Rumor: next-gen Apple TV has gaming functionality, TV tuner, built-in AirPort router

By , Jan 28, 2014

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Piggy-backing on a report last week by iLounge which heard from sources that the next Apple TV set-top box will support wireless game controllers and possibly an app store for games, another reliable blogger has chimed in with additional tidbits.

Long story short, a much improved Apple TV hardware refresh is thought to include an 802.11ac wireless router functionality by way of AirPort Express integration. It should also come with a built-in TV tuner to control your existing cable boxes and TV stations and include gaming functionality.

Some hobby, eh?

Mark Gurman, writing for 9to5Mac, heard from “solid sources” that Apple TV prototypes with the aforementioned features are being tested. One of the prototypes reportedly has an integrated 802.11ac wireless router for three times faster Wi-Fi access.

Apple is thought to have considered combining the Apple TV and AirPort Express products into a single box due to the current-generation Apple TV’s issues with wireless streaming, Gurman explains.

It’s likely that video quality and stability would be improved versus older versions of the device, which have needed to connect to a separate wireless router, often in another room.

Putting everything in one box could make the overall experience simpler, while allowing the router to deliver peak video performance for the Apple TV and de-prioritizing other wireless traffic as necessary.

I own the latest AirPort and Apple TV and he’s right on having to connect to a separate router: whenever my Apple TV is connected to the same local network as the rest of my home office gear, it just wouldn’t stream videos smoothly if other devices were accessing the network simultaneously.

It’s not a matter of speed (I have 30MBps broadband) as the video would have issues streaming even if I’m only browsing the web on my iPad – it’s been driving me nuts.

As for the built-in TV tuner, the author speculates that a user “will be able to connect their existing set-up to this Apple TV and get an Apple-designed user-interface atop their content”.

I’m not so sure Apple would be content with letting folks control their existing cable boxes/TV stations, especially if Hollywood majors have the final say over it. On the other hand, the Xbox One integrates with your cable boxes so it could be a non-issue, as far as rights holders are concerned.

As for the much-rumored gaming functionality, it was about the time Apple brought apps to the Apple TV.

Unless I’m reading the reports wrong, an Apple TV App Store storefront app will run on the next Apple TV, much like the App Store on your iPhone and iPad.

And yes, the games should download straight to the box so prepare to say good-bye to the choppy AirPlay streaming!

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  • Gucciipad

    Damn there goes my 3rd gn Apple TV and my airport express. Guess I’ll have to buy the new one.

    • ✪ aidan harris ✪

      I hope Apple doesn’t screw early adopters of the Apple TV but I have to agree that on paper it does look that way :(

      How much would an Apple TV with an 802.11ac router cost though? I’d be willing to bet (if going by the price of the AirPort Extreme) a lot more than they currently charge. Also wouldn’t an Apple TV with an 802.11ac router cannibalise their 802.11ac AirPort Extreme sales?

    • Rak S

      Sell them both an buy the new one. If the new one costs $100, it should cover the cost (if not, most of it.)

  • Guest

    Would rather see an iTV see year instead

    • Mike Colacone Saal

      I don’t want a full fledge tv.. i want the updated box… The update cycle makes more sense for apple

  • daniel bonnells

    This would be really cool, but how often does Apple pack so many new features into one device? They prefer to make gradual changes from what I recall.

    • Rowan09

      It’s not gradual because the Apple TV is basically the same since inception.

  • iBanks

    Whelp… Looks like my $600 cable box (xbox one) will no longer be needed. Lol.

  • Tony

    Sounds bloated if true, the current atv should be able to support an App Store. Those rumors have been there for a while. Not really sure why I would benefit purchasing a next gen definitely a major price hike will occur if true as well.

    • Obsidian71

      Scratch the TV Tuner. That isn’t happening. Probably will get HDMI pass through and router functionality. Price shouldn’t jump too high. 802.11ac stuff is on its third generation.

  • Xee

    Apple TV needs to support XMBC out of the box or allow to be downloaded and install (without jailbreak). Only then will the Apple TV really take off.

    • Obsidian71

      What the hell is XMBC?

      • Straightshoota

        He means XBMC. GOOGLE IT.

      • Xee

        Yes I did thx.

      • Yasser Kaskas

        I always make that same mistake

    • Rowan09

      Won’t happen they have iTunes and that would be a competitor.

      • Xee

        Well then some way to access your own files on your network.

    • Alex Wilson

      It never will but need to improve the interface, heck the old FrontRow was better in some ways.

  • VitoM

    finally a Tv with TV-tuner.

  • n0ahcruz3

    We all saw this coming, apple slowy entering the console market. Huge opportunity here all-in-one home console. gaming content, movies etc. Ladies n gents i give u the iConsole. ;P

  • Jordan Biagomala

    Very cool!

  • James

    “30MBps”

  • Yasser Kaskas

    Doubt they could incorporate Airport Express at the same price-point. Hopefully that would solve the lagging issues when it comes to airplaying graphic heavy games