New AppleTV - 11/12 Progress Update

They say time flies when you're having fun, and it's been nothing but as we watch the first version of aTV Flash (black) take shape. The first beta version of isn't far off, but we still have a handful of issues to resolve before it's safe for public consumption.

Read on for more details regarding our current progress as well as a few demo videos showing some of the apps in action.

Installer - 95% Complete

The new installer communicates directly with the AppleTV (no wires or USB drives required) and allows aTV Flash (black) to be installed onto the AppleTV in just minutes. Once installed additional apps (and updates) can be installed from the newly added 'Maintenance' item (as shown in the Couch Surfer video demo below).

Couch Surfer - 65% Complete

Couch Surfer is coming along exceptionally well. Most of the major hurdles have been overcome, basic browsing is working and we're striving to enable support for more advanced web plugins. A video demo of Couch Surfer running on the 2nd gen AppleTV can be seen below.

Last.fm - 85% Complete

Streaming Last.fm radio isn't far away - we've updated most of the critical components for the new AppleTV and also added a new slideshow layout. A video demo of Last.fm in action can be seen below.

Additional Video Codecs & NAS Streaming - 15% Complete

Not surprisingly this has turned out to be no trivial task - because of this we've teamed up with a few outside developers to move things along a bit more quickly. We'll have more info as things progress but unfortunately this probably won't make it into the initial beta version. The end goal however remains the same - robust support for non-itunes media (including DVD files).

So, when is the beta coming?

We're planning to have the first beta version available within the next 1-2 weeks - possibly even next week.

Can I signup for email updates?

Of course - we have an aTV Flash (black) specific signup form here.

As always, feel free to share your comments below.

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New AppleTV - 10/29 Progress Update

After two weeks it's time for another progress update - and sure enough there has been progress, progress, progress! We've been hard at work pushing aTV Flash (black) forward, moving closer and closer to release.

Read more below for a deeper look into details surrounding the current status of aTV Flash (black).

Jailbreak Update

Thanks to some excellent work from the iPhone Dev Team the new Pwnage Tool (version 4.1) is now capable of jailbreaking the 2nd gen AppleTV. This opens the doors for many exciting things including the ability to run aTV Flash (black). As of right now the jailbreak isn't much use to the average user until aTV Flash (black) is available, but a guide for using the Pwnage Tool to jailbreak the AppleTV can be seen here.

App Development

It's still early, but we've made some great progress getting apps up to snuff for the new model. Currently the basics for running Couch Surfer Pro and Last.fm on the new AppleTV are in place - though there are still quite a few issues that need to be addressed. We've also found some encouraging bits that may allow for streaming HTML5 (with an outside chance of Adobe Flash) video on the AppleTV. We'll have more details as Couch Surfer development moves along. A few screenshots showing current progress can be seen below.

Couch Surfer for ATV2
Couch Surfer Pro for 2nd gen AppleTV

Last.fm for ATV2
Last.fm for 2nd gen AppleTV

What about installation - there's no USB port?

Installing aTV Flash (black) will actually be much easier than before. No more searching for a USB drive or fumbling with cables - aTV Flash (black) can be installed on the AppleTV directly from your Mac (a Windows version will be coming later). Once installed, any new or updated plugins can be downloaded directly on the AppleTV (very similar to the current version). An early preview of the new installer can be seen below.

aTV Flash (black) Installer

So...when will it be ready?

We've still got a few semi-critical hurdles to overcome which will take some time, but we're hoping to release some beta level features over the next few weeks. If you'd like to receive progress updates via email you can signup using the form below.

(register for an account to receive email updates)

As always, feel free to share your comments below.

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MiRow for Mac - Now Available

We're proud to announce the release of the all-new MiRow application for Mac. MiRow adds an exciting set of features to the Front Row application transforming it into a powerful media center application.What exactly is MiRow?MiRow is the perfect complement to the Front Row application available on your Mac. MiRow adds a truckload (or two) of powerful, engaging features to the elegant Front Row interface. Installation is a breeze, and using it is even easier. Learn more about all MiRow has to offer below.What can I do with MiRow?

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New AppleTV - 10/13 Progress Update

It's been only two weeks since the last progress update, but a lot of exciting things have transpired during that time. There have been some big leaps forward in understanding how the new device works, and preparing new and existing aTV Flash apps to be compatible. Additionally we're kicking the door for 3rd party development wide open with a full SDK for the new, iOS based AppleTV. Without too many nitty gritty details, a snapshot of the current state of affairs is below.

Development Progress

We've been working diligently to transition many of the existing aTV Flash apps into new iOS based formats that will be compatible with the 2nd gen AppleTV. While we're not yet able to test these apps on the new AppleTV itself (awaiting AppleTV jailbreak - more details below) we have been able to do some preliminary testing/debugging on a few iPhones running the new AppleTV software. While this testing environment is not ideal by any means, it does allow for basic integration to begin. Credit for much of the groundwork that makes this testing environment possible goes to Dustin Howett.

Jailbreak Progress

Unlike previous versions of AppleTV, the new AppleTV runs a flavor of iOS. It's not identical to the iPhone or iPad versions, but iOS nonetheless. Because of this, aTV Flash black will rely on having a jailbroken AppleTV. As of today the AppleTV jailbreak is just about complete and barring any unexpected delays should be available this week. Once available, the efficiency with which aTV Flash black can be developed will be greatly increased. Big thanks to the Chronic Dev Team for their exceptional work.

3rd Party App Support

In addition to developing aTV Flash black, we wanted to open the door for others to develop their own AppleTV apps. We've partnered with Jim Dovey (an original pillar of the AppleTV app community) to create a full software development kit (SDK) for creating apps for the new AppleTV. This powerful set of tools will make creating great apps for the new AppleTV easier than ever. This SDK will include:

  • Complete stub and header libraries
  • Full Xcode integration with on-device debugging (like iPhone/iPad)
  • Robust simulator application

We plan to make the SDK available at no cost for non-commerical use. If you're planning to create an app that generates revenue in some way (via direct sales or ads) we'll have options for you as well. In the meantime we'd love to hear from you to start discussing ideas.   As always your thoughts and ideas are welcome in the comments section below? You can also contact us here.

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