Apple has released the latest iOS update for the Apple TV box. The update includes a function to stream audio wirelessly to a receiver or AirPlay-enabled external speakers. The update also includes Shared Photo streams and multiple iTunes accounts.
Update: Only music is supported through the new AirPlay speaker funciton. No audio from movies or TV shows yet.
Apple TV update
Apple has updated the Apple TV box with new features a week after the other iOS devices received a major update. The Apple TV update includes a range of small additions and one significant new AirPlay feature that might give us a hint of what to expect from Apple’s future TV plans. FlatpanelsHD was the first to reveal the new AirPlay feature in July.
Apple TV can now streams wirelessly stream audio to external speakers
The AirPlay feature lets users stream music wirelessly to a stereo system or directly to speakers with built-in AirPlay. This basically means that you can avoid using audio cables. It does not work with movies or TV shows yet but will probably be added in the iOS6 version later.
The AirPlay feature requires either AirPlay-enabled speakers or an AirPort Express router connected to an amplifier. Inside the Apple TV menu you can select which speakers to stream audio to. This obviously only works with content from the Apple TV box.
You can select your AirPlay-enabled speakers from the AirPlay menu
Other updates include:
iTunes account switching – Save multiple iTunes accounts and switch quickly between them.
Trailers – Search movie trailers. In the United States, see show times for local theaters. Screen savers – New Cascade, Shrinking Tiles, and Sliding Panels screen savers.
Main menu – Reorder icons on the second page by holding down the select button on the remote.
Subtitles – SDH support for the deaf and hard-of-hearing as well as improvements to viewing and selecting subtitles.
Network configuration – Support for setting up advanced network options using configuration profiles. See http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5437 for more information.
Stability and performance – Includes general performance and stability improvements.
Curiously, the update is called iOS 5.1, despite the fact that the beta was called iOS 6 that also recently rolled out to iPhone, iPod & iPad. The Apple TV box is now one major iOS version behind which has not been the case for some time. The full AirPlay-out feature will probably be featured in the later iOS6 update. You can update be navigating to the menu -> update section.