Published on December 10th, 2017 | by David Temple0
3 great free Christmas fireplace apps for Apple TV
Normally, I like to play with real fire, but today it’s all about Apple TV apps. I tried out several of the free apps and found three nice entries. So, just in time for Christmas and the winter season, here are three great free (at least to start) Apple TV exclusive fireplace/Yule log apps you can turn on for background ambiance…or watch intently because some folks just get like that with fire.
Most Relaxing Fireplace
Developer: Top App d.o.o.
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
This is the type of fireplace you’d want in your living room. The visuals are pretty good; it has the right color balance in the yellows and oranges and looks rather like a campfire with some chunks of branches piled up. However, the overall effect does fall down a bit with an obvious loop that occurs roughly every 20 seconds.
The audio is good, with moderate pop/crackle and the breezy flutter of air being moved about. If you can ignore the image skip at the loop point, this one is a good option for a basic fire app. You can unlock the additional fires in the image above for $0.99.
Developer: Atikur Rahman
Price: Free (with in-app purchases)
With this app, you get the first fire free and can unlock fireplaces two, three, four, and five for $0.99 each, or you can unlock all of them for $1.99. If you have a hard time deciding on purchasing extras take heart – you can preview all of the fireplaces, just not full screen.
With that in mind, here are some details for each fireplace:
- Fireplace I (included for free) – This looks like a nice, small campfire with just a few bits of branch and a nice coal bed. At a guess, it looks like a few bits of three-inch diameter branches about a foot long in a two foot wide, pyramid-stacked pyre. Not a bad set-up. There is just enough pop/crackle and fire breeze sounds to keep it engaging and relaxing. The color balance is good and the loop skip is very well blended and hardly noticeable.
- Fireplace II – This is another campfire-type arrangement, but with larger billets of wood and a larger footprint. It looks a lot like the fires I enjoy in the fire pit in my backyard. The graphics are good and the pop/crackle is sparse but appropriate. The only negative in the audio is that there might be a little too much wind—not the fire moving air, but normal outdoor wind. You really notice it when you shift to another fireplace.
- Fireplace III – This is more of a living room fireplace affair with only a couple of small chunks of log and a lot of red. The audio is OK but the image is a bit dull.
- Fireplace IV – This one is a bit too much of a close-up shot. The color balance is good; the fire looks small but fills the screen due to the proximity of the camera. The pop/crackle is not bad, but the fire wind sound is a bit too pronounced.
- Fireplace V – This one is a nice, quiet fireplace with a couple of large chunks of wood. The color palate leans more towards yellow with good orange and red accents. There is only a little pop/crackle, but it is enough to keep your ears busy and is quite relaxing. The loop skip is noticeable, but only if you are waiting/looking for it.
All things considered, Fireplaces I and V are the winners here with II coming in right behind them.
Developer: Johnston Eek
This is a free app with three fireplaces you can use without having to unlock or purchase extras.
Here’s the breakdown:
- The first fireplace is a small, open firebox design with a grate at the bottom to hold the wood. There are a couple of larger billets and a couple of smaller pieces for visual interest. The firelight is a good balance of yellow, orange, and red tones. The fire isn’t exactly roaring, but it is lively.
- The second fireplace is another in-home, open firebox which looks like a gas log fire rather than combusting wood. This one sports a nice arrangement of billet and branch with a good mix of yellows, oranges, and reds with some blue at the base of the flames. It’s OK, but I like the look of burning wood more than a gas log. On the upside, the additional blue tones keep the fire looking bright.
- The third fireplace is more of a fire bar. It seems to be going for a look that says, “The bottom of my TV screen is on fire.” No logs, no firebox; just some flames and a gentle sound of moving air. This one is a nice, minimalist fire.
The last bit of fun with Fireplace HD is the sound. You can use your AppleTV remote to control the amount of pop/crackle for all of the fires. Just swipe “up” or “down” and you can scroll through three levels of sound to get the audio effect you like.
These are the best looking and sounding options I found in the free apps section and they are pretty good. The audio and visual aspects of these three provide the best balance of colors, the best continuity of the image when the video loops, and the most realistic and relaxing sounds. You don’t get the nice hand-warming effect a real fire provides, but then you don’t have to clean up after it either; so, fair trade.