Media Player 0.3 Released

Happy tax season! Ok, maybe there's nothing very 'happy' about filing taxes, but to help cheer you up we have a fresh version of Media Player for you.

What's new in version 0.3?

  • Added 'Favorites' section
  • Added support for 'xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx/folder' shares
  • Added individual photo browsing and viewing
  • Improved photo slideshows
  • Improved memory management during slideshows
  • Resolved conflicts with XBMC
  • Minor UI fixes

How do I add folders to the Favorites menu?

Adding favorites provides quick access to the files/folders you use most.

  1. Locate the folder to be 'favorited'.
  2. Highlight the folder and press/hold the center select button.
  3. Select the 'Add to Favorites' option.
  4. That's it - the folder will now appear in the favorites menu.


Adding folders to the new 'Favorites' list      

How do I get it?

As usual, the new version can be installed on your ATV2 through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu.

Enjoy!

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Media Player 0.2 Released

Today, as you've no doubt discovered, is April Fools - the official holiday of the web. While we're a bit light on jokes, we do have a new version of Media Player for you.

What's new in version 0.2?

  • Added photo slideshows
  • Added basic video playlists
  • Added support for guest/anonymous NAS logins
  • Added volumes list sorting
  • Better remote share folder browsing (root folder issue)
  • Better Remote.app support
  • Resolved issues in AFP navigation resulting in incorrect 'menu' button handling
  • Resolved issues resulting in incorrect video playback after rewinding on 'fastest' speed
  • Resolved duplicate AFP share entries
  • Other miscellaneous fixes

How do the photo slideshow/video playlist features work?

When browsing files stored on your remote share Media Player will automatically detect folders that contains supported photos for the slideshow, or supported movies for video playlist. These folders will be designated with special icons as shown below.

To start a photo slideshow, or video playlist simply highlight the folder, hold the center select button and choose the appropriate option.


Accessing photo slideshow and video playlist features      

How do I get it?

Media Player 0.2 can be installed on your ATV2 through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu.

Enjoy!

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aTV Flash (black) Beta4 Now Available

Today we are pleased to announce the release of aTV Flash (black) Beta4. In terms of features, this is the most substantial release since Beta1 first became available in early December 2010.

The marquee addition found in Beta4 is an 'alpha preview' version of our brand new Media Player that has been under development for the past few months. This player enables the playback of non-iTunes media (streamed from a network source) on the AppleTV with no special software or transcoding required!

More details on what's new and improved in Beta4 are below.

What's new in Beta4?

General

  • Added 'alpha preview' version of new Media Player
  • Added native Weather and RSS apps (will appear under Internet menu when installed)
  • Added support for Remote HD iPhone/iPad app
  • Added option to restart 'Lowtide' via Maintenance menu
  • Added support for AppleTV 4.2.1 (iOS 4.3)

Couch Surfer Pro

  • Added Google search suggestions to Search menu (iOS 4.3+ only)
  • Added ability to delete bookmarks
  • Improved animations, HTML5 and CSS3 support
  • Improve iPhone/iPad Remote app navigation
  • Improved text box handling
  • Resolved issues related to Facebook and similar sites
  • Many other performance improvements

What can I do with the new Media Player?

What's included in this version

  • Support for many non-iTunes media file types (MKV, AVI, MP4, etc...)
  • Native VIDEO_TS (VOB) file playback (with menus)
  • AFP network streaming (Mac, TimeCapsule, AirPort Extreme, etc...)
  • Automated cover art/metadata fetching
  • Basic subtitle support for VOB files
  • 5.1 AAC audio
  • Watched, unwatched and partially watched markers (includes resume support)
  • Volume control (up/down arrows during playback)

What we're still working on

  • Better support for HD video files
  • SMB network streaming
  • 5.1 sound
  • Chapter controls
  • Video playlists
  • Subtitles (.srt)
  • Alternative file browsing options
  • Photo slideshows
  • Improved memory management
  • Countless other bug fixes and performance improvements

A brief demo of the Media Player in action can be seen here.

Great! Where can I get it?

Beta4 is now available through the Downloads tab in your account. If you already have aTV Flash (black) installed all the new features and updates can be downloaded on your AppleTV through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu.

Comments are welcome below.

Enjoy! Smile

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Seas0nPass for Windows + Progress Update

As the snow starts to melt here in Denver, we're starting to see many of the exciting features that have been under such heavy development over the past few months begin to mature and blossom. Read on for more details on the current state of aTV Flash (black) and what's coming next.

Seas0nPass for Windows

We're happy to announce the public release of Seas0nPass for Windows. Like the Mac version, Seas0nPass is a helpful tool that allows you to jailbreak your AppleTV with the latest firmware, and easily go through the 'tethered boot' process if needed.

Seas0nPass for Windows is free and open source. The Seas0nPass application and user guides can be found at Seas0nPass.com. The source code will be available shortly on Github.

New 4.2 (iOS 4.3) update

As mentioned in the previous blog post Apple released a new 4.2 (iOS 4.3) software update for the AppleTV last Wednesday (3/9). While Seas0nPass and aTV Flash (black) are compatible with this new version, some 3rd party plugins such as XBMC and Plex are not fully working yet. If you rely on either of these plugins we recommend sticking with your current version until compatible updates are available.

If you haven't done so already, the AppleTV auto-update feature can be disabled through the Maintenance --> Settings menu. 

Additional codecs and NAS streaming

Below is a new preview of our video player in action. In the demo a full DVD (VIDEO_TS) movie is being streamed from a remote AFP based NAS drive over wifi. Playback is handled entirely on the AppleTV, and requires no server-side transcoding. Full 5.1 sound is also supported.

While this feature has taken a bit longer to complete than originally anticipated we plan to have a preview 'alpha' version (with support for a limited number of file types) available next week. It's taken a lot of work to get this far and we sincerely appreciate your patience.

Comments are welcome below.

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1/21 Progress Update

Happy Friday! Fridays are always a good time for progress updates so read on to see what we've been up to over the past few weeks.

Seas0nPass

We're working fervently to complete a Windows version of Seas0nPass. Assuming no unexpected issues come up this version will be available within the next 1-2 weeks in early February. Like its Mac based counterpart this will also be a freely available, open-source application.

XBMC

Thanks to some exceptional work from Scott Davilla and the XBMC Team a full version of XBMC is now available for the 2nd gen AppleTV. XBMC acts as a replacement for the AppleTV menus, though you can easily switch back and forth between XBMC and AppleTV whenever you please. With aTV Flash (black) installed, XBMC can be easily downloaded through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras menu.

Streaming internet video

Over the past few weeks we've spent a bit of time working towards enabling Adobe Flash and determining how usable it would be. Ultimately we did get it working (big thanks to Comex) however the end result was far less than ideal. Videos would load ok, but playback was limited to 1-3 frames per-second which by any standard is pretty awful.

Instead of pursuing Adobe Flash any further we've decided to work towards optimizing HTML5 streaming video, which many popular sites are already using. HTML5 streaming via Couch Surfer has been improved greatly in recent weeks, and we're working towards making it even better.

Additional codecs and NAS streaming

We're getting closer and closer to making native NAS streaming and video playback a reality. As of today the plan is to make the initial beta version of this feature available within the next 1-2 weeks in early February. Additional features such as cover art, metadata fetching, and full hardware video decoding will be available shortly thereafter.

A few new screenshots are below.

Comments, thoughts and suggestions are welcome below.

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