Improving Apple TV’s user experience

“With so many more channels on Apple TV, finding things has grown a bit clunky,” E. Werner Reschke writes for T-GAAP.

“For one, there is not a global ‘Find’ or ‘Search’ option,” Reschke writes. “I don’t care if what I want to watch is on Netflix, ABC News or Discovery channel. Apple TV should give me a universal way to search all content and provide me with the results in some sort of logical ranking.”

“While finding content takes some work, my second issue with the Apple TV UX is the interface itself. Big clunky icons that represent each channel. This is like using the OS X Finder in icon mode only,” Reschke writes. “Can we have a list view please? How about a category view? The current layout worked fine when there were 10 channels, but not so much for today’s Apple TV which currently offers 55 network/network apps.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Something just has to be coming, right? Apple can’t just keep adding “channels” to the thing, with no UI improvements, and not expect usability to degrade. Hopefully a brand new chapter in Apple TV looms.


  1. I would love to see Apple TV to be the surprise announcement at the event in February. We already know it will have to encounter some changes for the support of homekit, why not a bigger change. I think it would be the sleeper hit of the day.

  2. As it is, AppleTV is a hobbled device that attempts to drive more people to Apple’s iTunes store. There simply isn’t enough unique valuable features that can’t be had elsewhere, often already built into your new TV.

    Apple needs to make a case again for people to consider a stand-alone TV set top box. What could Apple offer?

    – true a-la-carte content that doesn’t require a cable subscription
    – A much more powerful remote application you can install on your iPad or iPod that offers RELIABLE instant screen sharing from iOS and Mac computers
    – DVR capability with easy connection to a remote drive or NAS
    – easy integration for home videos and photos on that user-supplied drive/NAS
    – 4K video capability
    – 3rd party app support
    – specialized gaming controllers
    – replace the cable box completely or allow HDMI passthrough
    – free local TV channels
    – much easier search with complete CORRECT metadata
    – more user control in display & grouping options — stop listing separate seasons of a series as if they were separate TV shows!!!
    – allow user to add tracking. For example, if i like Clint Eastwood films, then it would be useful for any new content to be added not at random in some “suggestions” ad bar like a cheap website, but in a meaningful tracking folder that i can refer to when i wish.
    – better integration with user playlists, podcasts, and iTunes U. the way Apple TV accesses one’s iTunes library today is rather clunky.

    1. Good news for you!

      You CAN hide all those channels, using the settings in AppleTV.

      There. Now you can sufficiently block out all contrary opinions in your life and be as myopic as you want to be!

        1. This should have been part of your public education: (or private ed, etc)

          Every single—without exception—source of information carries with it bias. It’s your job to listen and sort and discern where the truth is.

          Many many many people would disagree with your assessment of Fox News. And they would have just as credible arguments against other sources.

          You discredit Fox, et al ,and of course, you are solidified in your opinion of what is the truth.

          The truth is in the middle somewhere, as it’s said, (and I’m not talking the political middle.)

  3. I have been holding out for an Apple TV 4. I have an ATV1 and ATV2, both of which have been abandoned by Apple updates.

    I have jailbroken the ATV1 and no longer run any Apple software, settling on XBMC/KODI. I removed the Wi-Fi mPCI adaptor and replaced it with a Broadcom HD accelerator, allowing it to support 1080p HD. The next step is to remove the HDD and install an SSD so that it runs cool and silent.

    I have left my ATV2 alone, waiting… watching the occasional movie.

  4. I have the original, the second and the third generation. All are working between my office, home and studio. I don’t need a hardware upgrade, as in ATV 4, I want a software upgrade:
    Dynamic Search
    Hide unwanted icons
    Ability to play more formats
    Ability to download Apps
    Ability to add a bluetooth keyboard to by pass the clunkiness of adding accounts and passwords.

  5. OK, so, yeah, the interface needs improvement. And, yeah, it needs to be opened to games, etc. And Apple needs to improve the connection between device and controller – either dedicated controller or iPhone/iPad.

    But for me, I never really get beyond the first two/three rows. If the content’s not good enough for me to put it there, I’m never going to is. This isn’t Apple’s problem. The content providers have to offer something that gets me to move them to those top three rows and to remove something from those rows as a result.

    What with everything else, I’ve got ‘way too much to look at.

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