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New Apple TV Hacked to Run Native tvOS Web Browser

Dutch developer jvanakker has hacked the new Apple TV to run a native tvOS web browser using a private API based on Apple's UIWebView class, sharing the code on GitHub as a fork of developer Steven Troughton-Smith's tvOSBrowser project. The demo video below shows Apple's website running on the fourth-generation box.


The simplistic tvOS web browser allows you to scroll through pages with the Siri Remote, and pressing the center of the touch surface brings up a cursor for clicking. Pressing the Menu button returns you to the previous page, while the Play/Pause button allows you to input URLs, according to GitHub.

Apple does not allow Apple TV apps to have UIWebViews, so this web browser would not be approved on the tvOS App Store, but the project is a good proof of concept. Apple TV users interested in testing the web browser can follow iDownloadBlog's guide to sideload the app using Xcode and modify a tvOS file to build it successfully.

Earlier this week, it was discovered that tvOS also includes support for iOS-like folders.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tags: tvOS, GitHub
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)


Top Rated Comments

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14 months ago

I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.


Have you tried a browser on a TV? It's not a particularly enjoyable experience. Both the Wii and Wii U have a browser... but I rarely use it because most websites just don't work well on a TV with a controller/remote?

Even this browser looks like a miserable experience.
Rating: 14 Votes
14 months ago
I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.
Rating: 13 Votes
14 months ago
Having a browser would be useful for being able to connect the Apple TV to hotel wifi through their web portal, without having to call the IT desk, give them your MAC address, etc..
Rating: 8 Votes
14 months ago

Now if the thing just have a good keyboard (virtual or bluetooth) we'd be set!

Gary


i think that's called a "mac mini?"
Rating: 8 Votes
14 months ago

I don't understand why Apple is against having a browser. This would make it so perfect.


It would be useful to have for a very few people in a very few situations. But the vast majority of people would never have a need for an awkward, keyboardless, giant browser (that takes the TV away from other uses) instead of the better browsers all around them that they're already used to. And for the vast majority of people who (think they) would use it, it would turn out to be terrible and they'd end up not using it anyway. And they'd blame Apple for remote-control web browsing being poor, and the media would run with it.

Plus, it would let developers deliver additional awful experiences to users: apps could launch out to the web browser for certain things; or even just not MAKE an app and decide AppleTV users can just go to the site.

I think Apple made the right call. Tech nerds like me want a bullet list of "everything a person can think of," but some things are just poor, and not worth the complexity of including. Every feature has a cost—skip this one.

It's also possible Apple has a browser coming... but I really hope not!
Rating: 8 Votes
14 months ago

WebTV failed. Why would Apple want to copy a failed product?


WebTV was a product. We are talking about an app here. An app released by 3rd party developers won't "fail" the product.

Why? Who wants a browser on a TV?


Many do. Just because you don't want it does not mean others do not.

"Apple TV" the clue is in the title. If the functionality afforded by a product is expanded too far, the purpose for said device becomes confused and cluttered (see Android TV boxes a a prime example).


Well, then, what is App Store for? They should have just stuck with bunch of channels then.
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago
Now if the thing just have a good keyboard (virtual or bluetooth) we'd be set!

Gary
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago

Why? Who wants a browser on a TV?

Let me, as a customer, determine if I want a browser.
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago
So Apple is purposively preventing AppleTV from acting as a browser? If so, then good to know. #dealbreaker
Rating: 5 Votes
14 months ago

It would be useful to have for a very few people in a very few situations. But the vast majority of people would never have a need for an awkward, keyboardless, giant browser (that takes the TV away from other uses) instead of the better browsers all around them that they're already used to. ...


Well, let's see: Let us start with the visually impaired who might appreciate the big screen. And why wouldn't it be possible to use Siri to direct actions in the browser? Most of the arguments against browsing in tvOS are about performance. Apple supposedly have great engineers, so why haven't they engineered in the performance?

This is not about the consumer experience. It is about profit making. Apple used to stand for enabling people to do things. Now they seem to be focused on telling users what they cannot do....
Rating: 4 Votes

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