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Apple TV - The Future of Television Reviewed


apple tv device


Not so long ago , Steve Jobs introduced the Apple TV along with the guidelines that the company followed in making the device. Some of the features that have had an influence in its design include the sync-free capability, ease of installation, and storage management, all of which are thoroughly described below.


  • Sync. Steve Jobs described how some people who use digital media players don’t even know what “syncing” means, therefore they don’t want to go through the process of doing it. According to him, the Apple TV aims to lessen the hassles of using media players. They’ve achieved this by eliminating the need to sync their device with any other software before actually watching shows or movies.

  • Storage management. Steve mentioned how people spend more money purchasing CDs and DVDs just to watch one movie. In the end, they’d have to store them to avoid the CDs getting damaged, and that would require more space and effort for the user. As a solution, Apple now lets users rent movies and videos, which will be at a lower cost.

  • Ease of Installation. He emphasized that the Apple TV can be connected to a wireless network, therefore highlighting ease of installation and usage. It is also user friendly since there will only be a minimum number of wires connected to the device. The main cord will be an HDMI cable which will be connected from the streaming media player to the preferred TV set.

In 2015, Apple released the latest digital media player as successor to their previous generations of Apple TV. Apple’s current CEO, Tim Cook, believes that the future of modern television relies in apps. He also made sure that everyone was aware of his belief that apps were the key element, even on the TV platform.

The company’s presentation mainly focused on describing how the Apple TV’s new and redeveloped design makes TV-viewing revolutionary. It also highlighted how the device has “liberated television”.





Primary Features

The device’s primary feature is to enable video streaming from the internet. Other media files such as photos and videos can also be viewed from iOS-enabled devices through Airplay. Users can either purchase or rent videos, or access video streaming sites like YouTube and Netflix. They also have access to direct streaming, along with the following features:

  • The built-in Photo app lets users sync their iCloud library so the images can also be displayed on TV.

  • The 4th Generation Apple TV gives users the ability to download apps and games from the tvOS appstore. They can now access apps the same way they do on a regular iOS device. For example, it’s now possible to play a mobile racing game on HDTV (though a Siri remote is required).

  • Airplay also gives users the benefit of wirelessly mirroring the content of their iOS or Mac device unto a larger monitor. Casting or sending media such as images, audio or videos is also possible with this feature.

  • Siri has also been developed for the 4th generation Apple TV. In earlier versions of the tvOS, users can click on the corresponding Siri button on the remote and browse for weather, apps, movies, and such. On the later versions, Siri made dictation possible including passwords and e-mails.

The Looks of Apple TV

Now that the key features of Apple’s device have been discussed, it’s time to talk about its looks. Physically, it is a black plastic box just about the size of a human hand. This is known as a streaming media player or a set-top box and can only be externally controlled. The Apple Remote device or the Apple Remote App can perform this, the latter is a downloadable app compatible only with iOS devices. Infrared-capable remotes from third-party companies may also be compatible.

How Does it Work?

The media player should be connected to the preferred television set via HDMI cable and then to a wireless network. The input should be switched to the set-top box instead of the cable or regular TV. After doing so, the user connects the TV to the internet.



The Remote Upgrade

As mentioned, the 4th generation of the device comes with controller known as Siri Remote. The Siri remote is proven to be likeable due to its user-friendly and hi-tech features such as the following:

  • The redesigned remote now features dual microphones for ease of use. It also comes with a touchpad, allowing for navigating through tapping or swiping (to rewind and fast forward). It has a home button, a button for the menu, the respective button for Siri, and a Play/Pause and Volume Up/Down button for the TV.

  • This remote requires Bluetooth connectivity instead of infrared, so there’s no need to line up the remote and the device just to input commands.

  • The Apple Watch is known to be stylish as it comes with a variety of watch-face designs and an assortment of choices for straps. Since the Apple TV can be controlled with any iOS device, it is also a compatible remote.

This version of Siri can perform everything the iOS version can do. Users can ask Siri to search for a movie and it will search the internet for multiple sources and display the options where the content may be available to the user. Certain actions like temporary captions, Play/Pause, rewind 20 seconds back, and toggling applications are also possible.

Other Notable Features of Apple TV

Another benefit is in regards with its tvOS advancement. Not only can users purchase apps and games from the designated app store, but many of the applications and games in the app are actually free of charge for any user to enjoy.

In terms of audiovisual entertainment, choices of video-streaming apps are automatically available upon installation of the Apple TV. Examples are Netflix and Now TV, which are ready to use and available on the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations of the device.



Disadvantages of Apple TV

Though some customers find the Apple TV’s features to be complete and impeccable, the device still has its own cons, such as the lack of support for 4K or HDR videos. Below, you’ll discover more of those downsides.

  • Apple’s other competitors have at least one model in their line of digital streaming players that support the aforesaid formats.

  • Also, it isn’t compatible with Amazon Video or Amazon Music, and same goes for compatibility with external devices. If the user doesn’t have an iPhone or iPad, maximizing the Apple TV would be difficult.

  • There are only limited television sets compatible with Apple’s digital streaming device and most of them are the newer models.

  • An HDMI cable is needed to connect the box to the designated TV, but this isn’t shipped along with the package so users will have to purchase one on their own.

  • It can’t play CDs or DVDs and it isn’t capable of recording shows.

  • Siri is limited to searching only on a few sites, even as of the latest update. This means that at the end of a search query, Siri hasn’t actually searched thoroughly for the best offer.

  • The device still has restrictions in regards with video-streaming apps and therefore, may not be able to stream everything a user may want to watch.

  • The current selection of apps for users is still limited and thus, is not as remarkable and revolutionary as the company promised it to be.

  • The power cord that comes with the package has been reported to be stiff. While not that big of a problem, it does limit the ways in which the device could be set up.

  • Users find the frequent updates unnecessary. This is also thought to be the main reason for the cause of bugs and other glitches while using the device.

  • Sometimes, the Apple TV can have issues keeping a stable connection, even if a reliable Wi-Fi network is used.

  • Occasional buffering also takes place while streaming videos and sometimes, it takes several minutes before the streaming continues.

Regardless of its disadvantages, the Apple TV offers features and possibilities that lots of people appreciate. With that, it has earned the confidence of customers.


Compared to its Predecessors

So far, the Apple TV’s latest iteration has been the focus of this article. Well, it’s safe to say that many are interested to know just how different it is from its predecessors. Below are the key differences between the various iterations of the device.

  • Unlike the 1st and 4th generations, the 2nd and 3rd generations of the Apple TV have support for micro USB since these didn’t come with internal storage for media.

  • Several features like the App store, games, Siri, and Universal Search can only be found on the 4th generation Apple TV.

  • Since the Siri remote is a new addition to the Apple TV’s features, the 4th generation is the only model that has it.

  • The Apple Watch can also be used as a remote to control the screen; all the Apple TV models are compatible with this except the 1st generation.

  • The 1st generation of the Apple TV still has the largest media storage capacity among the four generations. While the 4th generation permits 32GB and 64GB of storage for each kind of media file, the 1st generation has a usable space of 40GB for media files of each kind such as photos, music, and more.





Compared to its Competitors

Most agree that the Apple TV is an admirable streaming media player in every way, though other users would argue that some other brands deliver better quality and value for the money.

  • Compared to other streaming media players on the market, the Apple TV is a lot more expensive. It is almost twice the price of similar devices from different manufacturers. This is somewhat understandable though, as Apple positions its offerings as aspirational products.

  • Unlike other set-top boxes, the Apple TV does not permit connectivity with non-iOS devices. Cast and control of audio and video is limited only to AirPlay. The remote also has a downloadable app which is only compatible with iOS devices. This limits the purchase to users who already have an iOS device or to those who are willing to purchase one.

  • While other devices can provide users with over 5,000 channels, the 4th generation Apple TV can only accommodate a thousand. Interestingly, its predecessors only support approximately 70 channels.

  • The Apple TV has Wi-Fi and Ethernet as means of connecting to the internet, while others have access to Premiere+ and Ultra.

  • The older versions of Apple TV permit the use of micro USB being plugged into the device, but that’s because they don’t have an internal storage. Some devices have an internal storage and at the same time, feature a USB port for expansion.

  • One of noteworthy downside of Apple TV is its inability to play high-quality video formats like 4K and HDR, while many other similar devices can.

  • Compared to the leading devices, the Apple TV fully supports some of the most remarkable streaming platforms including Netflix, Hulu, etc. Without a doubt, that is a big competitive edge.

  • The Apple TV comes equipped with a whopping 2GB RAM. Its alternatives typically have anywhere from 512MB to 1.5GB of RAM. Remember that the bigger the RAM, the snappier the performance – at least in most cases.

  • Other streaming media players may show off Quad-core processors, but the Apple TV still remains competitive with its Dual Core A8 Chip.

 

There are those who stay away from Apple’s offering due to the hefty price tags. But, Apple has built their reputation from delivering customer satisfaction in every gadget they release to the public, including the four generations of the Apple TV. Many of the customers who purchased the device posted their experiences online. Of course, such reviews should prove to be valuable sources of information to those yet to decide which set-top box to invest in. Look at the image below to get an idea of what a used device would cost you:

Apple TV price indication

All in all, even though the 4th Generation Apple TV is remarkable in many ways, it’s still important for every potential buyer to weigh its pros and cons. Apple TV is also available with streaming service DirecTV Now in a discount package.


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