Guitar Tab Tutor App for tvOS Brings Essential Guitar Lessons to the Apple TV

Guitar Tab Tutor App for tvOS Brings Essential Guitar Lessons to the Apple TV

Professional guitar transcriber Jeff Perrin this week announced the release of Guitar Tab Tutor for tvOS, a free music and education app designed to teach beginning players how to read and play tablature notation for guitar.

Guitar Tab Tutor is designed to be the ultimate reference guide for any and all techniques you might encounter when learning to play songs on guitar. Accompanying video lessons, available via a single in-app purchase, provide an even greater in-depth look into each technique through visual demonstration and expert performance tips.

Guitar Tab Tutor Features:

  • Comprehensive reference sheet illustrating every TAB technique imaginable for guitar.

  • Accompanying text description on how to perform each technique.

  • A single in-app-purchase unlocks 39 video lessons, each providing an up-close demonstration of all guitar techniques.

  • Taught by Jeff Perrin, an experienced guitar instructor and master transcriber (Guitar World magazine, Hal Leonard Publishing, Warner Bros. Publishing and more). 

  • Updated for Universal Purchase: Download on iOS and the tvOS version will automatically appear on your Apple TV!

Guitar Tab Tutor is available as a free download from the App Store.

More info available at:

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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

Future of Apple TV Part 2: Internet Killed the TV Bundle

Future of Apple TV Part 2: Internet Killed the TV Bundle

In "Future of Apple TV Part 1: Rebirth of the Gaming Console", I argued the case that in order for Apple TV to achieve widespread success, Apple needs to move beyond a “mobile mindset” and take on the console game industry. In Part 2 of this series, we move beyond gaming to take a look at video entertainment, and how Apple can maintain it’s dominance as a media distributor in an era where YouTube rules and video streaming hardware and services abound.

Chasing the puck?

In the age of YouTube stars and "cord-cutting," it’s baffling to hear ongoing reports of how Apple continues to pursue content deals in hopes of procuring a subscription-based TV service. Other than the possibility of slightly cheaper pricing (though remember consumers still have to factor in internet access fees on top of any net-based subscription service), I struggle to imagine how such a model might supplant the antiquated cable-subscription service many folks are trying to escape. More importantly, where does this leave the up-and-coming generation of potential Apple consumers? If the content consumption of today’s teens is any indication, the network dramas, sit-coms, and reality TV shows which currently populate the majority of TV channel packages are fast becoming an obsolete form of entertainment. The current reality is, aside from the occasional movie and hit TV show, today’s teens and young adults largely thrive on YouTube stars and Instagram videos delivering niche content, tailored specifically (often daily!) to their individual topics of interest. Mix in real-time social networking, and you start to realize a major paradigm shift in the realm of media consumption is already well underway.

Apple Music to the Rescue

Apple recently announced the upcoming release of two original shows, Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, both of which are reportedly destined for Apple’s monthly subscription Apple Music service. While I’m not a fan of TV reality shows myself, I am encouraged to hear Apple is exploring producing original content built specifically for Apple Music, as opposed to say, attempting to build their own brand of a Netflix-style aggregation service. $10 a month for all-you-can-eat music and video should tempt even the most frugal Apple customer! My personal wish list would be for Apple to deliver down-to-earth, artist-related content. I’m thinking more along the lines of the old VH1 Behind the Music-style series, MTV Cribs, or documentaries following artists in the recording studio or living life out on the road. (I really am looking forward to checking out Carpool Karaoke, though!) An abundance of Apple-exclusive, quality programming would go a long ways to getting folks to consider Apple TV as a viewing option when crashing on the couch after work!

Apple TV 5: Hardware tweaks, 4K support?

Hardware changes to an Apple TV 5 should largely cater towards the aforementioned gaming system capabilities. For Apple to mount a serious challenge to console gaming, an Apple TV 5 "Gaming Edition" would need the fastest CPU and graphic chips Apple can delivery (in addition to a larger storage capacity). This would no doubt result in a more expensive unit, so Apple would be wise to maintain a cheaper, basic Apple TV model for those customers not interested in serious gaming. And in regards to a higher 4K screen resolution, there is little evidence out there to indicate the general public cares that much about 4K. In my opinion, it’s just another gimmick pushed out by TV manufacturers as a means to maintain profit margins (see: 3D TV, curved screens, etc.). So although Apple will likely include 4K support for compatibility with newer TV models, I don’t believe that 4K as a feature will actually make a significant impact on improving Apple TV sales or the overall tvOS experience.

Final thoughts: Apple TV in 2017 and beyond

Without a public release of sales figures, it’s hard to gauge specifically what kind of success Apple may or may not be truly achieving with the Apple TV. A recent report, however, indicates Apple TV sales could indeed be slipping as cheaper streaming solutions steadily encroach upon Apple’s turf in the living room. To recapture attention and marketshare (as well as maintain customer interest in the Apple ecosystem as a whole), Apple needs to make some hard decisions on how to approach the Apple TV in the coming months. Should Apple retreat in feature set in order to compete in pricing? Obviously the gist of this article implies that Apple needs to literally step up it’s game by offering an Apple TV with performance and game titles on par with traditional PC and console-style systems. Go big or go home, right? By going "big" on it's commitment to Apple TV, I truly believe Apple would not only revolutionize the multi-billion dollar PC and console gaming industry, but would even bring a similar level of success and excitement enjoyed by iPhone and iOS to Apple TV and it’s tvOS platform. —Jeff Perrin

Jeff Perrin is author of Surround Speaker Check, a popular utility app for tvOS and the Apple TV. You can read about Jeff’s other adventures with Apple TV apps at

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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

Future of Apple TV Part 1: Rebirth of the Gaming Console

Future of Apple TV Part 1: Rebirth of the Gaming Console

Apple’s recent hire of former head of Amazon Fire TV unit Timothy Twerdahl have many folks in the media speculating that Apple TV is being primed for a refresh. The common assumption is that Twerdahl’s hire is a move to free up Apple TV exec Pete Distad to help ramp up content deals in an effort to shore-up Apple’s foothold in the consumer living room. But are “content deals” alone the solution? And how about those rumors about Apple adding support for 4K video? In this two-part series, I take an honest, hard look at what changes would be needed to propel Apple TV to widespread success on a scale enjoyed by the iPhone.

iPhone ≠ TV

Make no mistake, Apple TV is a truly innovative product with great potential. The Siri remote, along with the tvOS operating system and it’s ingenious user interface are quintessential examples of the Apple innovation which brought us past hits like the iMac, iPhone, and iPad. Nevertheless, there’s been a steady uptick in reports as to how success in the living room continues to evade Apple. The reason for slow growth in this area likely rests in Apple’s continued use of the iPhone platform as the be-all and end-all model for a living room TV experience. Unfortunately for this approach, in real world application, the why and how people interact with their iPhones and their TV sets are two wholly different use cases. As a result, many apps find little practical use among TV users, and one particularly concerning complaint I see popping up in various online forums accuses the Apple TV of offering little more over cheaper competing hardware solutions.

Apple TV Apps - It’s all about the games!

Almost two years ago, well before the release of the Apple TV 4, I predicted on my personal blog how large scale adoption of the Apple TV would largely be dependent on Apple capitalizing on it’s dominance of mobile gaming and taking on the console gaming market. A long time gamer myself (Atari 2600 though PS4), I knew that, aside from watching movies and TV shows, the next most popular usage for the big screen was playing video games! I even boasted to my younger brother, an avid gamer on the Playstation platform, that Apple TV would soon spell the end of the console system and it's frustratingly slow process for purchasing, installing, and updating disc-based video games. (I had long nick-named my PS3 the “Sony WaitStation”). Initially holding off on a 4th-gen gaming system myself, I anxiously awaited Apple to dispatch it's user-friendly iOS App Store model to the Apple TV platform and brilliantly up-end the console gaming industry, just as it had previously done to great success with music distribution (via iTunes) and mobile gaming (via iPhone). On the official release date of the Apple TV 4, however, I was completely floored at how little effort was placed on gaming, for what was supposed to be Apple’s revolutionary TV entertainment system. Where’s the Apple gaming controller? Where are the A-list titles and game developers?? I couldn’t believe it. Apple had passed up a perfect window of opportunity to swoop in on a console industry in mid-transition between generational hardware, instead choosing to coast through on the assumption that past success with the iPhone would carry over to the TV experience.

Why Apple TV 5 absolutely needs to take on console gaming

To Apple’s credit, casual game downloads is by far the largest, most successful aspect of the iOS App Store. However, casual gaming typically means mobile gaming. And mobile games don’t necessarily benefit from a big screen remotely situated across the room. It’s a telling tale how, despite the enormous surge of success in mobile gaming, gamers are not only keeping PC game houses and console manufacturers in business for the foreseeable future, but sales for console and PC games are projected to continue to rise through 2017 and beyond. As such, for Apple to justify premium hardware in the living room, they need a serious gaming platform capable of keeping up with, if not surpassing traditional console systems. (And it goes without saying there would need to be a hit software franchise or two on board at launch!) This "Gaming Edition" Apple TV would not only serve to set Apple TV firmly apart in function from competing streaming hardware and smart TV solutions, but more importantly, help attract a larger, younger audience to the Apple TV platform and iOS ecosystem. And this last aspect is especially crucial to Apple's continued success in the future! As the father of a teenage daughter, I can attest to the fact that the paths travelled by Apple and it’s next generation of consumers are currently headed in an oblique trajectory. Which leads me to part 2 of this article… In pursuing network content deals, is Apple "chasing the puck"? To be continued in Future of Apple TV Part 2: Internet Killed the TV Bundle.

Jeff Perrin is author of Surround Speaker Check, a popular utility app for tvOS and the Apple TV. You can read about Jeff’s other adventures with Apple TV apps at

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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

Cable-free Streaming Apps for the Apple TV (tvOS)

Cable-free Streaming Apps for the Apple TV (tvOS)

In this article, we examine the pros and cons of four network TV apps which allow you to stream content for free on the Apple TV.

As major TV networks begin experimenting with various paid subscription models for their tvOS apps, ABC, FOX and select few other networks, have taken the bold approach of offering the ability for users to stream their shows for free, albeit with the chance for commercial interruption. However, as each network takes a slightly different approach to content access, some apps will be more (or less) enjoyable to use than others. Here’s a rundown on what to expect as you use and interact with four of the most popular “free” network TV apps.


ABC has a LOT of great content, ranging from episodic comedy and drama series, to news and reality TV shows. Our attraction to this particular app was due to a desire to catch up on the latest episodes of Marvel's Agents of Shield. I should note that ABC did a fantastic job on it's tvOS app design, making it really stand out from all the other network TV apps!

Pros: Great app design with a vast library of content available to watch for free.

Cons: Despite it’s innovative design and expansive content, the ABC app is easily one of the more painful streaming apps we've come across. First off, commercial breaks are loooong. While other networks' commercial breaks average approximately 2 minutes (more or less), the ABC commercial can run up to 4 minutes for a single break! (If you're coming off Netflix or iTunes, this can seem like an eternity!) Moreover, the app has been highly unreliable, hanging and refusing to stream at all on several different occasions.


I downloaded the FOXNOW app for tvOS so my wife and I could catch up on the latest episodes of Gotham, which we initially started watching on Netflix. Other FOX series offered include hits such as New Girl, The Simpsons, and Lethal Weapon.

Pros: Streaming is available for all current FOX shows. Very reliable connection.

Cons: Time restrictions! FOX only allows you access to the latest 5 episodes of all new series, and you have to wait 8 days after a live broadcast to view the latest 5 episodes of returning series (shows on season 2 or later). These time limitations are a little confusing, and seem somewhat unnecessary given the paid commercial placements you still have to endure. If you watch TV more than twice a week, however, you probably won't have any trouble keeping up with episodes before they expire.

Note: Limited live TV content is also available with cable subscription sign-on.

The CW

The CW channel is best know for popular live-action series such as The 100, Arrow and The Flash. The app allows viewing content at any time and apparently without an expiration date.

Pros: Access to it's best content without any time restrictions make this, in my opinion, one of the best free streaming app models out there.

Cons: Very limited content compared to other networks.


PBS offers a wide variety of entertainment for streaming, including documentaries, how-to shows, and venerable classics such as, Antique Roadshow, Nova and Austin City Limits.

The PBS streaming app employs an activation process which requires you to log onto the PBS website with a code prompt which appears on your Apple TV at initial launch. Once on the PBS website activation page, you're required to log-in via either a PBS account (which you can create for free) or via a Facebook or Google account profile. This set-up is, of course, so PBS can get you on their mailing list in order to solicit you for donations in the future. In use, I haven't found their notifications overly intrusive (weekly, on average?), and I believe you can unsubscribe from the mailing list without rescinding your ability to use the PBS app.

Pros: Tons of content available for streaming without commercial interruption.

Cons: The app's unusual and awkward activation process is likely to discourage many users from using the service. Also, appears to be missing a few popular shows such as Sherlock and Downton Abbey.

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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!

tvOS 10.1 Update Brings Changes to Apple TV Remote Functionality

tvOS 10.1 Update Brings Changes to Apple TV Remote Functionality

Apple's recent tvOS 10.1 update changes up Apple TV Remote button functionality. (And now that TV icon on the Apple Remote makes much more sense!)

One of the major features of Apple’s recent 10.1 update for tvOS involves the addition of a new media app to the Apple TV home screen, simply titled “TV”. The new TV app is designed to provide a modern channel-surfing experience where your favorite shows and movies appears via an aggregation of content from other “connected” tvOS media apps on your Apple TV.

With the new TV app, you have one place to access shows and movies from multiple video apps — in one unified experience.

Iconic TV!

Along with the 10.1 update, Apple also changes how the primary buttons on the Apple Remote behave when you interact with the Apple TV. Previously, pressing the “Menu” button acted solely as a “back” button, while pressing the button with the TV icon would whisk you back to the Home screen from wherever you were - sort of like the escape key on a computer keyboard. With tvOS 10.1, the “TV” button now brings you to the TV app landing page. How appropriate! (And how revealing! Clearly, Apple planned to originally ship the TV app from the get-go in 2015, but held it back for one reason or another.) Note, however, that otherwise the TV button, along with the Menu button still retain their previous functions for interacting with tvOS. For your reference, here's a rundown of the updated action list for the Menu and TV buttons, as of tvOS 10.1:

  • Single-press Menu button: navigates to previous screen
  • Single-press TV button: Navigate to TV app landing page
  • Long-press Menu button: return to Home screen
  • Long-press TV button: Apple TV "sleep" screen
  • Double-tap Menu button: Activate screensaver (when on Home screen)
  • Double-tap TV button: View recently-used apps (swipe up to force-quit a misbehaving app)

To learn more about the new TV app, check out Apple's official support page here:

To learn more about how to use other Siri Remote buttons and features, check out Apple's official support page for the remote here (note: new tvOS 10.1 functions have not been added yet):

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Sponsored by Surround Speaker Check app for tvOS and the new Apple TV. Is your Apple TV ready for surround sound? Search for "Surround Speaker Check" today in the new Apple TV App Store!