Apple TV 2.3 Finally Includes Video Playlists, 3rd Party Remotes

Here’s a quick note to update my ongoing struggle to ensure that my Apple TV doesn’t fall out of usefulness before its time. As you may remember I posted several months ago a wishlist for Apple’s next Apple TV update. It included some of the obvious things like responsiveness, performance, and video playlists. Unfortunately, none of these luxuries were included in the last update.

Apple TV 2.3, however, does actually seem to address many of the issues I pointed out in my last Apple TV post. The remote actually elicits an almost immediate visual response from the unit. There aren’t quite so many moments where I’m asking myself, “did that button press register?” It still happens, but I would say it’s quite less frequent now.

Two great features have been added with this update: 3rd party remote control support and video playlists.

Video playlists: Now you can play uninterrupted video through all of your day’s video podcast subscriptions. You can also set a video playlist to last through your New Year’s Eve party. Just create a playlist of videos on either a shared library or on your Apple TV’s main linked and synced computer.

This feature is great because now you can play each of your 2 or 3 minute podcasts from your favorite sources back to back as you turn to jello on the couch after a long day of hard brain stuff. You can create channels based on content and sit, motionless until every last one of those suckers has played.

3rd Party Remotes: Let your inner couch potato rejoice. Finally you can assign 6 of those extra buttons on ANY remote control littering your coffee table to the 6 functions of that little white remote that came with your Apple TV. Just enter Settings, Remotes, and start pushing buttons. It doesn’t matter which button you push on whatever infrared remote you have, as long as it doesn’t interfere with the main function of the device the 3rd party remote came with, you can repurpose the button for your Apple TV.

One sad note, Boxee was wiped out. I no longer have access to Hulu, Comedy Central, MySpace TV, and Torrents. And from what I’ve read, it’s not re-installable at the moment. However, I’d venture that most Apple TV users will enjoy the new features enough to make the update worth it anyway. While the Boxee crew will likely be hard at work creating a new installer and have you back on the Internet TV IV before the DTs have a chance to give you dead ceiling baby nightmares.

Also, I’ve got a few Boxee invites, so let me know if you’re interested in the comments.