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 yohannon on July 1, 2011 - 2:46pm

Wow... dude, I know perfectly well that I could accomplish everything that fireCore sells for a rasonable sum for "free" -- if I was willing to track down all the bits and figure out the installation and configuration. Bluntly, my time is no longer worth so little that I can spend hours of it figuring out that config details.

Could I? absolutely. I remember when I first hacked my TiVo back in '99 to add more storage, and then most of the features that weren't going to be a part of the system for another 6 years or so. But now I just want to have the functionality without the hassle. 20 bucks is more than fair, considering that money took me about 10 minutes to make.

What's YOUR time worth, "anonymous coward"? Tongue

Submitted by Frank7 on July 1, 2011 - 2:56pm

Installing through the Maintenance --> Manage Extras (& --> media player!) menu went well. Maintenance says beta6. But i don't see the new menu and new features (?) with the media player. It looks like nothing changed. In the meanwhile, 1080p files do play great. 

What can i do to get the new media player menu? Already reinstalled with the new version in my download tab ...

Submitted by Mac on July 1, 2011 - 2:56pm

Memory warning.

Your device is running low on memory.

 

That's the message I get when I try playing 1080p MKV movies via the new built in Media Player. Any ideas?

Submitted by why on July 1, 2011 - 3:04pm

Not having trouble loading a file it's more when you try to fast foward that it will just freeze then hang and kicks me back to main menu.

all formats will do it for me but this one was a xvid of Graig Ferguson.

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 3:05pm

.. indeed, I got this problem with most movies as well. Strange, because ATV played it before without problems.

Submitted by henrik8419 on July 1, 2011 - 3:09pm

Sounds great! Like to Test it today. Can't until I'm back from Holiday in Spain...

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 3:12pm

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 3:13pm

The recent files in the main menu will start to appear after you play a few files. Also, if you have any Favorites setup these will also appear in the main menu.

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 3:15pm

Hmm, that's odd. If you're able to submit a bug report we can look into it.

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

Submitted by alien factory on July 1, 2011 - 3:19pm

Despite of some sudden shutdowns of the ATV streaming of HD indeed improved singnificantly...!!! Smile

Submitted by tomiy1 on July 1, 2011 - 3:20pm

does your ATV also randomly go back to the main menu during mkv playback?

Submitted by garyf.8253 on July 1, 2011 - 3:21pm

Thanks for the update. Seems to work just fine so far!

 

Gaz

Submitted by alien factory on July 1, 2011 - 3:25pm

I don't have mkv's but the shutdowns happen quite often whatever media i try to access...

Submitted by james on July 1, 2011 - 3:26pm

Please submit a bug report so we can get to the bottom of whatever is going on.

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

Submitted by GoPronto on July 1, 2011 - 3:30pm

Good work guys from us down under Smile

 

Submitted by why on July 1, 2011 - 3:42pm

Will test more next week. It's Canada Day today for us and July 4th for you guys.

Time to forget about TV for a while and get back to the family.

Have a great holiday on both sides of the border.

Thanks for all the hard work and for the update of beta 6.

 

Submitted by saib0t on July 1, 2011 - 3:44pm

I must say that beta6 & the new Media Player is way better than I was expecting.
Plays 720 and 1080 mkv without hicups from AFP & SMB shares and from my NAS.
Very good work on this version, with the old one I could'nt watch one single movie.
Looking forward to srt support for media player.

Keep up the GREAT work on this awsome pice of software!

Submitted by GoPronto on July 1, 2011 - 3:55pm

better than expected, can now run 2 ATV's Black on a 100bt network showing 2 different films simultaneously, Smile

Submitted by oliverb.9299 on July 1, 2011 - 4:24pm

Finally, I can stream smoothly from my Time Capsule without needing to have my computer and iTunes running. (Thanks for the inconvenience Apple!) 
This is great. Thanks for all the hard work you guys put into the new media player. 
I do have a feature request. 
Is there any way to have GRID VIEW? 
It really sucks scrolling down 500+ movies to get to the one you want. 
Grid view makes it so much faster and easier and prettier. 
I don't understand why Apple gives us the nice grid view for movies that we rent, but gives us crappy list view for our own movies. 
This kind of inconsistency is not very Apple-like. 
I'm not sure if that limits you guys from implementing that feature or not.
That's the one thing I long for from all those other crappy media players on the market - they all have grid view.

Submitted by averyl.0468 on July 1, 2011 - 4:36pm

720p play perfectly if its 2 channel audio

1080p don't play.

Submitted by GoPronto on July 1, 2011 - 4:37pm

do you mean a view like Kalidescape Wink

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 4:41pm

Muchas gracias por el aporte, SUPER. From Mexico

Submitted by joseph .7360 on July 1, 2011 - 4:52pm

First step in trials very nice.

Easy update.

Found using ATP rather than SMB is the ticket for my set up

SMB causing stuttering

Have played a video_ts file, and mkv.

One mp4 stutters, however it may not be a "clean" mp4. I have another file that I will try.

Files on Imac are good... even flv is running smooth.

In XBMC... finding no conflicts as far as I know  MKV not dong well from hard drove. Mp4 and TS ok. Turned off.. UPNP? Helps the files that are working. (Prefer Firecore player anyway.)

My set up:

External HD plugged into Airport extreme. Running every thing through it , nothing through I Tunes.

Thanks for the hard work.

Submitted by rodrigob.3731 on July 1, 2011 - 4:57pm

Just updated and wow, it is such a great improvement. Congratulations. i'm waiting to have srt subs support too to avoid using XBMC. Greetings from MX.

Submitted by tomiy1 on July 1, 2011 - 5:57pm

Def agree on this one...also, some sort of keyword search on shared drives would be amazing as well!

Submitted by tomiy1 on July 1, 2011 - 6:03pm

Another thing im noticiing on my HD (mkv) files is that the sound sometimes gets very distorted during loud actions scenes.  

Submitted by andreav.1234 on July 1, 2011 - 6:09pm

is much better than before but i still see my mkv 720 with hiccup any helps

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 6:09pm

EYETV?????

Submitted by dicx.2139 on July 1, 2011 - 6:14pm

Trying to play Video_TS folders and no audio is coming out on 5 different movies. Going to try and restore and jailbreak again.

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 6:15pm

Do this app have voiceovr support? I did try xmbc and no voiceover and no responce from the ppl at xmbc about it. I sure hope you can take voiceover in to consideration for those of us who can not see the print on the screen.

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 6:17pm

Sorry I am wondering if aTV Flash (black) will support the voiceover because I installed xmbc and it does not and I have never received an answer from the xmbc people if they would consider adding it. Sorry for the jumbled post before.

Submitted by fuzzyreets on July 1, 2011 - 6:48pm

How do we know if the update worked properly?  I checked the version before and after of media player and it's the same.  I update media player then maintenance restarting lowtide after both.  Can I confirm it worked somehow?  Thanks.

Submitted by timd.4762 on July 1, 2011 - 6:51pm

It's better - but I threw an MTS at it and it played at the wrong ratio,  then 720p which played it well. Tried a 4 gig 1080p and it stalled, tried another 720p and it crashed back onto the main menu. I've had a couple of out of memory issues too.

Is a clean jailbreak an option? Does having XBMC install limit the memory somehow?

It's clearly BETTER - but until it just works, on everything I'll have to stick to the WD LIVE TV. Which has a horrible menu system but plays everything smooth as silk.

 

The ability to remove things from the main menu is good - but only the official apple stuff. I can't remove say LAST FM, or XBMC..

Submitted by mmolzan on July 1, 2011 - 7:03pm

Thank you!!!

Submitted by al.066 on July 1, 2011 - 7:05pm

I just tried it... and I am amazed!

 

I've only been playing 480p AVI files (with DivX 5.0 video and AC3 audio) and even those stuttered every 30 - 60 seconds in Beta5. Beta6 completely changed everything! I tried playing those videos again, and they don't stutter at all now! The only anomaly I noticed during playback (which didn't occur in Beta5) was that whenever I paused the video, when playing it again the audio would continue while the video would stay frozen for about a second but then continue on normally (without any audio/video sync problems). Other than that, I'm quite impressed.

Submitted by fuzzyreets on July 1, 2011 - 7:09pm

So these release notes state "Improved DVD menu and video playback".  I can't get this to work at all.  I have a DVD folder and it shows up with a blue dot next to it. I go to play it and it says buffering then I get nothing.  How can I get full DVDs with menus to work?  Thanks.

Submitted by dewayne m.3820 on July 1, 2011 - 7:15pm

where do i download it?

Submitted by GoPronto on July 1, 2011 - 8:33pm

ok Playing VOB's you can still get a bit of lip syncing issues  after a FFwd ( not always ) , but a  Pause play fixes it :) 

Submitted by Anon on July 1, 2011 - 8:54pm

Finally i can watch 720p vids without crashing. However, i have six episodes of a tv show where only the odd numbered files will play!

Submitted by lecocqa.4863 on July 1, 2011 - 11:46pm

Hi Guys!

Installed! Great great Job! Awesome what you can do with this little black box better than Apple himself with much less people and money!

Mkv, 720p : Wonderfull!

Avi, 720p, AC3 : Still hanging ... or slow motion (it depends on the coding data)

Wmv, 720 (1280x720) : Buffering ok but not enough processor capibility (perhaps, pre processor on the Mac/PC sever ?)

Go ahead! Congratulations

Alex (:))

Submitted by Anon on July 2, 2011 - 12:10am

How do i install beta 6, where is maintenance-manage extras?

Submitted by jazeera on July 2, 2011 - 12:53am

hi

i got this package and messed abt for 2 day's to get my films streamed on ma atv2

got fed up and installed airplay server on ma pc , pointed to my movie folder , installed airplay from itunes on ma iphone, installed airplay enabler from cydia on ma iphone and now i stream everything (mkv,divx,mp3,...) with no problems. would be better looking if ipad2 jb was released yet Tongue
no more hassle with error2 on xbmc, or media shares on my pc where other unwanted could snatch them Tongue

2cents

Submitted by stijn.vermoesen... on July 2, 2011 - 2:48am

Just installed the Bet6. All in all it's serious improvement.

 

Unfortunately I'm still having some hick-ups and memory issues but hey it's still a Beta.

 

Keep up the good work.

Submitted by kennyv.0759 on July 2, 2011 - 3:01am

Can someone please explain me how i can change the language of a dvd without menu?

(i got a Disney movie which automatically skips the menu, or i can use the menu button (but that ofcourse doesnt help))

And how can i set the subtitle? When i do this in the standard apple audio/video menu it wouldn't turn on.

Please help me, cause i've been busy with this for hours.

Submitted by marcp.3312 on July 2, 2011 - 3:23am

No VPN. That's too bad. Thanks anyways for the update

Submitted by Anon on July 2, 2011 - 3:25am

Great work, keep it up! MediaPlayer is Beta 6 handles large MKV files really well now.

Submitted by GoPronto on July 2, 2011 - 4:34am

i have had memory issues too ..

 

Also i have noticed the Meta data fetching is not as good as in Beta 5.

Submitted by Anon on July 2, 2011 - 5:14am

you buy it, which gives you an account here, and then you can download it

Submitted by Anon on July 2, 2011 - 5:40am

Thanks for the update. The media player certainly is a lot snappier now. Great improvements! Smile

However I have no sound on my .mkv files. They're all using "H.264 /AVC / MPEG-4 AVC" video codec with AC-3 sound codec.

Anyone else experiencing similar problems?

Submitted by kerrse on July 2, 2011 - 6:09am

my media player still looks the same after updating to beta 6, not sure what i have done wrong but it certainly doesnt look like your screen shots Frown