Review: The new Apple TV

 

Apple plant themselves in your living room as they bet on Apps being the future of television, but is the new Apple TV being let down by lack of features for Irish customers?

Note
This review of the 4th Generation Apple TV appeared in the Irish Mail on Sunday on November 15th, 2015. This is a longer, web version of that article.
Andy O’Donoghue’s review of the 4th Generation Apple TV appeared in the Irish Mail on Sunday on November 15th, 2015. This is a web version of that piece.

apple_tv_002When Apple announced the newest and fourth version of Apple TV they did so with more fanfare than the digital media had been used to, calling it ‘the future of TV’. Once described as a ‘hobby’ product by Apple boss Tim Cook, they have moved it from hobby to mainstream and seem to be betting on many of us putting it at the center of entertainment in our homes.
The Apple TV is a digital media player that connects to both your home network and television set and plays content bought or rented online from Apple’s iTunes store, or other content that you access using the built-in apps like YouTube or Netflix. You can also access music or movies that might be stored on one of your home computers and even play some content straight from an iPhone or iPad on to your TV.

That’s no different to the last version of Apple TV but the world’s leading tech company has tried to up its game with this new player in a bid to set themselves apart from a growing pack of competitors. They’ve introduced an App store for the Apple TV, similar to the one that owners of iPhones or iPads will be familiar with. You can download apps to the player that allow you to access additional TV or movie content.

As well as entertainment apps, Apple has made the Apple TV a full gaming platform enabling you to download games directly to the player and play them on your TV, using the new sleek little remote as a gaming controller. Games like Crossy Road work well on Apple TV and Apple has added multi-player capabilities, so someone with an iPhone can join in a game of Crossy Road using their phone and play along with whoever is using the Apple TV Remote.

apple_tv_003The sleek new re-chargeable remote is at the heart of how the new player deals with gaming and navigating around the on-screen menus using the glass track-pad but there is a key feature that isn’t available in Ireland yet. Siri, Apple’s digital assistant, will now control the new TV box from voice commands via the new remote. Customers in eight countries, including Britain, can speak commands that direct the Apple TV to, for example, ‘Show me James Bond movies’. The list could be filtered down a little further, ‘just the Sean Connery ones’, and the display will instantly update, showing the Connery Bond films available to rent. Launching this new Apple TV in Ireland and other countries without such a significant feature being available seems premature.

Setting up the box is easy and it’s small enough to fit neatly under a TV stand. It’s available with either 32GB or 64GB of storage. For most people 32GB will be adequate as most of us stream and rent movies rather than downloading them. The player itself is elegantly designed, as Apple products usually are, and the new on-screen interface is intuitive for viewers of all ages. Having access to content like the huge Apple Music library, and your photos from Apple’s iCloud, all make for a more complete entertainment experience via your television. However it is TV content that lets this device down for Irish users. British users don’t fare much better for content as many of the TV catch-up or movie services that Apple TV can provide only work in the USA. I’d hope that versions of Channel 4’s Player or the BBC iPlayer will come to Apple TV, but we really need the Irish cable operators and Sky to bring their players into the new App store before Apple TV becomes a complete entertainment center for Irish viewers.

With the addition of gaming and apps we can see how committed Apple is to home entertainment. However for this to be the future of TV we need more of our everyday programs to be available for catch-up or weekend binge viewing and we need to get the new Siri feature in Ireland, soon. When, and if those two things happen, I’ll make sure that sleek new Apple remote is on my side of the couch. The last version of this device, the 3rd generation, is still available for €79 and I think represents a better value option for now, as this new Apple TV is an expensive, if stylish way to watch Netflix.

More information at: apple.com/ie/tv

Price: €179 : 32GB | €229 : 64GB

Total
0
Shares
Related Posts
Read More

Does Blackberry’s open letter have a return address?

Tomorrow, Blackberry will release a letter to media outletss worldwide. When I got news of this tonight, I stumbled mentally for a moment. I thought it reminiscent of the "There is life after Apple" Chiat/Day letter from Steve Jobs in the Wall Street Journal 25 years ago. For a minute I allowed techno-romance to gnaw at me, but only for a minute. Tomorrow's open missal from Blackberry reminds me more of a fake letter that appeared in Chinese newspaper, The Southern Metropolis Daily a couple of months ago, and then found it's way around China via the micro-blogging Weibo.
Read More

Mavshack VOD teams up with myPhone in Philippines

Mavshack.com, the video on-demand streaming company has agreed a partnership with MyPhone, the leading distributor of phones in the Philippines. Mavshack is a leader  in streaming local content to global populations and Mavshack Philippines is the first of several content channels being delivered worldwide.  Mavshack operate a multi-platform service similar to Netflix in the Philippines, costing around 210 Philippine Pesos, the equivalent of five dollars per month.
Read More

NASA Game Changing 3D Printing success really matters

Last night I tweeted a link to the Press Release from NASA regarding their success with  testing a rocket engine injector made through additive manufacturing, or as we say these days,  3D printing. What surprised me was the reaction I got via re-Tweets, messages and people just saying 'wow!'. I think what caught people's attention was the potential highlighted by the success in NASA's test, the potential for manufacturing and for business.
Read More

Social Media: quality always tops quantity

In recent years I have had the privilege to speak at a number of different events on Social Media. Typically the area of greatest interest has always been Facebook. The same question always pops up during the Q&A part - “I don’t have a budget for Facebook, how do I get to 100,000 fans?” To be fair, there is not one answer to this question for every industry but I will try to give you an answer that should set you on the right path.
newsletter-subscription

Subscribe for the free weekly newsletter with the latest reviews and any current offers.