Ever since its long-awaited launch at the Hey Siri media event on 9th September 2015, Apple TV has been much talked about and many consider it embodies many futuristic television elements. While the first delivery of the product has already been started it is the right time to evaluate the experience from a customer’s point of view.
Is it appropriate to call it the future of TV or should it be viewed as another important update introducing better interactive features and a better viewing experience? Truly still the product has a lot of shortcomings especially for those with a sky high expectation. But in spite of that this new set-top TV from Apple offers an array of elements that can be considered as a step ahead to futuristic television.
Let us discuss below the key aspects of this TV you need to know; key aspects you should expect and things that can set back your so called expectations from a future-ready TV.
Ahead of time but don’t expect a revolution
The new Apple TV has come loaded with an array of advanced features set for a faster, smoother and useful television experience. Thanks to the new features there has been less frustration in television viewing experience than before at least. But then, most of these features except a few are already available with the competitor brands.
The integration of App Store would surely add more value to the television experience. Voice search capability through microphone equipped remote is another advanced feature that brings this to a par with Amazon Fire TV. The tvOS offshoot of Apple iOS is certainly a major step forward to make the TV platform independent of mobile OS. But as far as the ease of users is concerned there is some heartburn. Still the remote iOS app for this model has not been updated and so there would be glitches like typing one letter at a time for entering passwords. Though, it’s expected Apple will fix this issue some time soon. As rumored for a while Apple can also launch its own streaming service shortly and that can really bring a revolution in digital TV.
A complete makeover to performance
Compared to previous generation Apple TV performance has been improved by a great extent in the new version. Fewer troubles and faster and smoother viewing experience is ensured by this new TV. Though the performance issues have been solved, there is a lesser number of apps installed on the home screen. For adding even big named services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO you need to go to the App Store. The real hero of the new Apple TV is the fluid and smooth navigation thanks to the new remote system, which we will discuss separately.
The new Apple TV also functions as a HomeKit hub as well. It allows you to control your HomeKit devices in case the Bluetooth and home Wi-Fi is out of range. Though at the moment Siri cannot work with Apple Music it could take two months or less than that for this to happen, as promised by the company.
Nothing as good as the Apple Siri remote!
This time Apple gave much more time in perfecting the voice search than text input. Users just felt delighted with the ease and flexibility offered by this. To activate Siri all you need to do is to hold down the button for microphone on the remote and then you can ask it for titles, genres of movies, apps, actors or directors you want to find on Apple TV. It really works exceptionally fine this time. Asking it to show sports or for say horror movies it will instantly fetch you the results. Moreover, you can set alerts for specific types of programs and can get an alert when they come on your favorite channels.
The new Apple TV remote has a touch screen covering more than one third area on the top. Apart from the great ease and convenience of setting up Siri as we discussed earlier, the remote automatically detects CEC if your TV has it. With the new Apple TV button you will need to use the TV button a lot less.
An app store not satisfactory enough
In complete contrast to the erstwhile Apple TV version this new version offers very few options, just settings, music, photos, computers and iTunes movies and TV. For the rest of the things you need to go to the iTunes library. Apple TV is not the first to integrate App Store to the TV platform as it has already been done by Amazon Fire and Roku. But having the greatest number of mobile apps in its store it can certainly offer a robust TV experience. However, until now, except for a few, most apps for Apple TV are just bigger versions of their mobile apps and nothing else. And there are other issues as well.
The discovery of new apps is a major problem with the App Store of Apple TV. You only have the feature selection to browse apps or otherwise you need to undergo the painstaking letter by letter text search option. Surprisingly for App Store search in new Apple TV there is no Siri support. Though expectedly Apple will solve this in future by software updates but for now the customers will find browsing App Store a really painful experience altogether.
On a par with top set-top gaming machines, at least now!
As for gaming, the TV just offers a great gaming experience with a lively look, feel and good remote support. Though there are a few games that cannot be played well with the remote as the remote track pad is not very precise, overall gaming experience in the new TV is good. Apple TV also lets you connect the PC gaming controller with it. The final verdict on this score Apple TV is far from satisfactory when compared to dedicated gaming consoles but as a smart TV with gaming options it can be a nice choice.
In a Nutshell
Finally, Apple TV is a trend setting device with lot of potential to become the home entertainment hub. But there are too many unsolved issues without addressing which some expectations are bound to crash, even if the overall improvement over its predecessor remains unarguable.
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