End of Apple TV?

Minecraft removes itself from Apple TV as rumours suggest use as a set-top box

Apple Insider

Apple TV could be used by big UK cable firm as set-top box

The discussions center around British Telecom's carrier and broadband supplier EE, reports the Telegraph, with the proposals involving BT providing EE customers with an Apple TV to use. The Apple TV would be preloaded with apps that would offer access to pay TV content produced by BT, such as BT Sport, as well as those of other broadcasters.

There is already a relationship between Apple and EE, with the latter providing the Apple TV 4K for a monthly fee, but without a pay-TV element. Based on the report, the plan could alter this existing deal to add the preloaded channel apps.

BT already competes with existing pay TV companies Sky and Virgin Media, and provides its BT Broadband customers a set-top box that uses the home broadband connection, with customers able to access many free-to-air channels alongside paid channel packages. BT Sport, BT's main self-operated channel, is also available to view via mobile apps and on other platforms, including the Apple TV.

Neither BT nor Apple have commented on the report.

It is thought the deal is similar to the one made between Apple and Switzerland's Salt announced at WWDC 2018, with the telecoms and TV company offering the Apple TV as an alternative set-top box to customers. Similar deals have also been made with Canal+ in France, with Charter Spectrum also examining the concept of replacing traditional set-top boxes with the more compact Apple TV.

The proposal is likely to be part of BT's consumer chief Marc Allera's strategy to partner with other technology companies to improve its services. Allera is said to have doubted that BT could compete with firms like Apple and Amazon in developing the company's own set-top boxes, with a switch to producing the software experience on other platforms likely to be an easier prospect than to maintain hardware.

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End of Apple TV?

By Jim Scott

One of Apple’s least talked-about products but one of its most successful accessories, Apple TV has hosted TV programmes and games for over a decade. The box, which has a starting price of £149 and charges a cool £179 for its basic 4K variant, has been refined continuously over the past few years. But as Minecraft reveals its departure from the platform and BT suggests it could reinvent subscription TV as a set-top box. Is it the beginning of the end for Apple TV?

On Tuesday, October 9th it was revealed Microsoft was ending its support for popular game, Minecraft on all Apple TV boxes across the world. Microsoft’s Minecraft sold over 54,000 versions of its game on iPhone, iPad and iPod whilst its only managed to raise 600 downloads on Apple TV devices, according to Fast Company.

Instead, it has been tipped that Apple TV could be used by UK pay channels BT and EE. The software on its existing boxes allow Netflix to host its on-demand film service, whilst it is believed the boxes can support future software used in set-top boxes like subscription-TV companies, Sky and Virgin.

On Sunday, October 7th, the Telegraph reported Apple was in talks with BT, the UK’s biggest supplier of home broadband over an investment of more than £760 million into set-top box technology across the country’s homes.

It is also believed BT could offer their technology to BT-owned, EE’s broadband customers too, if a struck with Cupertino bosses. Gizmodo said BT chief executive, Marc Allura suggested a ‘total’ move away from the company producing its own technology for use in homes.

At the moment, android-based EE TV which is offered to both BT and EE customers, is currently manufactured in collaboration with Netgem. Meanwhile a similar set-top-box project has already happened in Switzerland. Subscription-based Salt TV has been using Apple TV as a set-top-box for the several months through its app, available to Salt TV customers in the county. It was also recently revealed the provider was to launch Ultra HD on Apple TV’s 4K boxes.

Cult of Mac projected the potential demise of Apple TV on its own last Christmas. It was reported that Apple TV sales had continued a "sad decline" over the holiday period in the US. It revealed that only 11.9 percent of TV users actually owned an Apple TV device whilst Google’s plug-in Chromecast increased by nearly 20 percent. Partially blamed on Apple’s not to surprising higher premium for its TV box, it "hadn’t become the game platform" Apple had hoped.

However, we might not be saying goodbye to Apple TV just yet. As last month Apple TV launched, Dolby Atmos on its 4K variant. Hidden Wires reported, that Dolby would give existing users on the TV platform an ‘immersive’ feel whilst allowing content to play in a higher quality than before. So perhaps, investment from large companies such as Dolby could signal there is still life in the decade-old Apple TV.

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Minecraft pulled from Apple TV store

Microsoft is ending support for Minecraft on Apple TV.

The app arrived on the device two years ago and cost £20 in the UK.

In an on-screen message to players the firm said it was "reallocating resources" to more popular platforms, and while the game would work on the device, it would refund purchases made within the last 90 days.

Players began being alerted on 24 September. Apple and Microsoft have been contacted for comment.

New copies of the game can no longer be purchased from the set-top box's app store.

Apple fan Nathan Burlton tweeted a picture of the message from Minecraft when his 10-year-old son tried to load the game on his Apple TV at the weekend.

"He doesn't play on it very often," he said.

"Occasionally when friends are around we would use it on the Apple TV with someone playing on the TV and a few others on iPads. It was useful in that regard."

The family prefer to play Minecraft on tablets, he added.

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