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Rouvy Rolls Out Apple TV & Mac Support, Free During Public Beta

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Rouvy has now joined the club of apps offering Apple TV support for their indoor training suite, alongside Zwift, FulGaz, and to a degree – Road Grand Tours. While Apple TV support may not be critical for less graphically intense apps like TrainerRoad that can easily run on your phone, it’s ideal for more graphically demanding apps like Rouvy or Zwift, because they can leverage the hardware to easily bring a higher quality experience to folks at a lower price point than an expensive PC or Mac computer.

Up till now, if you wanted a big screen experience for Rouvy, you basically had to invest in fairly capable computing hardware, plus a way to get it on a  TV. Sure, you could have used an iPad, but you’d still need to find a way to get it on a big screen TV. Now, you can pickup a simple Apple TV and immediately be in business.

And, if you’ve got a Mac handy, you can also run it on that now too! For today’s post I’m just focusing on the Apple TV bits, since that’s frankly what’s most interesting to me.

Oh and technically this is a public beta period. That’s good news though – because it means you can try it all for free, versus the usual subscription cost.

The Quick Overview:

For those not familiar, Rouvy (in another lifetime called Virtual Training) has primarily focused in recent years on their outdoor courses where you ride on a video recorded outside in some amazing location (or, also, some non-amazing locations). However, in the last year their work has been heavily tuned towards what they call Rouvy AR (for Augmented Roads), which is roughly akin to what the rest of the world abbreviates AR for: Augmented Reality. The idea there is taking those same outdoor videos, but overlying a 3D avatar of yourself along with other competitors.

So think Zwift meets real-world rides. Roughly. Kinda. Sorta. Sans-elevator music.

I dove into that all last year when they first announced it, so hit up that post for more details.

In any case, if you’ve got an Apple TV that supports apps (so anything you bought in the last couple years) then you can go ahead and search in the app store for Rouvy. Once you type the ‘v’ in Rouvy, it’ll be the only one left:

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However, somewhat entertainingly, if you continue typing the full word ‘Rouvy’ out, then Road Grand Tours has cleverly put that somewhere in their app parameters, so they then show up too:

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In any case, the app is free to download and supports streaming of up to 1440p – if you’ve got an Apple TV 4K unit as well as a 4K TV (note that 1440p is less than 4K however). If you live in Japan and have an 8K TV, I’m happy to provide you my shipping address to fully test out this scenario over a long period of time.

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The app is free to download and only takes a few seconds (or at least, it does on my fast WiFi). Once downloaded go ahead and open it up and login with your Rouvy account. If you don’t have an account you can create a free account for the beta period on their site.

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Once you’re all signed in you’ll find yourself at the main dashboard. It’s here that you can select a course to ride, tweak your opponents, and connect to your smart trainer/sensors.

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To pair up sensors hit the ‘Connect Trainer’ button, which will bring you to the below for sensor pairing. Remember that Apple TV has a two-sensor limitation, so you’ll want to use the cadence signal from your smart trainer so that those are considered a single ‘sensor’ (cadence/power/trainer control), and thus leaving a secondary sensor for your heart rate.

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With all that done, go ahead back to the dashboard and pick the course of your choice. They’ve got them all categorized at the top, and you can search as well as filter from the menu system.

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In my case I selected one called ‘Lava Beds’.

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Don’t forget that if you want to add more competitors, you can do that via the ‘Edit’ button near the virtual partners section. This allows you to pick various past performances.

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Also, there are a few different settings options. For example you can tweak your avatar a bit. This section definitely isn’t as polished as Zwift, but you get the basics.

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And then there’s also the ability to change a handful of settings, depending on how your TV is connected. Also, I took the below screenshot before they added three additional settings for: Enable Warm-up, Enable Cool-down, and Enable/Disable Sounds.

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Oh and before we get too much further, note that there are some beta limitations that you’ll quickly discover. For example, they don’t have non-FTMS trainer support, which means Tacx NEO series trainers need not apply (those aren’t FTMS yet, though Tacx is working on that). There’s also the usual limitation on Apple TV of no ANT+, but I suspect with virtually all trainers and sensors being dual ANT+/BLE , that’s probably not an issue. And not all languages are supported yet. The full list is here.

With all that set, we’ll set out and begin. Once you’re up and pedaling you’ll see your avatar in the middle of the screen (with your name atop it), as well as any others that you’re competing against at the time.

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For example, you can see below in a different race some of my competitors that are digitally overlaid into the scene:

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Because this is a real outdoor video, you can’t change the video to the side or such (it wasn’t shot in 360 or anything). However, you can change whether or not your cyclist is visible at all, so effectively whether you see yourself or see your own view. Here it is with it toggled off.

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You can also switch to a map profile view to see where you are on the course as well as your competitors:

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Back to the view of myself, you’ll notice you’ve got your wattage, heart rate, incline, speed, and a pile of other stats around the edges of the screen, including the gradient at the bottom.

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I think in some respects having the information so scattered about the screen is what differentiates slightly compared to Zwift which consolidates all of the textual information towards the top of the screen. You will see your HR (if enabled) towards the bottom on Zwift. Compare the two side by side:

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And if I were to offer a bit of advice to Rouvy –it’s to continue the work on cleaning up the UI a little bit. Consolidate and eliminate would be my suggestion. Remove things like the icons in the upper right corner unless a button is pressed. Consider making the elevation overlay smaller. I also think with respect to the AR aspects, that the rider seems a bit too tall to me, for this particular road size. But maybe I’m wrong.

And in fact, if you look at their promo video (around the 2:15 marker), you’ll see how it looks on videos that have real-life humans in the video itself, compared to the AR overlay. At a quick glance you wouldn’t realize one of those isn’t like the rest.

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In any case, as with last years release, Rouvy can do overlays onto these roads – such as finish banner that you see here – that’s digitally laid into the video scene.

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After your ride is complete you’ll get some stats and it’ll upload to any sites that you’ve configured to sync to, such as Strava.

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Overall it’s definitely worth a whirl if you haven’t used it before, especially in the free beta period. Like I said above, I think there’s a bit more polish around the UI that can be done. I suspect one thing that might be hurting them a little bit is the yellow/black color scheme (no matter the business) can sometimes come across a little bit dated. If you compare it to the FulGaz Apple TV app the overall UI design is very similar, but not having the yellow makes it feel a bit more subtle and modern.

Also of note that I didn’t mention anywhere is that Rouvy says that this is technically considered AR2.0, and in particular they’ve done work around the elevation smoothing.  They sent over this screenshot which illustrates how they’ve added far more levels of gradient to incline shifts, which should make things feel a bit smoother than in the past.

even more realistic and smoother elevation profile

Note how on the left the gradient chart shows basically just three chunks, whereas on the right with 2.0 it shows 12 chunks, assuming I’m able to count.

Again, technologically cool stuff here, and now they’re on every platform out there, sans the gaming ones (Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation). But hey, maybe next year.

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With that – thanks for reading!

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43 Comments

  1. Ross

    One of the things I found off-putting about Rouvy when I tried it last year was the experience of the environment lagging if my ride was slower than it was filmed, or “fast forward” if I was riding faster than the speed it was filmed. Has this changed ?

  2. Julien

    Thanks Ray. Very informative.
    Outstanding – going to test it with my Kettler Racer S bike tonight. Works great on the ipad with Rouvy, where it controls the resistance. Hope it will work on the Apple TV, Ray – I think you should consider the Kettler Racer S – when I see the reviews of the other bikes, looks like good value for money. Just frustrated it does not support all the standards. Works great with Rouvy, works with Zwift (but no resistance control, you have to increase with the gear changes) but not Zwift Apple TV (at least I did not manage to make it work!)

    • Thanks!

      Yeah, my line in the sand at this point is something has to support the standards (ANT+/BLE and the variant control/transmission bits within it). Maybe that’ll prod some companies to properly adopt them…

    • Julien

      Thanks and makes sense. I could not get it to work with the apple tv – will stay on Ipad. Did not look like the apple tv version has the Rouvy guides which I really enjoy

  3. Boris

    „Rouvy has now joined the club of apps offering Apple TV support for their indoor training suite“

    Fantastic news. I’ll try it out. I hope it performs well.

  4. Gilbert

    So this 2 channel Bluetooth on the ATV is becoming a pain. Will it work properly without cadence or heart rate ?

  5. Felix

    I cannot get past the Splash Screen with the logo on ATV 4K (in Canada, if that matters)

    • Tom Goossens

      I’ve got the exact same issue – I see the logo and then nothing but a grey screen. Belgium – so location doesn’t seem to matter.

    • Boris

      „When your language is not set on English, German or Czech, the app will not start (you will see the grey screen) – You have to switch your language to the mentioned ones. The fix is in process.“

    • Rouvy

      Hello guys, this issue is already fixed! You can check it out. Happy riding!

    • Petr

      Please be sure you will use the version Rouvy AR 0.9.6.

    • Tom Goossens

      I downloaded the app 10 minutes before I posted… My Apple TV language is English, so I assume you’re referring to an app setting? If so, how can I change the app language if I can’t get it to open?

      I’ll try to re-download tomorrow (CET time over here)…

  6. Maxim A

    > Again, technologically cool stuff here, and now they’re on every platform out there, sans the gaming ones (Nintendo, Xbox, and PlayStation).

    No linux support also.

    • Paul S.

      But “linux”, unlike Windows or macOS, isn’t a single thing. There are tons of distributions with various software installed. Which one do you want them to support? Rasbian? RedHat? Ubuntu? Something else? (It’d actually be pretty great if something like this or Swift could be installed on a RaspberryPi.)

    • Petr

      Yep. Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a business sense to spend the dev time for Linux, sorry.

    • Maxim A

      I agree, it is difficult to support so many distributions, but there are very convenient tools, such as Flatpak and Snap, which can make the application independent of the version of the system.

  7. Steven Brown

    Am I missing something with the software – can you combine structured workouts with the AR routes?

    I tried Rouvy before and really enjoyed a couple of the videos, but I really use the workouts overlaid on routes in Zwift, and think as a bit of novice cyclist, it’s a feature I really need. But I’m maybe just not selecting/looking in the right place…

    • Petr

      Not yet. You can use the standard Rouvy workouts via our official platforms PC/Android/iPad/iPhone. Rouvy AR is about the simulation of real courses only.

    • Markus

      > Rouvy AR is about the simulation of real courses only

      But I also do structured workouts when riding outdoors. Structured does not have to mean control by erg mode or gradient. No, just have an interval timer in the UI, e.g. set up a workout – let’s say 1min/2min over-under-intervals – and just show a timer with target wattage. No control of the resistance. Like riding outdoors. Would be cool to do this up AR Stelvio.

      At the moment I use 3rd party software for this but it would be cool to have this already integrated in Rouvy. This can’t be too complicated, just a simple interval timer.

  8. John McCutcheon

    Are the added levels of gradient exclusive to the AppleTV app, or their entire platform?

  9. Ove jensen

    How do i join an online race using apple tv or is that functionality coming later?

    • Petr

      This functionality will come later in the next weeks or month(s). It depends on the results of the beta testing. We want to be sure that the core functionality works very well, after that we will add on-line races. For all that, be sure that on-line races will be part of the App.

  10. youpmelone

    Rouvy makes big steps forward, however no amount of overlays can correct for the crappy quality of the films used. @Ray just test a side by side of the same mountain descent footage with Rouvy on one side and TDA in 4k on a 50″ screen on the other.

    No magic can be performed to get gopro car mounted camera feel like the a bike mounted, that leans in in corners, correct camera height, professional camera filmed, properly post processed films.

    None of this applies for Zwift people, if you’re happy with a crappy avatar pedalling in a low resolution fake world, rouvy will look fine.

    • Yeah, I don’t disagree with you the quality of the underlying video is better from TDA via some of their contracted films.

      However, TDA by its very name definition is desktop – and I just see any apps that are solely relying on that as dying off. People want things on mobile/tablet/TV devices.

    • Petr

      I don’t agree with you. Most of AR routes are 1440p + very high bitrate and definitely no crappy. We make the footage of 90% AR in-house + we have the advanced smoothing algorithms. So we can ensure the smoother video than TDA. Btw, try to compare the accuracy of the elevation profile. Of course, this is the subjective opinion, everybody could try and compare it.

    • youpmelone

      HiPetr, I’ll retest it and retract my opinion if I am incorrect.
      Can you point me to the new quality films at rouvy?

      However I’ve seen pretty much all TDA’s content which is to be released and it is stellar.

    • Petr

      Please try some AR like Lava Beds, all new UK routes. Definitely, there are possible improvements, but you will see it’s not GoPro footage…

    • Dan

      I rode one of the AR routes last night, Kona. Apparently it was filmed from a vehicle. At 10-15mph, cyclists on the road seemed like they were doing 5-10 RPM cadence. Extremely jittery, even at higher speeds.
      The pixelation as the scenery or vehicles came close to the point of view of the camera was extremely distracting. Often, as a vehicle in the opposite lane was passing by, the pixelation would look like it jumped in the lane the camera was in.
      The avatar was way too cartoonish in how it represented standup pedaling. I changed camera view to stop from laughing.

      I had to quit before the route ended, it was not pleasant.

    • youpmelone

      They are getting a lot of things right, like continuous and fast improvement, multi platform etc (garmin / tacx take note and release the updates constantly).

      But the base is the film quality, and that has always been shoddy. Curious to look at new stuff when i have time.. If Tacx Garmin get their act together, they could be taking the market buy storm. All is there, if they bring it together and release it.. dunno..

    • kwemple

      I have found a lot of great quality films in Rouvy. They offer a lot of films that were created by RealLifeVideo.de. Try out the Ofen Pass in Switzerland. These are not AR films; but I don’t really care. I can also ride all my Tacx RLV’s in Rouvy.

    • Gena

      I tried Rouvy a while ago. Quality of the videos was atrocious so I had to cancel. Ok giving a benefit of doubts I tried it again. Specifically Lava Beds. It is still way behind from anything you get from Tacx or Veloreality (happy user of both). Also there are couple of things that felt annoying to me. On is that smoothing. It sorta works on distant objects but for the ones that are close enough it produces horrible artifacts. Like the picture keeps melting in frot of my eyes. Despite the smoothing the video itself is still jerky on very decent gaming rig. Another is those poles that kept popping up and show the road grade. I guess those could be turned off somewhere in the settings but I did not bother.
      Basically riding with 4K Alps footage from Veloreality beats Rouvy hands down for me.

  11. David MacLeod

    While my Kickr Climb work with this?

  12. Andrew

    The elevation overlay looks better than it does on Zwift?
    On a 24″ computer monitor Zwift elevation is barely visible. Is it better on a 50″ TV?

  13. Blair

    I downloaded the Rouvy Beta app on a mac and have a kickr snap, viiiiva hrm, podiiiium power / cadence meter. I tried Rouvy about a month ago and just went another direction. Anyways now I can’t pair any sensors. It says an error message something like there are no available bluetooth connections and the B icon in the upper left of the screen is grey. Can you use built in bluetooth on the mac or do you need a separate bluetooth dongle. Note that all sensors output bluetooth and ant+ (Rouvy can’t use ant+ yet).

  14. .jonesy

    Thought I’d give this a try to compare to Zwift. Lots of user name and password issues and pages not found. Is it me or an Australia issue?

  15. Gus

    Great news. I’ve used rouvy in the past. one of the things that put me off was its lack of mac support other than ipad. it would be great if they releasoe rouvy router editor to mac too..

  16. ARTUR RAMOS CARNEIRO

    didnt conect my BT Tacx Genius, only my cadence/speed BT from Bontrager
    using new app on apple TV

  17. Shaw Goodwin

    Just tried to connect Wattbike Atom and it does not appear in the sensor list. I thought it supported FTMS?