Overlooked New Feature in Apple TV 2.3.1

4 March 2009

The Americans would not have noticed this. There is a new feature of Apple TV 2.3.1 that is of interest to iTunes users outside the US: ratings badges.

Ratings have always worked on the Apple TV for parental controls, allowing parents to prevent youngsters from watching certain content, but until now there were never proper badges to reflect the ratings of another country. Early on, the Apple TV would look at the rating, e.g. MA15+, and write it out in the system font. Later, this disappeared for ratings that didn’t match US ones, namely G and PG.

Now there are proper ratings for all Australian movie and TV ratings. The US G and PG are still substituted, and the Australian ratings are nothing more than the text of the code in a box, but they are now represented on screen. I would have preferred the proper symbols though.

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Movie Magic

14 August 2008

Six weeks after the introduction of TV shows to the Australian iTunes store, movies (both buy and rent) have appeared. I was eager to get home and experience the movie section of the iTunes Store on my Apple TV but there was nothing in the Movies menu other than Trailers and My Movies. I did everything I could think of: I restarted, checked for updates and changed to a different country’s iTunes Store and then back to Australia. None of this gave me the extra menu items. I rang AppleCare and they said that this support will come in the form of a software update, due soon. Until then, I have to use the less-comfortable (have to sit up in a chair) and less-glamorous iTunes approach. Here’s the first movie I’ve ever downloaded from iTunes:

Downloading iTunes Movie

That’s going to take some time, and I don’t have a lousy connection. I’ll be interested to see just how long it takes. I’m also keen to dissect the file in Lostify to learn all its tagging secrets.

So finally Apple TV is vindicated in Australia with not only a massive $120-$130 discount as of today, but also movies in iTunes. The price drop says two things to me: 1) a bid for market penetration, backed by a real reason to use the device and 2) update sooner rather than later. Over the last two years, January has been “Apple TV Season”, but I now suspect that the next model may debut during iPod season next month.