AppleTV Update

It took a bit of jiggery-pokery to get my development version of the new AppleTV to upgrade, but it finally did once I was able to get it to boot in reset mode. The trick is to hold down the “menu” and the “play pause” button until the light of the front of the apple TV blinks rapidly. The TV screen will be blank, but you can connect the AppleTV you you Mac and iTunes will detect it. Use iTunes to do the upgrade.

I now have Siri and the app-store and I have even bought my first app. The jury is still out on whether that was a good idea, but I can honestly say that I am warming up to the AppleTV concept.

I installed TED, CBC News, SHOMI, TheWeatherChannel and a number of other interesting apps. The most useful app however is a client for PLEX. I have moved away from the standard MediaTomb server that comes with Ubuntu and installed PLEX on my linux file server. Setting up PLEX was a bit of an issue in that I had to build a set of directories with a specific hierarchy in order to prevent the AppleTV app from crashing. The PLEX server itself seems very stable, but the AppleTV client I downloaded is far from stable (In my humble opinion)…

As a side note, I have not been able to figure out how to terminate an app on AppleTV. When the PLEX client crashes, it continues to look like it’s running, but clicking anywhere does nothing. The only way I could get it to reconnect to the PLEX server was to power cycle the AppleTV.

Now that all of the server directories have been constructed and the media moved to the appropriate places, the client GUI is quite nice. PLEX discovered all my TV episodes, downloaded the appropriate covers and even plays the theme music when I select a specific program. There seems to be no CODEC issues and playback is smooth.

The AppleTV PLEX app still does crash from time to time, but way less frequently now that the server has a folder called “TV Shows” that contains a folder for each series, that contain folders for each season. So for example “TV Shows”-“NCIS”-“Season1”. Get this wrong and you will be scratching your head until there is no hair left.

To use the AppleTV as a target for your own apps (And to do the upgrade) you need a USB-C cable that does not come with the unit. Once you get the cable and connect the AppleTV to your mac, x-code and iTunes detect it and add it to your target list. I was able to create a couple of simple apps and run them on my TV without any problems. The only thing I can recommend (20-20 hind sight) is that you get a long USB-C cable or you will find yourself on the floor developing code (Not good for your back…)

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