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Apple TV 3.0 update becomes official

updated 03:25 pm EDT, Thu October 29, 2009

Overhauls user interface

Quickly validating rumors, Apple has officially released v3.0 firmware for the Apple TV. The core change is a new menu system, designed to make it simpler to flip between major categories; it also draws focus to particular information, such as which videos have been rented or are unwatched. New is an "Internet" category, which folds in YouTube while adding support for Internet radio streaming. Favourite stations can be tagged.

Also new to the update are features carried over from iTunes 9, beginning with Genius Mixes, automatic music playlists based on predicted compatibility. Similarly accessible are iTunes LP and iTunes Extras, special features content for audio and video. Both types of material can be viewed fullscreen. The firmware lastly recognizes events and face tags carried over from iPhoto.

The update is a free and automatic download for Apple TV owners.

by MacNN Staff



  1. cmoney

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Still the red headed step child I see?

    When will Apple put a few more resources into AppleTV and make it something actually useful? Instead of just a way to sell more iTunes Store content? The PS3 and XBox 360 ran circles around my (now overheated and dead) Apple TV. The only thing I was using the AppleTV for was to play copy-protected iTunes store content.

  1. TomSawyer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    the v3 HARDWARE will allow internet browsing as well. HE-double-hockey-sticks...if an iPod can run Safari so should this thing!

  1. jwdsail

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Slow progress...

    My Mac mini HTPC is still winner and champion over the AppleTV...

    Web browsing, support for NASCAR Raceview, and watching TWiT Live.. just off the top of my head, make my Mini the better choice.. Add that to Front Row... Shrug.

    I would like to see the new AppleTV 3.0 UI make it to Front Row sometime before MacOS 10.7 comes out...

  1. coitus

    Joined: Dec 1969



    While I do like my AppleTV, it has seen less use since I signed up for Netflix. The implementation of netflix streaming over xbox live is fantastic. I understand Apple's reluctance, to truly open the platform, because they sell digital media themselves but I would have never bought an xbox if my AppleTV supported Boxee/Netflix (better/at all).

    I'll just cross my fingers the new hardware will make it a better competitor. Until then, it just slings media to my TV from my desktop. Oddly enough, the Roku device for $99 has wider-support than my $329 ATV.


  1. pairof9s

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Against the grain

    I guess I'll take the counter to these other posts and state I have no problem with my Apple TV. Yes, it could do more (what tech is any different?!) but what it does now, and the reason I bought it, is still relevant and quite useful to me. I've already got the ATV...I certainly don't see enough upside to go and purchase a XBox or even a Roku for the difference.

    If anything, I'm quite happy to see Apple making substantial updates to the current hardware (which goes back what 3 years?), which means they still see a value in the product and I don't have to worry about it becoming obsolete for doing what it currently does.

    I agree the Mac mini is a better overall media center, but that involves much more work and expense to accomplish...I know, I have my main system set up through it. Still as I stated previously, the Apple TV does a great job at being a "couch potato" device that allows me to easily enjoy my music and such as well as easily rent/buy movies in the comfort of home.


  1. WiseWeasel

    Joined: Dec 1969



    This update has made my first generation ATV slow as h*ll! It's largely unresponsive to the remote's input, and accessing from my iPhone's Remote app is hit or miss, mostly miss. I knew I should have waited a week for the complaints to come in...

  1. idanno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Still not good enough

    There is more to the world that Steve Jobs wants to admit, iTunes is not the center of the universe.
    Please open Apple TV to all sources and let me choose what codecs I prefer.
    Apple TV will never sell well as long as it has no Blu-Ray drive and only is compatible with itunes codecs.

    Wake up Steve.

  1. rtbarry

    Joined: Dec 1969


    i love mine...

    ...certainly room for improvement, but i still love mine and every update has been welcome and useful.

    maybe i'm a weirdo, but i love having all my music, photos, tv shows and movies centralized. and then that is connected to my whole-house system - much like redonkulously expensive media servers in high-end homes, at 1/100th the price and without the unfathomable crestron remote that requires a pimply geek to program, usually poorly. and like any other media extender, to get non-iTunes store content to it, all i have to do it transcode it (not always, some stuff is just ready). and last time i checked (like years ago) apple was championing getting rid of DRM restrictions. all music i buy from itunes is DRM-free. what am i missing?? and DVDs i own, i just rip like anyone else does with any other media extender. want more pirated s*** and other codecs? install boxee. i don't care about that c***, but that seems to be the missing link for most complainers.

    i use it in my retail store and at home for multiple purposes. daily. i don't need it to natively play stupid halo game captures or whatever content you guys are pining for. someone please tell me what it can't do that your stuff is running circles around?

    on my wish list:
    converging the mac mini and ATV into one device, with the out of the box ease of the ATV, with wireless control devices that allow me to have the web on my tv. i might just provision a mac mini for this, but i know as soon as i do, then apple will release the device i want and piss me off.

    also, the iphone remote app adds tons of utility (especially for whole house since i can be anywhere in wifi range and control the source media), but it would be nice to see the on-screen TV menus on the iphone screen in case i'm not near my main TV that the ATV is hooked to.

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