TouchArcade reviews new Apple TV: A discoverability nightmare, zany controls, and loads of potential

“I unboxed my Apple TV a little over an hour ago, and my initial impressions of the device are incredibly mixed,” Eli Hodapp writes for TouchArcade. “The Apple TV is going to have a long way to go before it’s a serious contender in the gaming space, as crazy controls and a baffling lack of discoverability are holding it back. Of course, there’s loads of potential here, but, will Apple realize that potential?”

“First off, let’s start with the things that are really awesome about the Apple TV. As expected, the Siri search stuff is incredible. Once I downloaded the requisite streaming video apps I use, just being able to search for a movie across all of them feels like magic,” Hodapp writes. “If you’re a cord cutter who relies on Netflix and the others for your video content, you could make a strong argument that the new Apple TV is worth picking up just for this feature. If that’s how you feel, then the rest of all this is just kind of a value add, which might be the best way to look at Apple TV gaming right now.”

“Unsurprisingly, pairing a MFi controller totally fixes all this. Once you do that, games like Oceanhorn and Asphalt feel like actual video games you want to play instead of invoking horrible flashbacks of trying to play games on the Philips CD-i. You don’t need the new Steelseries Nimbus, either. Both my Steelseries Stratus and Stratus XL work fine, as do my MadCatz MFi controllers. If you’re at all interested in Apple TV gaming, please buy a MFi controller.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Did you get a MFi controller to go along with your new Apple TV?

SEE ALSO:
Terry White reviews Apple TV: Feels like an ‘unfinished’ product – November 2, 2015
ZDNet reviews Apple TV: A diamond in the rough – very rough – November 2, 2015
New York Times: All-new Apple TV invigorates the set-top box – October 29, 2015
Paczkowski: Yes, the Apple TV you’ve always wanted is finally here – October 29, 2015
Apple TV’s Siri search soon to include Apple Music – October 29, 2015
Apple TV review: Channels are dead. The future of TV is apps – October 29, 2015
Mossberg reviews the new Apple TV: ‘This is the one I’d buy’ – October 28, 2015

40 Comments

  1. I got my Apple TV just a couple hours ago. Unpacked it, set it up, installed some apps, and I love it.

    The remote also automatically controls my TV volume, without me having to have programmed it or anything, and when I hold down the upper-right button (TV button?), it brings up the option to sleep (so I no longer have to navigate to settings to make it sleep), and when it does, it also automatically turns off the television as well.

    The apps for the very few channels I was interested in so far are great. However so far many of them still require you to have a cable subscription to “activate” them. I hope they get rid of that, and add more channels. If they do not get rid of the cable requirement, I should be able to at least return my cable equipment, since I can watch it all right through ATV.

    1. Agreed being able to switch off the TV isa neat feature.
      I accidentally came across another feature yesterday. I was watching cable TV and inadvertently hit the apple remote button when putting a cup down on the table. The TV switch to the Apple TV input and also switch on the Apple TV itself. I also noticed that the input channel is now called Apple TV. I never did that.
      So Apple have found a way to control my TV in depth. Very cool and makes it easier to switch to the Apple TV when I want it.

      1. I’m curious what happens when you have multiple sets in the same room.. Does adjusting the volume or turning the set on/off affect all the sets? If not how does it know which set to work with?

          1. Your confusion about who does what shows how little you pay attention.

            Republicans piss me off a lot too, but had nothing to do with our present medical debacle.
            Democrats astound me with stupidity and a knee-jerk opposite of common-sense.

            Your parity of the two is telling.

            1. I’m losing my humor almost as fast as the free world’s leader is losing our preeminence.

              Reality has turned to a dark, lifeless bitch that won’t loosen it’s bite while clawing a ‘collective’ shallow grave.

              Enjoy!

            2. Oddly enough, if I were prescribed Lithium I couldn’t afford it (thanks to Democrats like you).

              I HAVE finally found a blood pressure medicine cheap enough not to raise my rate more than lower it….

            3. I know you act as if you are ‘independent’ and ‘moderate’, but you’re neither. I guess I would be ashamed to admit to being a Democrat nowadays, too.

              You never have an original political idea, just condemnation for actions, usually by Republicans.

              You never admit to who you support. (it might be hard to defend)

              You NEVER (that I have ever read) defend any actions of the right, at least nothing beyond a ‘moderate’ position (and by that, I mean the easy solution, not the correct one).

              So no, you may not be a registered Democrat, but you either side with them or are too ashamed to defend actions of the right because the ‘cool’ kids might laugh at you.

              Now, let’s think about your statement ‘knee-jerk’. Stating that someone is a Democrat is not a reaction, but a process based on evidence. Again, just stating the obvious. Whether you vote for them or not is irrelevant. I doubt seriously you vote Republican. In 2012 I voted straight Republican for the first time since 1988, although the Democrats were always on the state or local level. I won’t be voting for any of them for at least another 6 years as punishment for what their party has become. There, see how easy that was?

              And dismissing an argument by calling someone a ‘ditto-head’ and then running away is kind of knee-jerk to me.

              As always, Derek, nice talking with you.

          1. Back to your incessant Obama BS, botty. A week or so ago it appeared that you might be detoxing from your insatiable urge to post politicrap on this forum. But you and buddy TT have dived right back down into the muck.

            1. What you call muck many know as reality.
              Fortunate YOU are able to fly above it with no cares while most of us try to make better of it.

              Happy Landings….

  2. I guess Apple hasn’t been lazy, since they’ve earned almost all the money with the phones (and a smattering from their other lines as well), so it’s a little hard to criticize their “hobby”. On the other hand, imagine where they’d be by now if they had committed to the living room even 5 years ago – the set-top box that let the iOS ecosystem play seamlessly from the desktop to the TV, with shared media and an open app store for games.

    And the new AppleTV still doesn’t go far enough in that direction. No 4K (even though the iPhone shoots it and the TV’s are cheap, now). The Siri remote is still a compromise (by most reviews), sleekly designed but too limited and awkward to use. Hence the third-party controllers. Of course, cutting the Remote app and Bluetooth keyboard compatibility wasn’t necessary, and won’t make any friends.

    If there’s a full-featured console coming, with performance gaming, App Store, DVR capability, expandability, and seamless integration with Mac OS and iOS (not to mention AirPlay, FaceTime, etc.), Apple could own all the rest of the money. C’mon Apple, buy Tivo already, and make the God Box so many of us are pining for.

    1. “… they’ve earned almost all the money with the phones (and a smattering from their other lines as well)”

      Just to put that “smattering” into some sort of context, it may be the lesser part of Apple’s income, but it’s still a massive income. We all know that Apple makes unimaginable amounts from iPhone sales, but if you subtract the iPhone revenue from Apple’s earnings, you’re left with a very impressive $78.6 billion from all other sources. There are only four other tech companies earning that much total income per year ( HP, IBM, Amazon & Microsoft ). Google’s annual income is $66 billion per year, with Intel, Cisco and Oracle earning much less.

      For those who haven’t properly paid attention, please note that I’m talking about Apple’s earnings MINUS it’s iPhone earnings compared to other tech companies TOTAL earnings.

      1. Except I would not characterize Amazon as a tech company.

        Amazon is to “big box” stores as big box stores were to small retail stores. Amazon is using _existing_ computer technology to dis-intermediate big box stores. They use existing technology — created by others — to do so.

        When is a chain not a chain? When it is a singular entity, like Amazon.

        Personally, I don’t use Amazon if I can avoid it. I don’t like Amazon’s business model or their politics. They are a bully. Besides, I can usually find better prices from other, smaller merchants.

        Break the chains!

          1. I didn’t know you were gay, Botty?
            Does your mother know yet? she does frequent this comment section, i have seen her remind you to take your meds, i guess she has not done a good job today, maybe because she is heartbroken to find out now that not only are you a republican (gasp) but also gay… oh a mothers shame !

  3. If I recall there was a period when the remote app didn’t work on the last Apple TV when they upgraded the software. They’re going to have to do a load of updates. The keyboard being the most noticeable problem. Having all the letters in one long line is even slower than the grid they had before. I’m just hoping they’ll roll out a load of updates much like they did with Apple Watch.

  4. Come to think of it, Apple just needs to do one thing to own it all – What if the 4-gen AppleTV turned out to be the satellite – one for each TV in the house, while a primary box does all the heavy lifting. Like some of the cable companies which have a primary STB, and then (usually rented) slaves at other locations (bedroom, den, basement, etc.). You could share gaming and any apps via airplay, and if they did it right, you could have multiple users at multiple sites, doing multiple tasks. Basically, Tivo, X-Box, cable box, home automation and home and remote media server all rolled into one. The tech all exists. The content deals would fall into place once everyone saw how huge this would be. And the size of the market? There are probably more televisions than smartphones out there – each one is a potential hardware sale (not to mention a subscription). And halo effect? Duh.

    1. Maybe in America, and even there mainly in suburban and rural households.

      In large cities, which still hold huge percentage of population, most people don’t need more than one TV. Moreover, elsewhere in the world, it is quite rare to have more than one tv in a household. The American love affair with the tv isn’t nearly as pronounced elsewhere.

        1. No, not really. City people get exactly the same original programming as suburban / rural (including ‘Modern family’ and ‘Big Bang’…), and vast majority of the developed world outside America does as well.

          As for being poor, while I don’t have the exact data to back this up, I am sure there are far more poor suburban and rural American households with multiple TVs than there are middle-class (or wealthy) urban (or non-American) households with a single TV.

          I think this is mostly a lifestyle issue, rather than economic; after all, you can get a brand new cheap Best Buy-branded 32″ HDTV for less than $150, which is a 3-day’s worth of minimum wages (or a weekly supply of crack cocaine, depending on the demographics…). People have multiple TVs even in trailer park households, but look at the Upper West Side apartments in Manhattan and you’ll be hard pressed to find many with more than one TV. Perhaps they can’t afford the second TV, after spending $2 million on the apartment…

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