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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! :-)

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.

Seas0nPass Updated for iOS 4.3

Seas0nPass has been updated to support a tethered jailbreak of the new AppleTV 4.2 (iOS 4.3) software. Big thanks to @nitoTV, @DjayB6, @p0sixninja and @msft_guy for help getting everything together.

What's new in AppleTV 4.2? Should I update?

- AirPlay for apps and websites
- MLB.TV & NBA Game Time live streaming
- Netflix Dolby Digital 5.1
- Other minor improvements and fixes

If you choose to update to the new version you will lose your current jailbreak and aTV Flash (black) plugins. 

If the above features don't excite you the auto-update feature can be disabled through the Maintenance --> Settings menu.

Is aTV Flash (black) Beta3 compatible?

For the most part yes. However, you may see a few oddities with text entry screens in plugins like Couch Surfer and nitoTV. These are relatively minor issues and should be a quick fix.

Update 3/11: New 4.3 compatible versions of Couch Surfer and Last.fm are now available.

Additionally there are some hardware decoding issues present in XBMC which will take a bit more work to get right.

The updated version, and user guides can be found at Seas0nPass.com

Enjoy :-)

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