Amazon’s own Fire TV Omni & 4-Series Smart TVs to gain Airplay 2, HomeKit, Alexa Home Theater support, and more this month

Amazon has announced that its line of Fire TV Smart TVs, the Omni Series and 4-Series, will be gaining several new features “over the coming weeks.” One of those features is Apple AirPlay 2 support, which allows iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac owners to easily mirror and cast their screen to the TV. Along with AirPlay 2 will come support for Apple Homekit, which allows for basic control of the TV through Apple’s voice assistant Siri. Amazon also says its TVs will also gain support for Alexa Home Theater groups, which allows you to use Echo devices as wireless speakers. The list of compatible Echos is, unfortunately, smaller with these TVs than with other Fire TV models, and includes only the Echo Studio, Echo (3rd & 4th Gen), Echo Dot (4th Gen), and Echo Plus (2nd Gen). Lastly, only the Fire TV Omni is also getting access to Zoom video calls soon, when you connect a USB webcam. These features are expected to be available later this month.

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Apple TV app on Fire TV devices now supports Dolby Atmos audio

A recent update has brought support for Dolby Atmos surround sound audio to the Apple TV app on Fire TV devices. Reddit user TFLK reports the discovery and notes that the Japanese listing for the Fire TV Stick 4K Max now mentions Dolby Atmos supported on the Apple TV app. When the Apple TV app first launched on Fire TV devices in 2019, it did so without support for Dolby Atmos or Dolby Vision. Support for Dolby Vision was added about a year ago and now it’s finally being rounded out with support for Dolby Atmos. I don’t currently have an Apple TV account to verify the claim, so please help others by commenting below if Atmos works in the Apple TV app and on which Fire TV model.

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Fire TV Smart TVs gain Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit capabilities

Amazon has announced that Fire TV Smart TVs from Toshiba and Insignia are gaining support for Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. AirPlay will allow iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac owners to cast content from their Apple devices directly onto the TVs. HomeKit support will allow Fire TV Smart TVs to be controlled by Siri. Support is rolling out to 2020 models now and will come to other Fire TV Smart TV models in the future. Read more ›

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Apple TV’s new screen calibration feature can make the color accuracy and image quality worse

One of the most interesting new features added recently to the new Apple TV 4K and the previous generation is the ability to calibrate the screen using the front sensors on an iPhone. Professional television calibrator Vincent Teoh, who runs the great YouTube channel HDTVTest has put the new Apple TV calibration feature through its paces in his latest video. He found that in several cases the Apple TV calibration feature made color accuracy worse, even going as far as to shift the color output of a $40K mastering monitor used by the film and broadcast industry as a reference. In some cases where the calibration feature did improve color accuracy, it degraded the image quality in other ways. Read more ›

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New Apple TV 4K announced with new remote and support for high frame rate HDR

Apple has announced an update to the aging Apple TV 4K, which debuted back in 2017. The new Apple TV 4K finally ditches the much-hated touchpad remote for an all-new remote with a traditional circular directional button pad. The Apple TV for 2021 is now powered by Apple’s A12 Bionic process which allows it to support 60 FPS Dolby Vision video playback. Read more ›

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Roku OS 9.4 update adds Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit to select Roku models

Roku is starting to roll out Roku OS version 9.4 and the big new feature is the addition of Apple Airplay 2 and HomeKit support. AirPlay allows users to cast video from an iPhone, iPad, or Mac to a supported Roku device, providing a decent alternative to Apple’s own Apple TV hardware and a new way to watch HBO Max on Rokus, since the app is still not available on the platform. HomeKit support allows for control of compatible Roku devices through Siri voice commands and Apple’s Home app. Read more ›

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Netflix drops AirPlay support for Apple TVs and smart TVs — Fire TV casting is not affected

Netflix has confirmed to The Verge that they’ve dropped support for Apple AirPlay entirely. This means that iPhone and iPad users can no longer use their mobile device to cast Netflix content to Apple TVs, as well as smart TVs that will support the upcoming AirPlay 2 expansion that includes Samsung, LG, Vizio, and Sony TVs. This does not affect Fire TVs, so it’s still possible to use an iOS or Android device to start playing Netflix content on any Fire TV that has the Netflix app installed. Read more ›

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Understanding the upcoming Apple TV App — Supported Hardware and Content Sources

At an event that focused mostly on TV, Apple announced a new TV app that is coming to 3rd-party devices, like the Amazon Fire TV, as well as several new streaming services with both new and existing content. In a sense, Apple has packed their new Apple TV interface into an upcoming app that will make it possible to access Apple’s television offerings without buying their hardware. While most of what Apple announced isn’t new to the streaming industry a whole, it does give Fire TV owners a new way to access content, so it’s worth understanding. Here’s a breakdown of what we know about the upcoming Apple TV app. Read more ›

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Apple TV app and new Apple TV+ streaming service is coming to Amazon Fire TV devices later this year

Apple held an announcement event today that focused around new services the company plans to launch. The majority of the event revolved around movies and television shows and it was revealed that a new version of Apple’s TV app would be coming to Amazon Fire TV devices. This app, which is at the forefront of Apple’s entire TV offering, should give Fire TV owners access to movies and shows purchased through iTunes, as well as content from Apple Channels and Apple TV+, which are two new TV services that Apple announced today. Read more ›

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Apple Music is now available on all Amazon Fire TVs

Support for the Apple Music Skill has just arrived on the Amazon Fire TV. All Fire TV models in the US can now use Alexa to listen to their Apple Music subscription by simply making a music request by voice and adding “on Apple Music” to the end of the request. If you’ve already set up the Apple Music Skill, from when support arrived on Echo devices, you’re already set to listen through a Fire TV device. For everyone else, you’ll need to link the skill to your Apple Music subscription through the Alexa app. From there you can also set Apple Music as your default music service, if you’d like, so that all music requests play through Apple’s service, without needing to specifically say “…on Apple Music.” Additionally, Fire TV Cube owners will be able to listen to Apple Music synced up with other Alexa devices, since the Cube gained support for whole-home audio a few months ago. Support for Apple Music on both Fire TVs and Echos will be coming to the UK in a few weeks.

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Apple is putting iTunes and AirPlay on Samsung TVs

Samsung has announced that their 2018 and 2019 TVs will be gaining an Apple iTunes app as well as support for AirPlay 2, the latest version of Apple’s proprietary casting protocol. This marks the first time that Apple iTunes content has ever been available on non-Apple hardware, outside of Windows PCs. If there ever has been an indicator that content is king and hardware is a distant second when it comes to streaming media, it is this new partnership. Read more ›

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Apple Music is now supported on Amazon Alexa and Echo devices

As promised last month, support for Apple Music has arrived on Amazon Echo and other compatible Alexa devices. Apple has put up a help page to get you started, but essentially you just need to open the Alexa app, select Music from the Settings area, and select the Link New Service option. Read more ›

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Apple Music is coming to Amazon Echo and Alexa devices next month

Amazon has announced that Apple Music will be available on Alexa devices, such as Echos and Fire TVs, on December 17th. Apple’s subscription streaming music offering is among the most popular services, thanks to the popularity of Apple’s mobile devices. This isn’t the first time Apple Music has been made available on non-Apple devices, since there is an Apple Music Android app, but Echo devices will be the first non-Apple smart speaker platform to natively support the service. Once an Apple Music Alexa skill is released, customers will only need to enable the skill and link their account to begin streaming Apple music through Alexa. All 50 million Apple Music tracks, including radio stations, like Apple’s live Beats 1 station, will be available through standard Alexa voice commands.

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Apple will reportedly launch a new streaming TV service next year

A few years ago, Apple was rumored to be working on its own streaming TV service until the whole thing was reportedly shelved. Those rumors have spun back up with The Information now reporting that Apple’s streaming TV service will launch next year to compete with Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Read more ›

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Apple TV is getting Dolby Atmos and Zero Sign-On with tvOS 12

Apple took the stage today at WWDC, their annual developer conference, and discussed updates coming to their various platforms. Among the keynote was a brief section talking about changes coming to the Apple TV and tvOS. The main points of interest are that the Apple TV 4K is gaining support for Dolby Atmos surround sound and Apple is making activating TV everywhere apps even easier with something called zero sign-on. Read more ›

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You can now put Amazon’s Alexa on an Apple Watch

Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant is making its way into all sorts of products and now you can put it on an Apple Watch. Developer Damian Mehers just released Voice in a Can, which is an Apple Watch app that lets you talk to Alexa from your wrist. Once the app is installed it’s a standalone app so it does not need the watch to be teathered to a phone to access Alexa. To use the app you tap a button for Alexa to begin listening and then tap again to send off your request, as demonstrated in this video. Read more ›

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Amazon to once again sell the Google Chromecast and Apple TV

Amazon has re-listed the Google Chromecast and the Apple TV, as first spotted by CNET. This is significant since Amazon removed both devices from their website two years ago after being unhappy with the state of Amazon Video on both platforms. This should relieve tension between Amazon, Google, and Apple, which may be the first step to avoiding the upcoming ban of YouTube on the Fire TV by Google. Read more ›

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Amazon Prime Video app arrives on the Apple TV

As promised earlier this year, Amazon has released a Prime Video app for the Apple TV. The app is available in the app store for 4th and 5th generation Apple TVs and will also be added to the pre-app store 3rd generation model. Read more ›

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Apple announces new Apple TV 4K with HDR

Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage today at a special event to announce new Apple products. Among them was the announcement of a new Apple TV capable of 4K video playback at 60 frames per second, as well as HDR video. The new Apple TV supports both of the two most popular HDR standards, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. The new hardware looks exactly like the existing Apple TV and uses the same Siri remote. Read more ›

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Apple fighting Hollywood to cap 4K movie prices at $19.99

With a new 4K Apple TV expected to be announced on September 12, Apple is reportedly scrambling to lock down deals on 4K content for the new device, according to The Wall Street Journal. Sources close to the matter say the hangup is on pricing because Apple wants to charge $19.99 for all major titles, which is around what they charge for 1080p movies, while Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for higher resolution movies. Read more ›

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