As with many folks out there binging anything worthwhile on TV and streaming services, I finally got around to watching Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. When I first saw the promos and trailers for the series, I was as skeptical as many other folks out there. The history of television shows that have mutated from advertising campaigns (NBC originally used the Ted Lasso character to promote their coverage of the English Premier League football) is not a pleasant story – see: ABC’s Cavemen via Geico. Yet somehow, Apple TV+ and the show runners have figured out something that works – what a fun, enjoyable, and entertaining series.
So, in honor of the show and its fictitious EPL club AFC Richmond, and the fact that I have a disturbing habit/hobby of making desktop wallpapers of actual EPL clubs, I share with you AFC Richmond Home and Away desktop wallpapers to be downloaded and used to your heart’s content. Like all the others I create, the wallpaper dimensions are 2560 x 1440 pixels and you can drag/drop or download them right to your desktop. You will also be able to find these in the “Television” tab of the Movies, TV & Misc. collection of Wallpapers on my site.
For the AFC Richmond Home kit, I created two versions – one with the red/yellow stripe offset right to mimic the actual kit layout in the show, while the logo is in the center of the wallpaper. The other version has the red/yellow stripe centered with the logo, to mimic how the logo overlays the stripe on the show’s kit. Different folks will have different preferences, so I thought I’d just do it both ways.
So this was a big week for the Apple ecosystem with their new macOS Catalina being released to the masses. Along with the desktop update, it appears that the Apple TV and its tvOS was also updated. With the macOS Desktop update came the long awaited death of iTunes in favor of three separate apps to manage all of your digital media – Music, TV and Podcasts – while moving the “iDevice” sync and device management to the Finder sidebar. All great moves and long overdue.
I would like to hone in on one irritating item that I have observed with the new changes to the TV app – the desktop app where you manage all your digital movies, TV shows and other video related assets – and Apple TV device and interface.
With the new TV desktop app, Apple has made a change to the media ‘poster art’/image art (for this post, I’m going to describe them in the context of “Movies”) used to show what movie you have in your collection. Like many other folks that are out there, I have a decent amount of movies that I have “ripped” or converted to digital from my DVD collection. As such, they are actual movie files on my computer. In the old iTunes Movies interface, these images were vertically oriented and, generally speaking, displayed the traditional movie poster image as you can see below.
In new macOS Catalina TV desktop app, the orientation of these images have been changed to a 16:9 horizontal orientation as you can see below. So now, the vertically oriented images from the previous iteration of iTunes are still there representing each movie, but they look woefully out of place and Apple is using this blurring feature that is drawing from the colors in the actual image. Nice touch…it kinda works, but lets be honest. It looks pretty shitty. In the example below, I went ahead and changed the “Before Sunrise” image to the 16:9 ratio just to illustrate how it should look with the new image layout (Please…no judgements on the movies).
So, you would think that this new 16:9 treatment in the macOS TV app would then carry over to the actual Apple TV “Home sharing” interface where you can access and watch the movies on your computer via Apple TV. So let’s take a look at the exact same “Romance” category, but this time on my TV using my Apple TV. In the Apple TV interface, the movie images are still using the old vertically oriented ‘movie poster’ art, while the one movie I changed the image on – Before Sunrise – now has the complete opposite – actually worse – effect in Apple TV compared to the macOS TV app – it shoves the horizontally oriented image used in the macOS TV app into the vertically oriented slot on the Apple TV interface.
So then I thought, maybe it has to do with the fact that the remaining movies in that category had not been switched out to the 16:9 orientation and that was ‘forcing’ the movies WITH the 16:9 image to be in the vertical image slot. So I went into the “Documentaries” section and switched out the vertical images for the 16:9 horizontals to test this theory out. And lo and behold, that made no difference.
So, after all of that, my ask to the teams over at Apple TV, macOS TV App and anyone else would be to fix this so that each interface is designed for the same sized and oriented image, or that there is some interface or selection button that gives me the option to choose which interface uses which type of image. Yeah, stuff like this irritates me.
Starting with some 2018 and 2019 models, Samsung will integrate the Apple TV and iTunes capabilities directly into the TV interface, similar to how they currently do the same with Netflix, Amazon Video, HBOGO, Hulu and others. From the Verge:
The iTunes Movies and TV Shows app, which will be available in 100 countries on both Samsung’s 2019 TVs as well as its 2018 models (after a firmware update), marks the first time Apple has allowed third-party devices to access its video library outside of Windows PCs. It could also be a prelude to a video streaming service that Apple is currently rumored to be working on which is tellingly also reported to be coming to 100 countries.
Jon Porter, The Verge
I got a new Samsung Smart TV for my birthday last year and it’s integration with Netflix, Amazon, etc. is fantastic. Strangely, I am now rarely if ever using my Apple TV device other than to watch movies in my digital video library.
What I’m liking is the on demand element of the service. Whatever I want to watch is only a few clicks away. Its seamlessly integrated with Netflix, YouTube and many of the top video podcasts out there. I can easily buy/rent movies from iTunes, although Netflix somewhat solves for that. And it enables me to connect to online services like Flickr and other “cloud” services. One big downfall has been the lack of support for “have to watch live” events like sports…but that was recently solved with MLB.TV and NBA League Pass announcing deals with Apple where you can stream any and all league games via Apple TV. For someone like me who’s a Red Sox/Celtics fan living in pseudo – enemy territory (New Jersey…but I do like the Knicks. Long story.), this is a huge win.
But what really pushes it further for me is the seamless integration with the iOS “ecosystem”. Drop a movie in iTunes, and you can easily stream it to your TV via ATV. Want to listen to your music in your TV room via your surround sound speakers, just navigate to your music library and hit play.
I’m not going to get all “tech pundit” on you and say you “have to get it”. Go get a Roku box if you prefer. But go try it. Its only around $100 for either ATV or Roku. You won’t be disappointed.