Five ways Apple can improve Apple TV right now

“Apple TV is perhaps one of the most under-appreciated devices Apple has ever made,” Michael Grothaus writes for Know Your Mobile. “For £99 (or £70 in some places now) users get a small, sleek black box that allows them to rent and play already-purchased content through their TV; stream content from Netflix, Sky News, Vevo, YouTube, ESPN, and more; screencast content from their Mac, iPhone, and iPad to their television; and soon, unleash a torrent of music through their TV when iTunes Radio is released [outside the U.S.].”

“What does the future hold for Apple’s plans for your living room? It’s no secret that Apple is using the Apple TV as a ‘testbed’ to find out what people want from a ‘real’ Apple television set, which could come as early as next year – and which, no doubt, will costmuch more than £99,” Grothaus writes. “Still, as cool as the Apple TV is, there’s much Apple can do to make the small set-top box better, right now (and all via a free software update). Here are just five of those ways.”

Apple TV
Apple TV
Five ways Apple can improve Apple TV right now:
• iTunes Visualizer
• BBC iPlayer
• More video codecs and external iTunes support
• Open Up The Apple TV SDK
• iTunes Extras support

Read more in the full article here.


  1. “It’s no secret that Apple is using the Apple TV as a ‘testbed’ to find out what people want from a ‘real’ Apple television set” Bollocks.

    Why would they add more codecs when they haven’t for the iPhone?

    1. What I want from an updated AppleTV that they could ship now:

      – Console comparable (does not need to be equal) gaming on A-series processor and general TV app support.
      – TVPlay, like CarPlay, that lets me quickly launch apps from an iOS onto the TV then use gestures and commands to control it. Planning a trip on a TV sized map sounds great.
      – FaceTime camera so I can do room wide Facetime with friends, family and colleagues. I would get a second large screen just for my office if it could do that.
      – An Indy TV channel where Apple provides indy TV series.
      – TVShare where whatever I watch in the above categories also plays on a friends TV, with FaceTime audio between us.
      – A single search location for shows and movies across existing video sources.

      NONE of the above require new contracts with existing TV channels/distributors. They would make large screens (TVs) more useful than they are today. And make AppleTV much more than a TV box, just like the iPhone is much more than a phone.

      Once people start using their TVs for more than TV, the mainstream channels will realize they need to do something quick to stop losing viewer time. They will come to the table and give better access to their shows to get back “face time”.

      Apple! Stop waiting for TV distributors! Move on past them!

    2. Honestly Apple has never invested in the APPLE TV. The 1st gen sucked. 2nd gen was great and the reason it was is apple sold tons as it provided the first truly set top box way of using XBMC and being able to not have iTunes. Even without the piracy (which as i said before if hollywood would stop charging so much for everyyhing maybe people would not pirate so much)>
      But because of this little $99 box it opened thousands and thousands up to XBMC that never would have otherwise and then allowed other STB manuf to come out and make boxes.

      Personally the amazon fire tv is my fav right now. 1. Im already a prime member for the shipping. so now i get all these FREE tv shows and movies as a bonus.
      2. I don’t have to update my whole os just to get a new netflix app or any new apps. I can just pick and choose apps i want to download without a total OS update or Apple deciding what i can and can’t do.
      3. Amazon prime (highly doubt it since amazon and apple are competing for set top box space)
      4. We need a faster processor and more memory. The apple tv is 512Mb memory and a single core processor. Thats so old now. I can pick up the fire stick that runs 1Gb ram and a dual core processor and does more then the apple tv for $40. and tronsmart makes a couple in the same price range as well.
      5. PUT SOME EFFORT INTO IT. Each apple tv its highly promoted for a few months then nothing it just seems like its gone.

      If you don’t believe no one believes in this box take for instance dish networks new SLING TV. They have an app for iOS, android, One specific for the fire tv and fire stick and xbox one NOTHING for the apple tv. They said only via airplay would it be supported.
      If you don’t know what sling tv is you can google it.

  2. Apple will not provide additional codecs since they are used for playing pirated content. The apps are designed to work with ligit services.
    I don’t know what they mean by external iTunes support. You can use home sharing to play from iTunes on a Mac/PC.

    The SDK is the big one. Clearly it is a platform begging to have games on it.

    1. Piracy has nothing to do with it. In fact many torrent directories have either switched to H.264 MP4 as the preferred format or offer plenty of content in that format. Even if you get another format, it’s trivial to transcode it (and can even be losslessly exported if it’s just changing the container).

      Apple isn’t going to support other codecs that are either proprietary, but not mainstream or are open but subject to patent trolls going after Apple as the deep pocket. More so, Apple is interested in keeping things simple which means influencing the industry to focus on fewer codecs.

      By external iTunes support, I think he means supporting playing content outside of iTunes… although I’m not sure how this would be any different/better from playing say in VLC and mirroring via AirPlay.

      Yes, I think we’re all eagerly awaiting the SDK.

      1. I have only rarely seen MP4 files on torrent servers. AVI was the standard until about a year ago and then everything went to MKV because that’s how bluray discs are ripped. I agree with doggone that Apple will never support other codecs or containers because it does mean the content is pirated or at the very least doesn’t come from Apple.

        The only point in this article that makes sense is opening up the SDK which I assume means opening the platform for apps and games. There is a huge pent up demand for this and I really wish Apple would acknowledge it.

        1. “everything went to MKV because that’s how bluray discs are ripped”

          MKV is one way BDs are ripped, they can just as easily be ripped to H.264 MP4s. I think people are downvoting here because OMG piracy!, but we’re not advocating or being critical of piracy, just commenting on the facts. I could point to torrent sites, but instead of that, let me just point out that the top torrent site for tv programming is h.264/MP4 only. MKV is certainly popular, really it’s not like you can’t find the same content in MP4.

          1. I thought most bluray discs were ripped using Makemkv. Saving into the m4v or mp4 “container” would involve an extra step. That’s why I was surprised to see mp4 mentioned. What is this site that has mp4 files?

            Also, I would gladly buy video’s from the iTunes store but I don’t like DRM and the limitations it brings. That is another discussion though.

            1. BDs can be ripped using a variety of applications, and most of them can rip to MP4, MKV and others. Sorry, but I’m not going to link to torrent sites, but they’re really not hard to find.

    1. ROku sucks. You should get a Fire tv with XBMC installed and forget paying roku content.
      I have not had paid tv in my house 2 years now and i don’t pay any monthly fee and yet i get all my movies, tv shows and even some live tv.

  3. I will get down voted for this, but I really want Apple to start buying/creating original content that is shown only on Apple TV the way Netflix and Amazon does.

    Imagine if Apple TV had acquired Game of Thrones instead of HBO. Everybody would buy an ATV.

    1. I am really glad Tim Cook isn’t reading up on How to Make Great TV for Dummies.

      Staying focused on building up long term value is a much better strategy. TV Shows don’t significantly better every year. Totally wrong business for Apple to be in.

  4. Here’s my list: for UHDTV at 60 Hz or higher
    2. H.265
    3. HDMI 2.0 output
    4. gigabit Ethernet
    5. Ax processor that supports 1, 2, 3, and 4.

    The selection and other format support is, for the most part, OK.

  5. Should Apple consider “opening up” the ATV to support connectivity from Android devices? Before slapping on a 1-star vote and moving on, consider the benefits that resulted from opening up iTunes to Windows PCs. People were ushered into the Apple ecosystem with iTunes for Windows.

    Right now, no one using an Android device will even consider purchasing an ATV. Why would they? As a result, there are now several competing devices (e.g., ChromeCast) gaining a foothold in the market. Some of them are gaining advantages on ATV in terms of content and capabilities. Even though the number of users of Apple continues to grow, the ATV market will always be somewhat constrained unless it becomes a more universal product.

    1. Chromecast is not really competing with the ATV its nothing other then a dongle that does something like airplay. Microsoft is now working on something too like that.
      The amazon fire tv and all the android media players compete with the ATV3.
      Half the ATV2 sold were just people buying them because they could jailbreak and run XBMC. And since AMAZOn allows side loading of apps with no issues and others do apple has lost out on that front.

  6. I’d be happy if they could make it recognize your iTunes library without having to be restarted EVERY time after it goes to sleep. I’d be happy if it remembered your default audio output device without having to be reset EVERY time you use it. I’d be happy if it would not disappear completely from the iPhone Remote app EVERY time it goes to sleep. I mean, WTF?

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