iTunes 8 was announced this morning as part of the whole Let’s Rock Apple announcement festivities, and there were a few nice pieces of news. First, NBC is back on iTunes with shows like The Office, 30 Rock, and Ballestar Galactics. What’s more, though, is that iTunes will now be selling TV shows in high definition. Aside from the feeling that I know my wallet is about to be drained, this is a very welcome addition. My only hope is that they allow those of us who have purchased shows in SD to “upgrade” to the HD versions at a discount. It’s only fair, right?
In other news, Apple has added “Genius” to iTunes - that being a recommendation engine that looks at the track you are listening to, and recommends other tracks in the iTunes store that it believes you would like. In addition, Genius can also create truly customized playlists on the fly, again, just by sampling what you are listening to. It will pull other songs from your iTunes library that it believes would complement your selection, without any work to be done on your part. We must admit, it looks slick. Speaking of which, they’ve also included a new visualizer, which is just off the hook. You’ve gotta see it to believe it.
iTunes 8 is available now.
Read More | iTunes
If you have an Apple TV, you are gonna wanna go ahead and update it. Just head into the General Settings menu, and go to Software Update. Apple TV will find the latest version, and offer to download it. This update provides a couple of new functionalities for the device, namely MobileMe support, as well as support for the new Remote app. This is the newly released iPhone and iPod touch application that allows you to take control of iTunes or Apple TV right from your handheld device itself. We were playing with it a bit earlier today, and we think it’s fantastic.
With the HD DVD/Blu-ray format war being over, the new “war” if you will is the one between digital delivery of movies, versus good ol’ optical media. We want to know how you feel about this. Do you prefer buying movies using Apple TV, thus avoiding a trip to the local Target? Or are the type of person who prefers all the bells and whistles that something like a Blu-ray disc has to offer (7.1 lossless audio, pure 1080p video)? I think it is safe to say that we are moving towards a digital download lifestyle, but with current broadband speeds in the USA, we think that it might be a while before it can compete with optical. Your thoughts?
Apple has quietly made a subtle change to the Apple TV movie experience. Previously, you were able to rent standard definition and high definition movies through Apple TV, and obviously, those rentals would expire if left unwatched for 30 days, or within 24 hours of you starting the movie. However, people have been asking for movie downloads since Apple TV Take 2 launched. Well, all that has changed, as Apple has come to an agreement with movie studios that will see new movies available for purchase and download on the same day that they are released on DVD.
The downside to all this? Well, for starters, you can’t buy the HD versions of these movies, despite the fact that you can rent them in HD. If you have an HDTV, we are guessing that you prefer your movies in HD. Also, for a similar price, you could just buy the movie on disc, and get all the extra special feature videos that are lacking on the iTunes download. Oh well, I guess we should just be happy that we are seeing progress.
With iTunes 7.6, we got movie rentals, among other things. We also got nice, tight integration between iTunes and Apple TV Take 2. Today, Apple released a small point upgrade in iTunes 7.6.1, which focuses on “several” bug fixes as well as an improving compatibility between iTunes and Apple TV 2.0 software. Here is the full scoop from Apple themselves:
Rent and download your favorite movies with iTunes on your computer or directly to your living room on Apple TV. Enjoy rented movies in sizes up to 720p HD with surround sound on your Apple TV and sizes up to DVD-quality on your computer. Transfer your rented movies from iTunes to your iPod or iPhone and enjoy them on the go.
Also, purchase and download your favorite TV shows, music, and more directly on your Apple TV. Effortlessly transfer purchases made on Apple TV back to your computer with iTunes.
iTunes 7.6.1 includes several bug fixes and improves compatibility with Apple TV software version 2.0.
Anything that eliminates bugs sounds good to us. Fire up Software Update to pull in the new version.
If you are like me, you’ve been waiting for Apple TV Take 2 to hit for just about a month now. When it was delayed two weeks ago, I stared at my Apple TV in disgust. In it’s current form, it was nothing more than a YouTube viewer, and sometimes, a nice picture screensaver. However, the wait is no more. As part of today’s Tuesday updates, Apple has finally released the Apple TV Take 2 software, and it is available now for download. Aside from a freatly enhanced UI, here are some of the features:
- Movie rentals in both high definition and standard definition
- Flickr photo browsing and slideshows
- .Mac photo gallery browsing and slideshows
- Purchasing of items from iTunes Store from Apple TV
- Browse and view podcasts in iTunes Podcast directory on Apple TV
If you have an Apple TV, fire up Software Update on the device to get the new hotness, and let us know what you think.
Read More | Apple TV Take 2 Guided Tour
Apple has just made iTunes 7.3 available this morning, which is the version you need to be running if you hope to activate your iPhone after getting it home. Here are the details of the download, straight from Apple:
With iTunes 7.3, you can now activate iPhone service and sync it with your music, TV shows, movies and more. Also, you can now wirelessly share and enjoy your favorite digital photos from any computer in your home with Apple TV.
So there you have it, you get both iPhone functionality, as well as the ability to view digital photos on Apple TV from any computer on your network.
Read More | iTunes
So yesterday we let you know that YouTube is now on Apple TV. We decided to put together a gallery showing off the slick YouTube interface that Apple put together to turn YouTube into a living room experience. We show you everything, from downloading the update, to the menu system, to our YouTube username (hint: it’s gearlive - subscribe to us!). As we said yesterday, YouTube videos on Apple TV are encoded in H.264 format, so they are very watchable - even in the ten foot experience. Click on for the full gallery, which includes 15 images.
Read More | Gallery: YouTube on Apple TV
Steve Jobs announced it at All Things D, and earlier today Apple released the first software update for the Apple TV, which included the addition of YouTube to the device. As we noted previously, YouTube has begun to encode videos in the H.264 codec, and these are the videos you are able to see on Apple TV. This should result in higher quality visuals, and YouTube plans to have 10,000 videos encoded by June 29th, and will continue adding more each week. If you have an Apple TV, be sure to fire up software update for YouTube functionality.
Earlier today, Walt Mossberg interviewed Steve Jobs about all things Apple, including the name change, the iPhone, DRM-free music, and YouTube coming to Apple TV. Brightcove is hosting a few video clips of the All Things Digital conference, and we thought we might share the Steve Jobs interview highlight with you. There is some good information here, plus you get a look at the Apple TV YouTube interface. Give it a look, and let us know what you think.