Apple

Jul 24 2012

News - 20th Century Fox Movies Added to iTunes in the Cloud

When Apple launched the 3rd generation Apple TV, one of the prominent new features launching alongside in iTunes was the ability to download or stream previously purchased movies via the iTunes in the Cloud service. Unfortunately, only 4 of the six major studios were a part of that initial release window. Universal and 20th Century Fox had to wait on the sidelines while new deals were worked to ease HBO's stanglehold on digital exclusivity for their catalogs. Universal managed to jump on the iCloud bandwagon back in April, but now 20th Century Fox has joined the party as well, bringing all six of the major Hollywood studios into the iCloud. It's no guarantee that your movie picks have been any good over the years, but at least you can redownload anytime you want.

20th Century Fox Logo

Now we're able to confirm that Twentieth Century Fox titles no longer carry a warning that they won't be available from iTunes in the Cloud following purchase. You're free to delete them from your PC/Mac or iOS device and redownload at will, and the same movies can also be streamed from an Apple TV. 

The Verge 

May 10 2012

News - Warner Bros. Offering 1080p Movies on iTunes

When Apple announced the third-generation Apple TV back in early March, the company also announced that iTunes would begin offering 1080p movies and TV shows. A number of big studios were quick to begin hawking their even more high-definition wares, but two conspicuously absent studios were Warner Bros. and Fox. Fortunately, Warner Bros. has finally decided to get on-board the 1080p bandwagon, and evidently with both feet as some big titles are already available including The Lord of the Rings and Sherlock Holmes. I know that a lot of folks aren't quite ready to give up Blu-ray in favor of digital downloads, but at least the iTunes offerings have become a bit more varied.

Warner Bros.

 Right now it seems that Warner's 1080p titles are only available in the US, and the UK and Canada are yet to offer 1080p videos at all. This will come as good news to owners of the updated Apple TV, as it broadens the range of content easily accessible from the 1080p-capable device, and films are $14.99 to buy or $3.99 to rent. 

The Verge

 

Mar 14 2012

News - HBO Adjusting Exclusivity Agreements to Allow for iCloud Syncing

HBO

By now, we've all become accustomed to the movie industry's efforts to continue to enforce traditional release windows and exclusivity deals. One of the vagaries of these deals often comes up in relation to streaming and digital distribution systems, where movies can seem to arrive later than one would expect or can come and go, seemingly at random. One of the most common reasons for these situations relate to the deals that movie studios sign with networks that give the networks exclusive distribution windows. This is particularly true for HBO, whose deals with movie studios give HBO almost complete distribution control over non-physical formats. This has been an impediment to digital locker systems in the past because HBO's exclusive control meant that the movie might not always be available for streaming or extended access. With Apple bringing movie syncing to iCloud, HBO has agreed to adjust their deals so that movie studios can allow for movies to be synced to Apple's cloud. It does not mean that  HBO is giving up its exclusivity windows, only that consumers who have purchased a movie will still be able to access the movie from iCloud. At this point, all of the discussion seems to involve iCloud, but we can probably look forward to more services coming online that require similar agreements.

HBO is working on loosening its grip on movie studios in order to allow them to offer their films to sync across Apple's iCloud, the Wall Street Journal has confirmed. This means that, eventually, films from Universal and Fox may soon enjoy the same iCloud syncing as films from Lions Gate, Sony Pictures, Disney, Paramount, and Warner Bros.

Ars Technica

Mar 07 2012

News - Netflix Announces Integrated iTunes Payment and 1080p Streaming for New Apple TV

Netflix has stepped up to catch a bit of Apple's spotlight with a couple of announcements to accompany the new Apple TV. The first announcement is that it will now be possible to sign-up for Netflix on the Apple TV and pay for the subscription through an iTunes account. To be fair, this new billing arrangement will also be enabled on 2nd-generation Apple TV devices via a software update, but only the new 3rd-generation devices will be able to take advantage of Netflix's second announcement. The new Apple TV will be able to stream Netflix content in 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1. 

Apple TV Netflix

Starting today, you can sign-up for Netflix directly on your Apple TV and pay via your iTunes account. Plus, with the new third generation Apple TV, you’ll also be able to watch thousands of hours of great movies and television streaming on Netflix in 1080p high definition and with room-filling Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. 

Netflix Blog

Mar 07 2012

News - Apple Announces New Apple TV with 1080p and Revamped Interface


New Apple TV

As expected, Apple had some big announcements to make today. Of course, most of the attention over the last few months has been focused on the new iPad, but for many of us here at Missing Remote, the new Apple TV may prove the more interesting device.  The new model adds 1080p support and a revamped interface that brings it more in line with the other iOS devices with new app icons and a cover flow presentation. Unfortunately, it does not look like we are going to get access to any new apps at this point or access to the rest of the App Store. Apple has also added iCloud access to movies purchased from iTunes for the new Apple TV. The new version appears to have the same form factor and will be available on March 16th for $99, with pre-ordering beginning today.

Feb 16 2012

News - Rumor: New Apple TV and 1080p iTunes Store Content Inbound

Way back in November, quiet rumors began to circulate that there might be a new Apple TV on the way. The primary evidence was that some retailers had begun to sell the Apple TV for less than Apple's MSRP. Since then, the denizens of the Interwebs have been preoccupied with whipping themselves into a frenzy about the iPad 3 and the mythical iTV. With the iPad 3 announcement now expected in early March, Apple rumormongers have evidently decided to look around and see if there is any evidence that Apple might be planning to offer up a side dish and have alit on the iTunes Store and the Apple TV. The latest rumors suggest that Apple will launch 1080p content for the iTunes Store. If the iPad 3's Retina Display pans out, then this one seems like a near certainty at some point in the near future. Even on a 10" screen, 720p content on a 2048 x 1536 LCD panel is less than ideal. The Apple TV has been caught up in this round of rumors not only because a refreshed unit would also benefit from 1080p content, but because there is a whole bunch of circumstantial evidence that the second generation Apple TV, now being listed by some retailers as the 2010 model, is in short supply in the retail channel. 

Apple TV

In addition to the expected announcement of the iPad 3 at a media event in early March, new rumors and speculation suggest that we could see a revised Apple TV alongside the new tablet. Shortages of the current Apple TV and the possibility of 1080p iTunes content are fueling the refresh rumors.

TechSpot

Feb 15 2012

News - Apple Leads the Way as Consumer Electronics Spending Hits $144B in 2011

The holidays have come and gone, but if your wallet is still feeling a little light, there is a good chance it's because you were one of the folks splurging on consumer electronics last year. NPD has been busy crunching sales numbers and is reporting that consumer electronics sales generated $144B last year. This actually down 0.5% from 2010, and indeed, most of the categories that NPD tracked were down overall. The one category to post big gains was tablets/e-readers. It makes sense then that, of the top CE brands, the only company to post a sales increase was Apple. That's two years in a row for Apple, and judging by the hoopla surrounding the impending iPad3 announcement, the company seems well-positioned to go for the three-peat. Perhaps the most interesting numbers involve the retail channels. Few people would be surprised to hear that B&M stores are falling and online stores are rising, but to see Best Buy at the top of the chain and Amazon tied with Staples for fourth? How in the world is Staples holding its own against Amazon in consumer electronics sales?

NPD CE Sales 2011

Consumer electronics sales fell half a percent in 2011, generating $144 billion, NPD reports. Computers, televisions, tablets/e-readers, mobile phones and video game hardware commanded nearly 60% of those sales. Notebooks and desktops alone represented $28 billion (almost 20%), a decrease of 3% from 2010, while tablets/e-readers doubled sales to $15 billion last year, growing faster than any other category.

TechSpot

Jan 05 2012

News - Apple Looking at 42" and 50" TVs, Having Trouble Signing Content Providers

All right, guys! It's time to take a detour into Apple rumor land. I've expressed my reservations before about devoting too much virtual ink to the rumors swirling around Apple's plans to become a television manufacturer, but the USA Today has put together an extensive write-up based on claims made by a former employee and information from a wide variety of industry folks that is probably a must-read for anyone even remotely interested in what Apple might have up it's sleeve.

There are three main points here to pay attention to. First, there is the suggestion that Apple is looking at building a 42" or larger television. This info is in sharp contrast to the information that Digitimes reported about 32" and 37" televisions, and honestly makes more sense for a home theater. It also leads to the second interesting point: an analyst at DisplaySearch, a company that tracks the television supply chain, is indicating there is no evidence in said supply chain that Apple has ordered panels, which would mean that the iTV is still quite a ways off.

Finally, the third interesting point concerns Apple having trouble signing content providers up for an a-la-carte distribution plan. This last point reminds me of the similar rumors we heard concerning Google TV before its release, but in this case I fail to see how it would cast a pall over the product as it did for Google TV. Apple already has a strong content distribution channel with iTunes and doesn't really need to compete with Netflix and Hulu when Apple can already serve up their apps on any device. Does the idea of 42+" iTV get you excited enough to hold off on other TVs just in case this tech unicorn makes it out of the stable?

But a major roadblock for Apple along the way has been securing content needed to make an iTV succeed. The problems Apple is having securing content deals were described in an interview with a person who worked in the Apple TV group and verified by two television industry sources. All declined to be identified because of the confidential nature of the talks.

USA Today

Dec 28 2011

News - Apple Prepping to Launch 32" and 37" Televisions?

Apple TV

In the wake of Steve Jobs's death and the release of his biography, the Internet started to light up with rumors that Apple was in the process of building a genuine television. Such rumors were not new, so beyond reporting on the intriguing passage from Walter Isaacson's biography that initially stirred things up, I have been generally reluctant to follow up on the swirl of rumors that have come since, particularly given that so many of the rumors have emanated from less than reliable analysts and certain journalistic endeavors with a history of, well, let's be honest, Apple cheerleading. However, when a source as tapped into Taiwan's manufacturing scene as Digitimes starts reporting on specific manufacturers and parts moving though the supply chain, it might be time to acknowledge that Apple may well be getting ready to make its move into the most prominent consumer electronics market of them all. Is anyone ready to start laying on bets for an iTV?

The supply chain of Apple will start preparing materials for iTV sets in the first quarter of 2012 in order to meet Apple's schedule to launch the new display products in the second or the third quarter of 2012, according to industry sources.

Digitimes

Dec 21 2011

News - Apple Adds "Complete My Season Pass" to iTunes

Here's one from the "I can't believe they shipped without this feature" file. Apple has offered Season Pass for a while now. With Season Pass, one can purchase an entire season of a show, usually at a discount over buying every individual episode, which is fine if you know that you want to pony up for an entire season up front. However, if you purchase an individual episode, you are going to repurchase that episode when you decide to spring for the Season Pass.

Complete my Season Pass

Apple has launched a new "Complete my Season Pass" feature that allows you to purchase a Season Pass of a show to which you already own individual episodes, and the amount you spent on the individual episodes will automatically be deducted from your Season Pass price. Apple has offered a similar feature for music albums for years, and this seems like a natural extension of that concept. If nothing else, it reduces the risk of trying out a new TV series.

Just like the "Complete My Album" feature on the music side of iTunes, Complete My Season Pass will reduce the price of the full season pass by the amount that you've already paid for individual episodes, allowing you to round out the season without buying doubles. 

Ars Technica

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