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Apple TV 3.0 software update to support iTunes LP, Extras

Apple has updated the iTunes Store Terms and Conditions to reference a forthcoming 3.0 software update for the Apple TV, which will allow viewing of iTunes LP and iTunes Extras content.

The new paragraph under the "iTUNES LP AND iTUNES EXTRAS" section references an update to Apple's set-top box hobby: "iTunes LP and iTunes Extras Products are usable only on computers with iTunes 9 or higher and Apple TV with software version 3.0 or higher."

The new iTunes LP format, which debuted in September, is designed to encourage sales of full-length albums. The new format comes with additional content such as photos, videos and other bonus material. The iTunes LP format was joined by iTunes Extras, which delivers bonus materials for movies, much like are traditionally found on DVDs.

The TuneKit JavaScript framework on which both are based uses open Web standards like HTML and CSS. AppleInsider originally reported in September that the new format appeared to have Apple TV written all over it.

TuneKit content is designed for a 1280 by 720 pixel resolution, which is too large to play on the 13-inch MacBook Pro without entering full-screen mode. But it does exactly fit the HDTV output resolution of Apple TV, and could even scale down to a 480p display.

In addition, the TuneKit format includes references in its HTML meta tags to "hdtv-fullscreen" and "hdtv-cursor-off."

The last major update to the Apple TV was when the "Take Two" 2.0 firmware was released at Macworld Expo in January 2008. The next major update is expected to incorporate features of Snow Leopard, including QuickTime X and its HTTP Live Streaming protocol.

iTunes LP Apple TV 2

This summer, analyst Gene Munster with Piper Jaffray reiterated his belief that a new Apple TV with iTunes TV show subscriptions and potential DVR capabilities would eventually arrive from the hardware maker. He said the timing of a new hardware debut would likely be impacted by the negotiations Apple would need to conduct in order to have the rights to offer a subscription model. Munster said he believes a new Apple TV or updated Apple TV software will arrive within the next year.