We are pleased to announce the release aTV Flash (black) Beta6 for the 2nd generation AppleTV.

Beta6 includes huge improvements in playback performance that come by way of a brand brand-new, lightweight player that has been built from the ground up specifically for iOS. This new player empowers your AppleTV to play a wide variety of media formats without having to sacrifice the simplicity of the native AppleTV interface.

Keep reading to find out all the details.

What's new in Beta6?

General

  • Added show/hide options for standard AppleTV menus
  • Added option to manually install if no AppleTVs are detected
  • Improved auto-update disabling
  • Improved installation error handling
  • Minor UI adjustments

Media Player

  • Added new lightweight player
  • Added recently played items to 'Top Shelf' in main menu
  • Added Favorites to main menu
  • Added option to manually mark files as watched/unwatched
  • Added 'Test Connection' option for AFP/SMB shares
  • Added support for DVD subtitles
  • Added support for multiple DVD audio tracks
  • Added basic support for M2TS files
  • Improved overall video playback (especially HD video files)
  • Improved thumbnail generation when cover art is not available
  • Improved FF/RW controls
  • Improved DVD menu and video playback
  • Improved DVD playback progress reporting
  • Improved memory management
  • Improved AFP/SMB streaming
  • Improved error handling for invalid files
  • Resolved most video stuttering issues
  • Resolved energy saver mode issue
  • Resolved issue that resulted in some DVDs being displayed in (squished) 4x3 mode
  • Resolved numerous DVD playback issues
  • Resolved flickering when navigating through certain menus
  • Resolved additional conflicts with XBMC
  • Reduced number of network connections used
  • Minor UI and other miscellaneous fixes

Screenshots

So how much better is this new player?

In short, it's way, way, way better!

To more effectively illustrate real-world improvement we tested video playback in both Beta6 as well as the previous Beta5 version. The results show dramatic improvement in playback performance and system efficiency. More details can be seen in the graphs below.

Note: The source file used was an H.264 (AVC) video (24 FPS) with AAC audio, and was re-encoded into various resolutions for testing.

FPS comparison

Free memory comparison

CPU usage comparison

Awesome! Where can I get it?

If you're already running a version of aTV Flash (black) the new Beta6 version can be installed through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu. If for some reason you need to re-install aTV Flash (black) onto your AppleTV links for the new version can be found in your account under the Downloads tab.

New users can pre-order aTV Flash (black) here.

Enjoy! :-) 

Comments

Submitted by Joe Bucci on July 1, 2011 - 12:25pm

Can't wait to get home and try it out!

Submitted by Elco on July 1, 2011 - 12:35pm

It works super greatz from Holland!

Submitted by euoba on July 1, 2011 - 12:36pm

Great....Im downloading now. But, no support for .srt subtitle?

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 12:39pm

Not yet, but that's one of the next things on our todo list.

James
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Submitted by Anonymous on July 1, 2011 - 12:39pm

Amazing,

Do not you think that the sale of this crap for $20 is cheating ? What is the reason to buy it if you can get Airplay Server, PLEX or XBMC with tons of better staff for FREE?

There is no 5.1 audio support, no way to choose audio stream, no way to choose subtitles, frequently crashing, overloads atv memory and etc - it is all about media player. Do you want to hear about browser and etc ??

Sorry guys for this kind of review, I understand that you trying to do good job, but $20, for software which will be finished and useful may be in a year, is insane.

Submitted by mariol.76913 on July 1, 2011 - 12:40pm

It doesn't yet play .mpg, .mp4 and plays well in xbmc.

Submitted by Pfanner100 on July 1, 2011 - 12:40pm

Nice work.
Subtile support and covers for tv shows then its perfect.

Submitted by curt on July 1, 2011 - 12:40pm

Works great!  Plays high def and other video quite nicely now.

Two things:

1) MKV subtitles no longer show

2) It would be nice to be able to remove the "File System" entry in My Files

Submitted by miker.6523 on July 1, 2011 - 12:40pm

perfect Smile

Submitted by Scrooler on July 1, 2011 - 12:43pm

Anyone did some testing with mkv files in 720p or 1080p?

Submitted by enon8727 on July 1, 2011 - 12:46pm

Saweet! Thanks so much for the added improvements, can't wait to install it!

I have just two suggestions that I think would be so awesome if you could include in the aTV Flash eventually. 1) You know the semi-transparent "Now Playing" tag that shows up in the bottom left when you play a song? I'd love for the option to always display that. It'd just be nice to always know what's playing and who the artist is, even when the screensaver is active. 2) I love air-playing music through the ATV during parties or just having some people over, but I also love iTunes' Visualizations. If you could include an option to play these Visualizations I think a lot of people would use that.

Thanks!

Submitted by Norman Williams on July 1, 2011 - 12:51pm

Any chance to have Netflix player to support captions? There is already supported in last version of Netflix for iPhone and iPad. Apple TV may be using older version of Netflix player which does not support captions.

If you got newer version of Netflix player for Apple TV, I will buy your software and share this news with many deaf friends who depends on captions.

Yes I know Apple iTunes supports it but too expensive to watch each movie. Netflix is much better ($8 a month for unlimited).

Submitted by Gabriel on July 1, 2011 - 12:54pm

Can we plug a hard drive in the back and access it directly yet?
I'd pay $20 bucks for that alone.

Submitted by Marc Logtenberg on July 1, 2011 - 12:54pm

Sorry, no srt dubtitles, no download.

Submitted by Anonymous on July 1, 2011 - 12:54pm

Is is possible to incorporate VPN Connectivity?

Submitted by Shim on July 1, 2011 - 12:55pm

Keeps rebooting whenever I play a video, this is worse than beta 5

Submitted by Anonymous on July 1, 2011 - 12:55pm

Wishlist: spotify client Smile
They offer development libraries

Submitted by DoctorDee on July 1, 2011 - 12:59pm

If you don't like it, don't bitch and whinge. Exercise your prerogative don't buy it.

Many of us who have bought it are happy with our purchase (or will be once srt is implemented ;-).

What's $20 anyway!?

Submitted by bend.8194 on July 1, 2011 - 1:00pm

Saving more than a couple of hours of time over the life of my aTV is worth $20 alone. Installing and maintaining the other options is a bit of a pain... especially when something goes wrong. It takes time on FireCore's part to maintain these distributions and continually update their own offering.. time isn't free.

But that's certainly not the whole story.

  • a) XBMC requires that you basically reboot the aTV everytime you enter/exit it.
  • b) I prefer the simplified aTV interface and
  • c) other options require another device to transcode/stream the media to the aTV. I have a NAS to stream my video and don't want to be required to have a pc running at all times that I want to watch video.

It's a great product and a good value. While it may not make sense for you, it does for a lot of us.

Submitted by jmhardy on July 1, 2011 - 1:02pm

Well, aren't YOU the moron? No...I don't think the money these guys are charging is "cheating." What world do you live in? I've tried all those you name and none of them work as well as this. As for being useful, I use it every day to play files I can't play any other way without having to use another device like an iPad or my Macbook Pro.

Submitted by aliraja on July 1, 2011 - 1:02pm

excellent, you gus are great

Submitted by gwpurnell on July 1, 2011 - 1:03pm

It ain't gonna happen ever (well maybe if they bring out an ATV3). The ATV2 can only be recognised as a USB device; it doesn't have a USB host controller on board so it cannot therefore host other USB devices.

Submitted by Amaga USA on July 1, 2011 - 1:07pm

Works perfect with MKV.. would be good to have a option to change audio tracks and subtitles.. hope you're going to add in Beta7 Smile Thanks guys

Submitted by tomc.50525 on July 1, 2011 - 1:11pm

Indeed.

It is the New Sweetness. 4x3 corrected to 16x9. Which means films like 2001 look beautiful along with A Hard Day's Night and many more. Well done. Take the Holiday off.

Submitted by casper maulk.8825 on July 1, 2011 - 1:13pm

Fantastic. Works smoothley here. 720p mkv - runs perfectley!

Submitted by Anonymous on July 1, 2011 - 1:14pm

I am sorry, but I think you have a limited understanding of what they are developing. Your comments also show limited understanding of what can be done with Apple TV and sorry to say are plain irrelevant. You should think, read more, or talk to someone who is better educated on the topic before writing on a blog letting everyone see how confused you are.

Submitted by euoba on July 1, 2011 - 1:15pm

Thanks James.....Keep going with the good work.....

Submitted by foreignthinker on July 1, 2011 - 1:18pm

Thanks. Great to see continued progress and simple updating supported through Beta5 interface. Very curious to see what happens when iOS-5 hits and Apple drops their maintenance update.  Fingers crossed you will not be set back much. :$

Submitted by jorgec.3917 on July 1, 2011 - 1:23pm

$ 20 here in Mexico is not so little, but it is not too much, and the truth is the money better spent, even though they have no application to 100%, at least I am happy to know that those who pay them are doing their best to give me a product that is worth much more. Thanks! well done! going well! sorry for my poor English.

Submitted by xfactor on July 1, 2011 - 1:26pm

Hi,

I'm going to ask a stupid question...

When will flash become a reality for aTV Flash? I would love to dial in hulu or for that matter any of the online tv/movie sources.

I'm sure you've heard this before...

Thanks guys!!!

Submitted by Ggibbyice on July 1, 2011 - 1:42pm

I's second that! Spotify would be great for us Brits!

Keep up the great work Smile

Submitted by severo ojea on July 1, 2011 - 1:45pm

Now can we fix Seas0nPass please.....

Submitted by Shpider on July 1, 2011 - 1:51pm

How is ISO support coming along? My entire DVD library is saved as images.

Submitted by hapsdoggen on July 1, 2011 - 1:59pm

When will media player stream music from the nas server?

Thansk keep up the good work

Submitted by wieslawk.5799 on July 1, 2011 - 2:01pm

Although I was happy with PLEX, I thought I'd try installing this new update. But it failed both Updating "Maintenance" as well as updating "Media Player" getting following message: 

"Installation Failed! E: Write error - write (28: No space left on device)

E: Can't mmap an empty file

E: The package lists or status file could not be parsed or opened"

Submitted by schilli on July 1, 2011 - 2:09pm

can't find any improvement.

each mkv file in media player is stuttering.

xbmc and mediaplayer can't handle iso files.

atvflash is not usable as a media player. hope next version will be better.

Submitted by miket.78687 on July 1, 2011 - 2:16pm

I have 2 Apple TV Blacks that I just updated to Beta 6, and both continue to crash/reboot every time I attempt to go into Media and Maintenance.  I have also installed the new software directly from my Mac instead of within maintenance on the Apple TV, and they both continue to crash.  Please help!

Submitted by balachandras.7296 on July 1, 2011 - 2:24pm

very glad to see the improvements. The playback of the DVDs are smoother. 

The only thing what I am missing is the support of 5.1 sound. Also the ability to switch between the audio tracks is what I need too. Hope it comes with the next update.

If I have missed this option, please let me know.

Thank You guys for your hard work. :)

Submitted by BurntPixel on July 1, 2011 - 2:26pm

If you've installed XBMC just add this "repo" and it will give you access to all major "Standard" Cable tv shows.... ABC, FOX, NBC, SPIKE, TNT, etc.... if you look around there is also a HULU plug-in floating around online for XBMC as well...

side note: get Cyber Duck to ssh into your Apple TV and drop ZIP file then you'll get/install zip from Apple TV... here is link to Video that explains how to install plugins to XBMC on Apple TV and also link for the repo that will give you tv channels... ENJOY.. Smile

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYGIjbR6Jn4

http://code.google.com/p/bluecop-xbmc-repo/

Submitted by Jim817 on July 1, 2011 - 2:29pm

I would love itunes visualizer!!!

Submitted by tomiy1 on July 1, 2011 - 2:33pm

After updating to Beta 6 i noticed that when playing an mkv file for 15-20 min straight, the video just stops and the ATV goes back to the main menu randomly.  Is anyone else seeing this?

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:34pm

5.1 sound is the top thing we're working on. Support for multiple audio tracks and subtitles is a close second.

Hopefully in the next version.;)

James
Have an idea for Infuse? Tell us.

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:35pm

Hmmm, can you tell us about it?

http://forum.firecore.com/topic/4291

James
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Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:36pm

Looks like something you installed is burning up all your free space.

Re-jailbreaking with Seas0nPass should clear things up.

http://support.firecore.com/entries/387605

James
Have an idea for Infuse? Tell us.

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:37pm

Music files are not yet supported. Sorry. :(

James
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Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:37pm

It's actually an Apple server issue.

Details here: http://forum.firecore.com/topic/4822

James
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Submitted by why on July 1, 2011 - 2:38pm

Can't see any improvement, still hangs and freezes.

Good thing you posted the charts.lol

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:38pm

These features aren't too far off. ;)

James
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Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:39pm

Sorry, that's not normal. If you send in more details we can try and fix it.

http://forum.firecore.com/topic/4291

James
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Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 2:42pm

What kind of files are you having trouble with?

James
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