Why Are Images from My TV Different if I Use Apps on the TV or my Apple TV?

I was watching something I had ripped on Plex recently, and I noticed that it looked a bit faded, muted, even veiled when I streamed it through the Plex app on my Apple TV 4K, compared to streaming it through the Plex app on my TV. I thought that, perhaps, the app itself had some way of rendering the colors and sharpness that was different on the two devices.

Then I tried some other apps, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. The output from each source was very different. With Netflix, the TV looks a lot muddier than when I stream from the Apple TV, and with Amazon Prime Video, the colors are very different.

Here’s an example, from the beginning of the first episode of Person of Interest. I took this photo of the image streamed via the Apple TV app:

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And here’s the same scene from the Amazon app on my TV:

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Checking my TV’s settings, I made sure that the settings apply to all sources. The Apple TV shouldn’t change much; you can choose whether it plays HDR and either 50 or 60 Hz, but neither of these settings made a difference. There’s also a color gamut setting, but that didn’t make any difference either.

The color cast difference in the two photos above is quite striking, and much more of a difference than what I saw from Plex. The brightness and saturation are also very different.

Does anyone know why I’m seeing such a difference in colors, sharpness, and contrast between the two? Theoretically, these apps should be sending the same data regardless of source.

Yet another reason why I hate TVs.

Apple Phasing Out iTunes Store Access for Original Apple TV

Apple TV 1st GenRemember the 1st generation Apple TV? The one that was a sort of iPod for the living room? You’d sync content to it from your iTunes library, then watch it on your TV, using HDMI or component video connections.

This has long been an obsolete device, but Apple is adding another limitation.

Also beginning May 25, security changes will prevent Apple TV (1st generation) from using the iTunes Store. This device is an obsolete Apple product and will not be updated to support these security changes.

After the changes, you’ll only be able to access the iTunes Store on Apple TV (2nd generation) or later.

I only recall syncing content to the 1st generation Apple TV, not accessing the iTunes Store directly on the device. So I’m not sure if you’ll be able to use it by manually syncing content in the future or if it is truly dead.

The 1st generation Apple TV was available with either 40 or 160 GB storage, and is still a useful device. Does anyone still use one? If so, what do you plan to do after this change?

How to Take Screenshots of the Apple TV – Look, Ma, No Wires Edition

Two years ago, I wrote about how you can take screenshots of the Apple TV. At the time, you needed to connect the device to a Mac and use Xcode – Apple’s developer environment – to capture what’s on your TV screen.

This has become a lot simpler lately: you can now do this without wires. This means you can leave your Apple TV in the living room, and take screenshots from any Mac on the same network.

If you do need to take screenshots of the Apple TV – something that generally only developers and journalists need to do – here’s how.

First, make sure your Apple TV is awake, and your TV is on; you’ll need to view it briefly.

Next, fire up Xcode, then choose Window > Devices & Simulators. Click your Apple TV in the Discovered sidebar, then click Pair with your Apple TV. You’ll see a screen asking you to enter the six-digit code displayed on your TV; go to the other room and get the code, then enter it.

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You’ll next see a screen like this:

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You can now click Take Screenshot to capture the screen. Of course, you still need to go back to where the Apple TV is located to navigate through menus and select items, since Xcode can’t (unfortunately) display what the Apple TV is showing in real time.

Screenshots are saved to your Mac’s Desktop.

h/t Rob G..

Don’t Buy an Apple TV 4K if You Don’t Have Fast Internet

I was very interested in getting the new Apple TV 4K. I wanted to be able to view 4K movies on my 4K TV. I can already do this to some extent with Amazon Prime Video, and the quality is impressive. However, Apple has published a support document that explains the requirements for accessing 4K content.

You won’t be able to download 4K movies; you’ll only be able to stream them.

You can download a local copy of an HD movie, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions, but you can’t download a 4K version.

And you’ll need a 25 Mbps connection to get 4K content. Otherwise you’ll just get HD or SD:

The higher the quality of the video that you’re trying to stream, the faster your Internet connection has to be. (Apple recommends a minimum speed of 25 Mbps for 4K streaming.) Your Apple devices automatically switch the video quality to a lower quality version if your Internet connection isn’t fast enough.

Yet again, Apple hits users without fast internet connections. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t be able to download a movie, even if I do so overnight because my connection isn’t fast enough to do in when I want to watch it. And what about people with bandwidth caps? If they want to watch a movie several times, I assume the content will be stored in the Apple TV until more content is streamed overwriting it. But if you want to watch a movie again after you’ve watched a few others, then it won’t be local.

I assume these restrictions have something to do with Apple’s agreement with movie studios. But they do highlight he fact that you don’t own the movies you buy from the iTunes Store; you are merely renting them. You can’t do what you want with them, you can’t even back them up in case they are removed from the store.

Learn How to Do Everything with the Apple TV 4 in Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition

Tc apple tvWhether you’re considering an Apple TV or you already have one, you can more fully enjoy Apple’s entertainment device with this ultimate guide by TidBITS managing editor Josh Centers. You’ll learn how to set it up and use it to watch movies and TV shows, play music, display your photos, give presentations, and run all manner of apps on the big screen.

Josh walks you through cables, ports, and setup, and explains how to use gestures and spoken commands with the Siri Remote — yes, you can talk to your TV! He helps you navigate and customize the Home screen, plus describes getting-started settings such as inputting your Apple ID and enabling parental controls.

The book, which is organized to make it easy to find the topic you need now, walks you through using the built-in apps for playing iTunes Store video and describes how to download apps for Comedy Central, Disney, ESPN, HBO Go, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, YouTube, and more — complete with clickable Web activation links for 50 video apps, so you don’t have to type those Web URLs by hand. But you’re not restricted to commercial video: Josh explains how you can best view home movies and any DVDs or Blu-ray discs you own.

The book also looks at using an Apple TV to listen to your music or Apple Music, download and play podcasts from iTunes, and browse your photos. An important new feature of the Apple TV is its App Store, and you’ll find recommendations for apps that bring fitness, food, mapping, shopping, art, gaming, and more to your big screen.

Bonus! A special cheat sheet summarizes key Siri Remote tips and spoken commands so that you can easily try them from the couch.

Get Take Control of Apple TV, Second Edition.

The best way to watch media on the new Apple TV: iTunes Home Sharing vs. Plex

With the release of the fourth-generation model, the Apple TV has opened up to third-party apps. You are no longer limited to getting local media from your iTunes library. One of the first apps that lets you use other sources is Plex, which “organizes your video, music, and photo collections and streams them to all of your screens.”

I had tried out Plex some years ago, and found it as enjoyable as installing Linux on a computer. But the company has made great strides in improving the software, and as soon as the Apple TV app was available, I installed it on my device. In this article, I’m going to compare the two for streaming content to an Apple TV. I’ll also discuss using these two methods to share content on other devices.

Read the rest of the article on Macworld.