Job posting at Apple spark new rumours about a coming Apple TV or iTV

Apple TV

Just like there are spotters at factories trying to figure out what a new iPhone would look like based on displays, antenna’s or processors they spot at a plant, FCC and patent watchers who meticulously read all new filings hoping to find a hint for new technology, keeping an eye on recent job openings is one other way to try to predict where technology companies are heading. Today, all Apple watchers are focussed on the job opening of Software Engineering – Manager Apple TV in Cupertino that suggest the company is in increasing their in investment in the development of a (new) Apple TV or even iTV.

Needless to say this does not prove anything. But Apple fans are hoping for an Apple product so badly that all bits of information are hot. Even proven untrue like the suggestion of an Apple TV event next months I also picked up earlier this week.




Jailbreak for Apple TV 5.2, update for aTV Flash to support 5.2

Jailbreak Apple TV

Firecore announced a new version of aTV Flash (black 2.2) and SeasOnPass today to get the most out of the latest version of Apple TV. The new version obviously supports Bluetooth keyboards and offers some minor improvements to backups, DVD playback and some bug fixes.

In order to install the new version of aTV Flash, a jailbreak is needed. Get SeasOnPass first and follow the instructions on how to do so. After installing, let us know what your experiences are. Good or bad.

Brand new Android app for Plex

Plex Kepler for Android

It took about two years, but pretty soon Plex will be introducing a completely new version of their Android app (code name Kepler). Plex, also known as Plexapp, Plex Media Center or just PMC is a partially open-source freeware media player software that has been around for some years now. It has a solid fan base and is competing with open source platforms like XBMC.

Next to the Android version, Plex is available for Mac, Windows, Linux, iOS, WP7, Google TV, Roku and a number of Smart TV’s from Samsung and LG.

A beta version will be available later this week for PlexPass subscribers in Google Play. Others will have to wait until the official launch.

See below a preview of the the new android version of Plex.

Arctic MC01-XBMC, a set-top box based on XBMC 12 Frodo and OpenELEC

Arctic MC001 XBMC

Arctic is one of the first hardware makers to launch a settop-box based on the brand new Frodo version of XBMC. For the operating system, they have picked another open source platform: OpenELEC. Together these platforms create a very interesting and powerful new Smart TV device. And to make it even better, it is available now for a serious discount. Just USD 229 (was USD 459) as long as stock lasts.

The MC01-XBMC supports all popular audio and video formats in HD and up to 1080p. They integrated harddrive can store 1 TB of data. Thanks to this hard drive and the built in Wi-Fi, the Arctic can be used as a NAS as well. Watching is possible using the pre-installed DVB-T/ATSC TV tuner which allows using it as a PVR as well.

Controlling the device can be done from a smartphone or tablet using a free app.

Connecting the MC01-XBMC can be done through a variety of options: 3.5 mm audio I/O jacks, optical S/PDIF output, a VGA port, and HDMI port, integrated Ethernet port, five USB 2.0 ports and  a single USB 3.0 port on the front.

The device runs on an Intel Atom D525 processor and a Radeon HD 5430 GPU.

Samsung F8500 LED Smart TV, the first Samsung with a Quad Core processor

Samsung F8500 LED TV

One of my frustrations with Smart TV’s is that many of them are not very fast. It always seems to take much longer to switch a channel or to access a menu then you are used to on your computer.
Let’s hope the Quad Core processor of the new Samsung F8500 LED Smart TV is solving this problem.

Apart from the Quad Core processor, the TV has a 55 inch LED screen with a ultra slim bezel, a webcam and the latest version of the Smart Hub interface. With that, it’s possible to use the new remote control that supports motion control and voice commands for controlling your television. And of course the Smart Evolution system that allows you to upgrade your TV. Just replace a box at the back of the television with a new one and you can have improved speed and features.

Listen music with Deezer on your Samsung, LG or Toshiba Smart TV

LG Deezer

Streaming music service Deezer is coming to your television. The French Spotify competitor struck a deal with major Smart TV manufacturers Samsung, LG and Toshiba expanding their global reach substantially.

With a library of  20 million songs and a user base of over 26 million people worldwide, the company is gaining serious traction with this new deal.

The only question that remains is whether or not people are going to use their television to listen to music. It does not seem the most logical thing to do, but as televisions turn more and more into a screen that displays all sorts of streaming content (gaming, video, audio) possibilities it might make sense.

For Deezer it will be probably good news anyway. Being in bed with Samsung Smart TV’s creates a nice position in the massive Samsung ecosystem. signs deal with BBC Worldwide for a 300 hour programme package

The viewers in 15 former Soviet countries wanted it, so now is bringing it to them. A selection of British shows from BBC Worldwide including drama (Luther and Sherlock), comedy, science, cookery, documentary, natural history (Frozen Planet, Human Planet) and children’s content will be available on currently reaches 13 million unique visitors per month with their 20.000 hours of streaming content. The service is ad supported and therefor free to watch on devices like iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets but also on Smart TV’s from LG, Samsuns and Sony.

XBMC 12 Frodo is finally here

XMBC Frodo

We had seen a lot of interesting features appear in the various beta versions, but last week Frodo finally arrived as the official new version of XBMC. XBMC, the open source Media Center based on the original the Microsoft XBOX (put them together and you know what XBMC stands for) is a media centre platform that runs on Windows, Linux, OS X, Apple TV and iOS. And since last week also Android. Very interesting as Android is used to power a broad range of Smart TV set-top boxes and Smart TV Sticks. With the possibility of TV becoming the new battlefield between teeh giants fighting for dominance, Google seems more and more in a good position with it’s dominant Android platform.

But that’s not all. Version 12 of XBMC also offers support for Raspberry Pi and Live TV with PVR. The latter makes it possible to have an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) that you can use to select the programme you want to watch or want to record with the Personal Video Recorder (PVR).

All details and downloands can be found at the website of XBMC


New Apple TV not that new after all, HBO Go coming?

Apple TV

There were some rumours the last few days about a brand new Apple TV coming to the market. Based on a FCC-filing, Engadget thought there was a new version in the making with new hardware in just a few millimeters smaller box. After some good research from TheNextWeb, it turned out to be just a small hardware resfresh.

“We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval” an Apple spokesperson told TNW. “The component changes we made don’t affect product features and Apple TV customers will continue to have the same great user experience.”

So nothing new as far as hardware concerned. However a new and interesting rumour about HBO Go emerged. According to Bloomberg, HBO Go will be available on Apple TV sometime this year. Adding HBO Go to the current parnerships with Netflix and Hulu Plus might put them a little bit more in the game with Microsoft XBOX 360, Roku and other set-top box suppliers.

Still, nobody really knows what Apple will do with TV. Apple TV so far is not the groundbreaking revolution for TV as the iPhone was for the smartphone market. And adding a few media partnership or adding a few content libraries will not change that. On the other hand, Apple sold 2 million boxes last quarter. Without much effort. People like it, it’s easy to use and it fits perfectly into the ecosystem. So maybe not a revolution after all.

Sharp records a $398m net loss, LCD division mostly responsible

Bigger doesn’t always turn out to be that better, but when it comes to Sharp it might just fly. While Samsung and Sony focussed their recent CES presence on Ultra HD displays and improved software, Sharp relied on the oldest trick in their book. Next to IGZO, Sharp made the race to make the biggest Ultra HD display the key of their presentation. As it turns out, Sharps TV business is about the only departement that made any money over 2012, in which the company recorded a $398 million net loss. Making barely any recovery with the $28.5 million profit in the third quarter.

Fortunately, the Japanse tech giant did setup a series of smart partnerships (including one with Qualcomm) and announced a slew of new (non-TV) devices at the CES. Time has to tell if this is enough to get the company through 2013  and will eventually put that 8K HD-TV in our living rooms!

(image via The Star)