Blog Post

Open Thread: Which Apps Do You Want on Your Apple TV?

Apple (s AAPL) started shipping its new Apple TV this week, and it’s become increasingly clear in recent days that the device will eventually have apps. First came the revelation that the second-generation Apple TV is in fact running iOS 4.1, the same operating system that also powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Then we learned that Apple has packed a whopping 8 GB of Flash into the device, despite insisting that the Apple TV is not at all about local storage. So what will those 8GB be used for? Apps, of course.

Finally, there was news yesterday that the jailbreak community has in fact been successful in rooting the Apple TV, opening the door for unauthorized third-party app installs and app stores like Cydia.

The only question left now is: What kind of apps would you like with that box? It’s obvious that developers would have to rewrite any iPad or iPhone apps to get them to work with the  Apple TV, if only for the fact that most living room flat screens simply aren’t touch screens. Also, some of those small screen apps simply might not make sense on a 42-inch screen. And do you really need location-based apps in the living room, just to become major of your couch?

So what do you want? Which existing apps should be ported first, and which new ones have yet to be developed? Let us know in the comments. We promise to email the result to Steve Jobs. Maybe he’ll even write back…

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45 Responses to “Open Thread: Which Apps Do You Want on Your Apple TV?”

  1. How about one that notifies me that I have already watched something. You know something the software should already do. There is a blue dot next to the show listing that is supposed to do this. However, it only is removed if you manually fast forward to the end of a show. Even watching a show and letting it go all the way to the end does not remove the blue dot.

    Also, there is no indication whatsoever with Netflix on if I have seen the show. They did a great job with this on the Wii and apparently have forgotten this on the ATV.

    Safari would be the best addition besides the above.

  2. Speaking from the UK, iPlayer and 4OD would be great as nothing over here has really got both together yet for the TV. Facetime, Bluetooth keyboard support, Safari, Mail, Facebook, Twitter and stronger support for whats on your Mac/PC. Would definitely buy the next gen if it had those.

  3. bcsaxman

    I’ll tell you exactly what apps that would send AppleTV into the stratosphere:

    1] A DVR app. I want my AppleTV to record anything & everything that is free over the air, or that I’ve already paid for through a cable. Just like the Supreme Court has already said I’m allowed to.

    2] A server app, utilizing a USB multi-terabyte hard drive for storage, and that will use AirPlay to allow me to watch whatever is stored on my AppleTV/drive on my iPhone, or iPad, or iWhatevercomesnext, no matter where I am in the world.

    That’s it. The Secret Sauce. Anything else is just fiddling around the edges.

  4. An ESPN3 app for the Apple TV would be THE killer app. Although I’d settle for (or maybe even prefer) an ESPN3 iPad app with AirPlay functionality enabled for streaming to the Apple TV. The second option is probably more realistic since there’s likely a MUCH larger market for iPad apps than Apple TV apps.

  5. Once we have multi-tasking on 4.2, I’d like to access the Bloomberg app while watching a movie or a TV program full-screen.

    It would be nice to have an optional market crawl across the bottom of the screen while mostly paying attention to something more relaxing.

    For a cranky old geek living on SSA, it’s my favorite game.

  6. Nightgaunt98

    Air Video.
    With the impending AirPlay, the thought of having
    to run iPad or Iphone to watch something not in iTunes
    (if that is how it is going to work) on the TV seems silly.
    Other than that I find this fancy little device to be perfect.
    I can see games as a nice option, but with all the different game
    consoles attached to the TV is enough.
    No need for a 50″ Angry Birds.
    Watching movies through Apple TV (without converting!)
    while playing doodle jump on iPad would make our living room
    entertainment oasisperfect…

  7. This is great. This thread demonstrates “WHY” Steve did not release AppleTV that can have Apps.
    Every App mentioned would, if on the AppleTV, cannibalize the Media Gateway Steve has been “pushing” from the start. “iTunes”

    There is no question that Steve has been trying to maneuver iTunes to be as dominant in Video content as it is in Music.

    This has been difficult for Steve as the TV/Movie content producers know a threat when they see it, and have made sure to fragment the industry so no one Gateway could start dictating terms.

    The fact NetFlix is on Apple TV is probably one of the biggest admission of Failure I have seen from Steve in a along time.

    It will be interesting to how Steve navigates this difficult path as he sees his dream of world domination diminish. Steve knows everyone wants apps on AppleTV, but the only Apps worth using make iTunes obsolete.
    Steve NOT letting the devoted followers have this would be a clear sign of “Evil”. So what does he do???


  8. MisterK

    I’m not convinced that we’ve ideated the “ultimate web connected TV” yet. Certainly it’s not a bunch of widgets running on a television. Surfing on a tablet seems to be the best way to get that one-person experience while watching tv, since the TV is more of a communal device, rather than something I’d want my wife popping her Facebook page over while I’m watching shows.

    Games make sense and so do movie rentals. StumbleUpon could work, since it’s essentially a more passive “10 ft” way to surf. Tablet’s still work better, though.

    My fantasy is for the best of Cable (breadth of content and discovery) to meet the best of Internet (A la carte viewing and price). I’m imagining a service where I can channel surf like cable, but for free. Then when I decide that I want to watch something I can just leave it on. The television, sensing that I’ve watched over 5 minutes of a show, can charge me a dollar for it.

    My friends who have long since given up cable enjoy a few shows that they download, but they never say “an interesting documentary about zeppelins” because they would never have thought to download that. I think that’s where cable still wins. Discovery meets a la carte.

  9. None – I want content to choose from – I don’t want to mess with apps. It’s like asking “Which apps do you want to use on your computer?” None there either.

    • Just a thought, but how would you play Angry Birds (or any game) on your iPad or iPod and watch it on TV at the same time? It would be cool to have it up there on the widescreen I guess, but if you are watching the controller, how can you watch the TV? You’d need a controller that works by physical buttons you can feel, and I don’t think Apple is going to go down that road.

      Someone mentioned FaceTime, now THAT would be cool.

  10. Shaylin

    Obviously any app that streams media: Pandora, iheartradio, etc. I’d love to see the MLB AtBat app, or anything else that lets you check sports scores. News apps might be good, and some of the apps that let you access your computer remotely (Mocha VNC, for example).

    Games would be difficult, because so many of them are so heavily centered on the touch screen interface (though I could see Apple’s Remote app being useful for that, potentially).

  11. Twitter, Pandora, Flixster, Weather HD, and the ABC Player for non-games. As far as games, simple one button games like Canabalt would work well using only the Apple TV remote, but I’d like to see all or most games ported over with support for ipod touch/iphone/ipad control over wifi/bluetooth.

  12. xegreog

    I think it will be the new apps that will make or break this.

    If you look at the video on the site it showcases what a Mac controlled home can look like. Hacking up Airport Express and Remote Play to do fun things, I think, is a good place to start. And of course, the problem of the browser adapted and formatted for the big screen is a problem yet resolved. There are sites designed for the big screen like YouTube Leanback, Navigaya, ect. that could be apps(channels) maybe like how Boxee does it?

    Great apps like Flud and Flipboard were made specifically for the device they run on. The TV should be the same.

  13. As an owner of the new Apple TV I can say that the most needed apps would be better YouTube and Podcast implementation. Right now, it is horrendous. Your subscription list doesn’t load completely (it seems to choose about 25 at random), and videos are not queued in order of release.

  14. Shock Me

    Hulu +, NetFlix, VuDu, Picasa, YouTube, FaceBook, Flash, iCab, and any games designed to work with an Apple-designed, gyroscope-enabled, multitouch remote controller game pad productivity app designed for Bluetooth keyboard..

  15. The BeeTV Guide is the perfect fit for the AppleTV.
    It’s a personalized TV Guide for movies & tv shows on TV/Web/iOS. Showing you what’s on now that suits your taste based on a powerful recommendation engine.

  16. Can’t really say what app I would like but I can sense a lot of games would be ported that can be controlled by remote. The graphics on the iPhones/Pod/Pad are amazing enough to even amaze people on their 42inch Plazma. Screens. But guess it would be completive to playstation and Wii so be hard to predict iOS games success.

    However I’ll add that web surfing would be great so Safari is a must to kindly ask Steve to slip in, maybe Mail too, but not too fussed about reading them on my TV.