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Time for a quick update on the new version of the Apple TV with it's brand new slick interface.

In this show, I also revisit aTV Flash, the suite of codecs and applications that make the Apple TV so much more useful by adding functionality and the ability to play virtually any video format.

Apple have recently re-vitalised the Apple TV by launching version 3. 0. 1 of the Apple TV software. As well as making the Apple TV seem more responsive, the new software includes a whole new UI with a horizontal menubar and direct access to both local and iTunes store content from the main menus. This new approach bodes well for the future as it's obvious how easily Apple could add additional features into the menu.

Some new additions to Apple TV with access to thousands of Internet radio stations along with full support for the new iTunes Extra and LP formats for movies and music. With the iTunes Extra format you can get access to DVD extra material, right on your Apple TV. Of course, only if you buy the iTunes Extra versions from the iTunes store!

In the show I also include a section on pairing and using the Apple TV with Apples own free iPhone and iPod touch Remote application. Now although the Apple TV is a super piece of kit, made even better by the release of Apple TV software, it still has some limitations.

These limitations extend to its tight integration with the iTunes ecosystem, its inability to playback any form of media other than Quicktime encoded videos and the somewhat frustrating decision by Apple to limit its extendability by disabling the onboard USB port. However, all these limitations can be overcome by the installation of aTV Flash by FireCore.

aTV Flash is a suite or third party applications and utilities that install on the Apple TV and allows you to take control. It installs most of the popular standard video and audio codecs, allowing your Apple TV to play most types of media files. It installs file transfer capabilities to allow you to transfer media files to your Apple TV using standard FTP or SFTP clients.

It allows you to store and playback full DVD images of your DVD collection giving you access to all the submenus and extras found on most DVDs. It installs a number of external media browsers and players that help you organise and play your media collection, with seamless integration with the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) and TVRage, retrieving movie and TV information along with movie posters.

It allows you virtually unlimited expandability by enabling the USB port and allowing you to connect and access external USB drives to store huge media collections. It even allows you to connect a USB Keyboard and Mouse.

As well as these additional media related functions, ATVFlash also installs a fully functional, Safari based Internet browser to allow you to browse the Internet from your couch on your HDTV. You can even install additional OSX Applications on your AppleTV.

The really cool part though is that all these applications and utilities are installed automatically by the aTV Flash menu driven installer. You don't need to access the command line and type convoluted Unix commands, in fact, no technical experience is required at all. Just download the aTV Flash package to your Mac or PC, insert a spare USB stick and run the package to create a bootable USB drive (all automatically). Insert the USB drive into your AppleTV and reboot and that's it!

Once your upgraded AppleTV is up and running, a simple menu selection to enable the USB port and you're done. This weeks show revisits aTV Flash to look at some of the new features and demonstrate its tight integration with the new Apple TV menu system. For full installation instructions and more in depth operating instructions, checkout show SCO0199.

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