Things Apple should do to make Apple TV a solid gaming console, according to developers

Developers have a lot of ideas on what could make Apple TV a better gaming platform. Some of these ake the device to a new level. What do you think?

Last week, the Apple TV version of Minecraft was pulled from the market due to low usage. Soon after, the folks over at Ars Technica began asking individuals in the gaming community what Apple should do to make its “hobby” device more appealing to gamers. The answers were interesting.... Read the rest of this post here


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PlayStation Vue now supports Apple’s TV app for iOS and tvOS

If you’re a subscriber to Sony’s PlayStation Vue service, we’ve got some great news for you. The internet television service now supports Apple’s TV app.

If you’re a subscriber to Sony’s PlayStation Vue over-the-top (OTT) service, we’ve got some great news for you. The internet television service now supports Apple’s TV app, according to MacRumors. ... Read the rest of this post here


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How to Use a VPN With Your Apple TV

You can’t install a VPN natively on your Apple TV, but there are workarounds you can use to enjoy the same functionality. Apple neglected to put VPN functionality in tvOS, the modified version of iOS designed for the big screen. This is probably down to the fact that many use VPN connections to circumvent the region locks imposed by so many of the content providers that conduct business on the platform. Services like Netflix, free to air catch-up services, and live TV streaming apps abound. VPNs and DNS Tunnels on Apple TV There are two methods of using a VPN…

Read the full article: How to Use a VPN With Your Apple TV

You can’t install a VPN natively on your Apple TV, but there are workarounds you can use to enjoy the same functionality. Apple neglected to put VPN functionality in tvOS, the modified version of iOS designed for the big screen.

This is probably down to the fact that many use VPN connections to circumvent the region locks imposed by so many of the content providers that conduct business on the platform. Services like Netflix, free to air catch-up services, and live TV streaming apps abound.

VPNs and DNS Tunnels on Apple TV

An Apple TV box

There are two methods of using a VPN to access region-locked content, and a third less-reliable method that uses DNS tunneling. Neither is guaranteed to work with every service you try, so your mileage may vary. But if you’re already paying for a VPN, you’ve got nothing to lose by trying.

Here we’ll look at the following methods:

  1. Using a router to connect your network directly to a VPN, then accessing services using your Apple TV as normal.
  2. Configuring a virtual router to connect your Apple TV to a computer that’s already configured with VPN access.
  3. Using DNS tunneling to make your Apple TV appear as if it’s in the same country your content is locked to.

Method 1: Using a VPN Router

Netgear Nighthawk X4S D7800

In order to connect your router to a VPN, you’ll need a router or router firmware that supports this ability. If your router was supplied by your Internet Service Provider (ISP), there’s a good chance it won’t include this feature. ISPs tend to provide cheap hardware that does the bare minimum required of the service.

Some routers may lack this feature, but by installing custom firmware this feature can be added. This is a bit risky since you’re removing the manufacturer’s default firmware and replacing it with third party code, so be prepared just in case something goes wrong.

One of the best examples of third party router hardware is DD-WRT. This open source Linux-powered router firmware replacement is compatible with a wide range of network hardware. Check whether your router is compatible on the DD-WRT supported hardware list.

OpenWrt is another open source firmware replacement, also based on Linux, with a modular package-based approach. It allows you to pick the packages you want, rather than providing features you don’t necessarily need.

If you’re using ExpressVPN, you can use ExpressVPN firmware on your router to make connecting to various VPN connections even easier. If you’ve taken the plunge and upgraded to a modern mesh router system, you likely already have VPN client compatibility (and can administer it using your smartphone).

To find out if your router is compatible, check the manual, or login to your router’s control panel and hunt for the “VPN client” feature.

Connecting Your Router to Your VPN

There’s no single method for connecting your router to your chosen VPN. First you need to head to your router’s control panel, the address of which is usually listed on the side of the device. Common addresses include 192.168.0.1 and 10.0.0.1.

Netgear VPN Setup Wizard

Add a new connection for your chosen server. You’ll need to get this information from your VPN provider, and add a new connection for each server you wish to use. Make sure you use a good description so you know where each server is located.

Activate that connection to route all of your network traffic to that server. Every device on your network—including your Apple TV—will now be routed through your chosen VPN connection. You can disable this connection (or switch to another server) whenever you need to using your router’s control panel.

A Good Solution, But Not Perfect

The biggest problem with this solution is that it’s an all-or-nothing approach. Other members of your household can’t watch local content on catch-up TV while you’re trying to stream the contents of another country’s Netflix catalog.

This also slows down your entire network, so playing multiplayer games on your PlayStation 4 while watching international catch-up TV services will result in a dreary gaming experience. You will have to log in to your router and fiddle with the settings each time you want to disable or change your VPN settings.

On the plus side, from a security standpoint the entirety of your network is protected. Add a local server for regular use and you won’t notice a huge drop in speed, nor will you need to set up VPN access on every device in your household.

Method 2: Using a Virtual VPN Router

Mac Internet Sharing

This method is very similar to the last, except instead of using a router connected to a VPN, you’re routing your Apple TV (and any other connected devices) through another device that’s already connected to a VPN.

This means you can route only the devices you want through your VPN of choice, without affecting the whole network. Other members of your household can still stream local live TV services in another room, while you’re watching international content through your Apple TV.

Sharing Your Computer’s VPN Connection

This is pretty easy to do, whether you’re using a Mac or Windows computer. You can also achieve results using Linux (check our our guide to using a VPN on Linux), but sharing your connection will require a little more tinkering and work depending on which distro you are using.

Both macOS and Windows 10 include support for connecting to a VPN with no additional software necessary. Some providers provide their own software to make this easy, but you don’t really need it. Check out how to install a VPN on Windows 10.

macOS VPN Setup

On a Mac you can head to System Preferences > Network and click on the plus button to add a new connection, then choose VPN. From here use your provider’s credentials to create the connection and click Connect. You can also grab one of these free third party Mac VPN clients if you want to use another protocol (like OpenVPN).

The final step is to share your internet connection. You can have one active network type and one shared network type at any time. That means if you connect your computer to your router via Ethernet, you can create a shared Wi-Fi connection. You can’t share the Wi-Fi connection you’re already using as another wireless hotspot, unless you have a spare USB Wi-Fi adapter.

The best method is to connect your computer directly to your router and create a Wi-Fi hotspot, since you can connect multiple devices to one shared Ethernet connection. Check our our guide to creating a Wi-Fi hotspot with Windows, or our tutorial for sharing your Mac’s internet connection.

A Customizable Approach to Sharing a VPN

This method allows you to restrict your VPN to your Apple TV and any other streaming devices, rather than re-routing all of your network traffic. It’s more of a temporary solution, especially if your network equipment is in an awkward location (for which you’ll need a laptop).

It’s easy enough to set up though, and switching your VPN on or off, or changing the server you’re connected to is pretty straightforward. You can even install your VPN provider’s own software to make this part easy.

For MacBook users in particular this solution will require an investment in a Thunderbolt to Ethernet adapter, since Apple hasn’t included an Ethernet port on MacBooks for some time now.

Method 3: DNS Tunneling

The final method doesn’t involve a VPN at all. Many VPN services provide DNS tunneling services as part of their VPN packages, whereas others sell this service separately. Some services sell DNS tunneling separately, many services refer to it by a different name like ExpressVPN’s MediaStreamer.

Some services like ExpressVPN will require the use of free dynamic DNS (DDNS) providers in order to keep your IP address up to date. Others, like UnoTelly, simply require you to login to your control panel to update your address manually.

Once you’ve signed up for an account that supports DNS tunneling and configured DNS where required, head to Settings > Network on your Apple TV and choose either Wi-Fi or Ethernet to configure that particular network. Scroll down to DNS and input the relevant IP address as per your provider’s instructions.

Restart Apple TV

From here simply restart your Apple TV under Settings > System > Restart and region-locked content should (hopefully) now be available to you. Your provider should handle most of the relevant back-end stuff, though it’s often possible to fine-tune your location to unlock specific local services.

Easy to Use, But Easily Defeated

DNS tunneling used to be the best method of accessing region locked content. Unlike VPN connections, you can access content at the maximum speed your internet connection will allow. There’s also no need to connect to different networks for different content, since the provider handles this on a service-by-service basis.

But heavy hitters like Netflix and BBC iPlayer started cracking down on DNS tunneling a few years ago, and introduced better protections against it. Many applications now perform custom DNS lookups to circumvent even OS-level DNS tweaks.

The Best Method for Using a VPN on Apple TV

The use of a VPN means better security, and more reliable access to region locked content. The cost is speed, since your overall speed will be limited by the speed of the VPN connection. By comparison, DNS services are lightning fast but often fall short since content providers can now easily circumvent them.

For many users, the second method (using a virtual router) provides the most flexibility. You won’t lose internet speed across your whole network, and the VPN connection is likely to work a lot better for region-locked content than a DNS server would.

If security is your number one priority, the first method is also ideal. Not having to set up a VPN on every device makes it easy to secure everything in one quick step. Provided the server is relatively close to you, your internet speed hopefully won’t take too much of a hit.

Still looking for a VPN? You may be interested in the best VPNs according to Reddit, but we personally recommend ExpressVPN. Use this link to save 49% on ExpressVPN today!

Read the full article: How to Use a VPN With Your Apple TV

Apple reportedly plans to give away its TV content, because that worked well with U2

Apple has answered two questions in one day, or rather a CNBC report citing someone within the company has. Why are the shows it’s planning so allegedly boring? And what does it plan to do to get a foot in the door in an increasingly competitive streaming-media market? They’re going to repeat the success they had with U2’s “Songs of Innocence” and just shunt it right onto everyone’s device.

Apple has answered two questions in one day, or rather a CNBC report citing someone within the company has. Why are the shows it’s planning so allegedly boring? And what does it plan to do to get a foot in the door in an increasingly competitive streaming-media market? They’re going to repeat the success they had with U2’s “Songs of Innocence” and just shunt it right onto everyone’s device.

To be clear, the report suggests that Apple will give its original content away for free to anyone with an iOS or tvOS device (Macs appear to be excluded). Users will find a shiny new app early next year called “TV,” in which will be Apple’s full lineup of PG-rated comedy and drama, free of charge.

Users will have the opportunity to subscribe to “channels,” for instance HBO, through which they can watch shows from those providers. Who will be allowed on this platform? It’s unclear. How will the billing work? Unclear. Will it replace standalone apps for the likes of Netflix? Unclear. How will it differ from iOS to tvOS? Unclear.

The only thing that is clear is that Apple is working from a position of massive leverage as the only company that can or has reason to launch a shared media channel through a billion-dollar giveaway. No doubt there will be other ways they’ll pinch the competition: search and Siri functionality will probably be better for TV; it’ll have integrations with other first-party apps; they’ll default users to using the TV app when they find a show they like — that sort of thing.

Some of you may be wondering: can Apple really just spend a billion dollars on content and then give it away for free? The answer is unequivocally yes. This company is rich beyond imagining and they could do this every year if they wanted to (and in fact they might have to for a bit). Besides, this is a billion dollar investment in a platform it hopes to entrap every other popular media company in.

Here’s the plan: First you get a base level of okay shows on the TV app so it isn’t a wasteland and people can get used to it always being there along with the other two dozen permanent apps. Then you nag some partners and channels into putting their stuff on there because it’s a “more streamlined experience” or something and collect rent when they do.

Once you have critical mass you reveal your second round of content — the good stuff — and a ridiculously cheap price, like $30 per year, or less bundled with iCloud stuff. Apple doesn’t need to make money on this, unlike other companies, so it can charge literally whatever it wants. Too low and people think it’s just a hobby, too high and they won’t pay for it on top of Netflix and HBO. Sweeten the deal with special pricing you wring out of channels because they can’t afford to leave this new walled garden, and say consumers come out ahead.

Meanwhile of course this is only available on Apple hardware, so you lock people into the ecosystem more, and maybe even sell a few Apple TVs.

Ultimately what they’re doing is buying their way into the market with a big up-front payment to shift and lock a non-trivial portion of the existing audience into their own app — a familiar maneuver.

The money, well, they’ve already spent that. And possibly on content of questionable quality. That’s the one big fault in the plan: Apple’s squeamishness may result in a TV app with a bunch of garbage on it, in which case (hopefully) no one will use it at all and the company won’t get the leverage it needs to bully other media companies into joining up.

You may remember how this kind of forced-content play worked out with U2. After they put “Songs of Innocence” on everybody’s computer, the backlash was so strong that Bono personally apologized. Turns out Apple isn’t actually a tastemaker — they just make the phones that tastemakers use.

In that case it may be that their quest to unseat the actual tastemakers of this era — the likes of Netflix and HBO, which rebuilt the TV industry from the ground up — is quixotic and doomed to failure (or at least a period of ignominious limbo).

Download: watchOS 5.1 Beta 3, tvOS 12.1 Beta 3 Released

You can now download watchOS 5.1 beta 3 and tvOS 12.1 beta 3 release right now on your Apple Watch and Apple TV. Here are the details. [ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

You can now download watchOS 5.1 beta 3 and tvOS 12.1 beta 3 release right now on your Apple Watch and Apple TV. Here are the details.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

Microsoft has ended support for Minecraft for Apple TV over lack of interest

Important news regarding Minecraft for Apple TV as Microsoft said it was “reallocating resources” to more popular platforms. The game still works on your Apple TV, but is no longer being updated or supported. Microsoft was kind enough to offer refunds on any purchases made within the last 90 days.

Nearly two years following its tvOS launch, Microsoft has made the decision to pull Minecraft for Apple TV because there weren’t enough players in the first place, BBC News said Tuesday.... Read the rest of this post here


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Apple and British Telecom’s EE Mobile working together on pay-TV

Apple and British Telcom are in talks about working with one another on pay-TV initiatives. The move comes as Apple preps original video content.

Apple and British Telecom (BT) are in early discussions about working with one another on pay-TV initiatives. The move comes as Apple gets ready to begin releasing $1 billion worth of original video content sometime next year.... Read the rest of this post here


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Download: Beta 2 Of watchOS 5.1, tvOS 12.1, macOS 10.14.1 Released

Apple has officially released for download beta 2 of watchOS 5.1, tvOS 12.1, and macOS 10.14.1. All of the aforementioned beta 2 versions are available with immediate effect, accessible by registered developers, and installable on all compatible Apple …

Apple has officially released for download beta 2 of watchOS 5.1, tvOS 12.1, and macOS 10.14.1. All of the aforementioned beta 2 versions are available with immediate effect, accessible by registered developers, and installable on all compatible Apple Watch, Apple TV, and macOS hardware.


[ Continue reading this over at RedmondPie.com ]

How to watch the MLB postseason on your iPhone, iPad and Apple TV

The MLB postseason for 2018 begin tomorrow, Oct. 2. Here’s how to watch all of the games on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. 

The MLB postseason begins tomorrow, Oct. 2. Here’s how to watch all of the games on your iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV. ... Read the rest of this post here


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Overhauled NHL app brings more shows, Apple Watch support, no-spoiler feature & more

Timed to coincide with the new season, the update brings you more of the action with almost 50 percent more pre and post-game shows, along with intermission broadcasts.

NHL for iPhone app - new features

Monday morning, NHL’s app for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV has been redesigned and updated with fresh new content and features, including Apple Watch support and a no-spoiler option.... Read the rest of this post here


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