new bonus material featured in LP and Extra releases, which includes things like photos, videos, mini-documentaries and commentary, would become accessible on Apple’s home theater device, but this is the first official confirmation that it is in fact on the way. It would seem to suggest that we’ll see the update sooner rather than later, too.

Both iTunes LP and iTunes Extras are based on the TuneKit JavaScript format, which uses HTML, CSS and other open web standards. It’s designed for a 1280×720 pixel resolution, which fits perfectly with HD TV sets and the HD output resolution of the Apple TV.

While it may not come as a surprise, a new major update for the Apple TV firmware would be the first big one since the “Take Two” 2.0 update that came at Macworld Expo in January 2008. Other things expected to arrive with it include Quicktime X and the HTTP Live Streaming protocol, both of which were recently introduced as features of OS X Snow Leopard.

It sounds like it’s shaping up to be a decent little upgrade for Apple’s main foray into the living room, but it doesn’t really sound like anything that’s going to turn heads among people who are on the fence about buying the device. Apple has recently taken some steps to increase Apple TV sales, including getting rid of the 40 GB model altogether and dropping the price of the 160 GB version. Which is great, but there’s still a lot more Apple should be doing to make the device viable.

Like the Mac mini, the Apple TV seems to be lagging behind other Apple offerings in terms of the tech behind it and its software capabilities. Many new TVs coming to market now offer built-in functionality comparable to a lot of what Apple TV brings to the table, beyond access to the iTunes Store and all of its associated content. And HD-capable nettops from companies like Asus offer a fully functional home theater PC at a comparable price, with better storage options and more.

A software update is great, but Apple needs to do more than just what’s expected to breathe some life back into its least exciting device.

10 Comments

Mark Sigal

The scenario that I see playing out with Apple TV is that when the Tablet comes out, it will support iPhone Applications (or perhaps an optimized version of same).

Coincident with that time is the logical time for Apple to upgrade Apple TV to play iPhone Apps. Apple is all about leverage and synchronicity at this point, and that would give them a larger runtime domain, something that I blogged about in:

Apple, the ‘Boomer’ Tablet and the Matrix
http://bit.ly/DwziS

Check it out, if interested.

Mark

Glenn

Yep, you would have to think that its a given that the next hardware or major software update for Apple TV will include the opportunity to buy simple apps and games for your TV, given that over 2 Billion downloads have gone to the iPhone. I am not fussed myself about it but I can see a major benefit of having to be able to use such apps on your Apple TV operated by your iPhone much like the WII.

People bag Apple TV but it needs simple a perfect addition to the Apple range, it just needs some more work to perfect it. Better ways to output your music for one to external devices other than surround sound. Its nearly there but with the hardware so old, I am going to wait for I indulge.

Dave

I’m sure I’m stating the obvious, but it just occurred to me. As Mac re-invented the telephone/cellphone world — if they really run with the AppleTV (or they’ll call it iTV) — it could actually really, really re-invent the television. I mean sure there’s Rogers on Demand, and satellite music piped in through the t.v.’s — but for my t.v. to be a combination of:
– cable television
– movies on demand through rentals (iTunes)
– my dvd library — get them all burned digitally, plus purchase future ones digitally and now I have my OWN free library to access on a whim without the need for a DVD player
– access to satellite music channels like x-fm
– and of course — access to my own playlists and individual songs

When they add a television-mounted camera, they’ll replace the home-telephones with video-phones for more personal relationships long-distance. It’d be great to see my buddy out west with he and his family in front, all on the couch, all of us chatting and laughing.

One device to bring us our:
tv
movies
music
telephone

Now THERE’s the future.

Greg

Dave I agree with you. As a matter of fact, I think about this almost every day since my apple TV is connected to my TV in the bedroom. I use one remote for my Satellite service, Apple TV and HDTV. So basically, they could all be one devide with one smooth interface and touch pad to control even web content the way you do on a laptop. I’m pretty sure Apple has some kind of large wide screen device like this with built-in Apple TV. It’s just a matter of perfecting it (as much as they can) before the introduction, the same way the iPhone was introduced.

Champs

Between AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, Time Capsule, and Apple TV, they need to junk at least one product and make a solid iTunes/File/Time Machine server like the Iomega ix2-200.

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