New Apple TV hacked to run native tvOS browser

“A new YouTube video showing the first browser designed for the new Apple TV has been published,” Mike Beasley reports for 9to5Mac.

“The app uses a private API to render web content, so it’s not likely you’ll be seeing it on the App Store any time soon,” Beasley reports, “but the project is open source and can be downloaded by anyone.”

“The browser takes advantage of the Siri Remote bundled with the new Apple TV hardware to navigate websites,” Beasley reports. “Pressing the glass surface on the remote switches between two modes.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ve tried browsers on our TV before. They’re usually so clunky as to be little more than a novelty. If anybody could make a TV-based Web browser workable, it’d be Apple, but we’d likely prefer to simply use the iPads that are always on hand for browsing the Web while we’re “watching TV,” anyway.


    1. When you airplay, it’s often a choppy sloppy substitute to a native browser.

      In addition, the iPad’s aspect ratio isn’t 16:9 so you end up with black bars.

      A native OS isn’t popular on Apple TV for ONE reason, people will use it. They’ll use it to go to hulu or whatever streaming service is available and bypass Apple’s store. They’ll use it to go to sites like LiveLeak or something else.

  1. I thought that it looked and worked great. You don’t have to use AirPlay if your AppleTV has a browser, too. I could see people using it for YouTube and similar types of browsing. The weak spot, at least right now, is text entry for searches, shopping, etc.

  2. I can do this now because I also have an older Mac connected to my HDTV in the living room. I previously used it like an “Apple TV with (Mac) apps.”

    Using a web browser (and controlling iTunes) this way works reasonably well, using an app on my iPhone or iPod touch to remote control the Mac. It turns the iPhone screen into a trackpad, with a “scroll wheel,” and special app-specific buttons for commonly used functions (like increase/decrease font size in browser window or control media playback in iTunes). A virtual keyboard appears when needed to enter text. A related “server” app runs (in the background) on the Mac to allow this interaction, which uses Wi-Fi.

    The one I have is called Mobile Mouse Pro, available in Apple’s respective app stores for iOS and Mac.

    1. I used a 2010 Mini for almost 4 years as my movie and music server. Had a keyboard and pad on the coffee table. Loved it…mostly.

      iTunes. Prime. Netflix.
      But the Apple TV was so much easier for everything save Prime that when I got it back from a child of mine, I kept it!

      1. I also have an Apple TV now (the previous version). It IS more convenient and fun for most “video” watching, like Netflix, Hulu, and movie rentals from iTunes. But since my Mac can run apps flexibly and access essentially any source that has online video content through a web browser, I don’t (currently) feel a compelling need to get the new Apple TV. (Fortunately, my HDTV has three HDMI inputs. 🙂 )

        It would be cool if Apple released a Mac app called “Apple TV.” It basically goes into full screen mode and turns that “Space” into an Apple TV (the new one). Many OS X versions ago, there was the Front Row app serving a similar purpose.

        Benefits to Apple: (1) Greater incentive for tvOS app developers; the potential customer base for their new apps suddenly explodes to include all users with recent Macs. (2) More clout when negotiating content deals for Apple TV; every recent Mac is now a potential Apple TV. (3) More potential customers for Apple TV paid subscriptions deals, such as the rumored “Internet TV bundle.” (4) Some Apple customers (especially the younger mobile demographic) do not own a TV; using their MacBook screen as an Apple TV screen would be ideal and may even spur Mac sales.

        Downside: Obviously, it may reduce sales of the new Apple TV box. But I don’t think of Apple TV as a hardware profit play, like most of Apple’s products. Apple’s goal should be to get as many Apple TV boxes out there as possible, to profit from the monthly subscription deals and other recurring revenue. So what’s the difference between a physical Apple TV box that sits next to a TV, and a virtual one running in a Mac…?

        1. Yeah, it was with hesitation I passed my Mini down to No.2 son, but I had a shit-hot iMac basically in the same room for all my music (which is what I spend 90% of my time enjoying, as in Wayne Shorter’s “JuJu” at 24/96 playing now….) but there are a few odd things I hadn’t contemplated.

          My Mini was fully RF compatible. Not so with newer iMacs (my Harmony 650 hates the iMac).

          While I am using Audirvana+ or Roon, some other apps get jealous and slow down (the Mini was dedicated)

          El Capitan is still buggy.

          I have to use a blue-ray player for Prime.

          On the positive, I set up a secondary listening area with some OLD speakers and receiver via a small USB DAC and am thrilled by the ‘local’ sound vs the ‘big’ surround of the other system.

          Also, my Apple TV v3. is still good.

    1. That would also be nice for watching the BBC, which locks away content from anyone who isn’t in the UK. You can use a VPN to fool their servers into thinking you’re in the UK, but you still can’t set up a VPN on an Apple T.V. But that would be really nice. Amazon Prime might also be nice, especially since it looks like Top Gear UK has been picked up by Amazon Prime.

    1. We can only hope.

      And if they don’t release a version of Safari for tvOS, all of us who want it can request it via Apple’s feedback page. Hopefully, the overwhelming number of requests for Safari for tvOS convince Apple to make it.

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