The new Apple TV has more rough edges than a sack of saw blades

“Having spent some time using one of the new Apple TV units, it’s clear that Friday was the start of the story, not the triumphant finish,” Jason Snell writes for iMore. “This is a 1.0 take on an entirely new, open Apple TV—and it’s got many gaps and room for improvement.”

“tvOS itself is still a work in progress,” Snell writes. “There’s no new iOS Remote app that adds easy text input and emulates the hardware remote. I appreciate the fact that I was able to link my Apple TV to my Apple ID via my iPhone, but I still had to re-enter all my service user names and passwords—which wasn’t any fun, and it’s an area that could benefit from extra attention. Additionally, iCloud Photo Library isn’t supported beyond your shared albums, and that’s not cool.”

“A future version would also need to support 4K video, of course,” Snell writes. “A whole generation is growing up watching YouTube on their phones and tablets and laptops rather than on a big television set. Will the market for the television set itself wane? … It’s too early to tell how this will all play out: It’s the first week of what’s essentially a 1.0 product.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Owners of the new Apple TV, are you satisfied with the product you’ve received? Let us know below and in our poll (coming shortly).

SEE ALSO:
Apple releases tvOS 9.1 beta 1 – November 3, 2015
5 days with the new Apple TV – November 3, 2015
Apple TV flaws that Apple should fix fast – November 3, 2015
TouchArcade reviews new Apple TV: A discoverability nightmare, zany controls, and loads of potential – November 2, 2015
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
Open letter to Tim Cook: Apple needs to do better – January 5, 2015

58 Comments

  1. I could have sworn this was the best thing since sliced bread with the way all of the reviews read on Friday. I guess Apple did’t manipulate the market enough to keep the reviews stellar. The ones that got an AppleTV early gushed. The ones that have had to wait aren’t. Huh.

    1. Tim Cook is an incompetent clown… just how much is he going to be allowed to screw up before folks have completely had enough.

      He can’t do ANYTHING right!

      $200 for a box that does everything a sub $50 ROKU 2 can do, plus he stripped away everything from the 3rd gen ATV that worked before!

          1. It seems that care in the community has really taken off judging by the increasingly deluded and insane comments by some I admit. Unlike the Victorians, thank god we don’t have to pay to watch their insanity at play however, except with our time anyway.

      1. Too early to tell at this point. I think as long as Apple’s share price rises, there won’t be much demand he be replaced. I doubt Tim Cook makes every decision on his own. He must get some input from other members of the management team.

        I replaced my Roku 2XS boxes with Roku 3s and I like them a lot better than those Roku 2s which used to freeze on me from fairly often. I don’t yet have an AppleTV so I can’t compare the two. I doubt the new AppleTV could be that bad but I’ll eventually see for myself. $200 is no deep investment for me if AppleTV remains useful for a couple of years. I’m not expecting very much and as long as it doesn’t crash too often I’ll be satisfied.

      2. “He can’t do ANYTHING right!”
        Well…
        “shares have gained 92% during his first four years and … he has delivered considerable growth to all of Apple’s most important operating metrics.”*

        So he must be doing SOMETHING right.

        * http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/08/29/4-years-in-apples-tim-cook-is-doing-a-stellar-job.aspx

        Your last paragraph is pure hyperbole. The 4th Gen Apple TV starts at $149, not $200. There is a small set of features such as the remote app that don’t currently work, but the new device does a lot of things the 3rd gen version can’t. The games available on the Roku 2 don’t really compare to what is currently available for the 4 day old Apple TV. And I doubt you’ll be seeing Guitar Hero or Disney Infinity for Roku 2.

        It’s pretty clear that Apple cut features to ship a product before the Christmas shopping season. As SJ said, “Great Artists Ship.” They’ve already said Siri search is coming for Apple Music and it’s clear from their history of updates on the previous Apple TV’s this is a platform that is going to grow.

        1. These Tim Cook haters come out of the woodwork every time Apple stumbles. Then Apple posts another quarter of record earnings, or they release a critically-acclaimed product, like the iPhone 6s, and suddenly they’re nowhere to be found.

          I think some of these people are just straight trolls. (Notice the hater above isn’t registered? They almost never are.) But for those expressing an honest opinion about Cook, I think they follow Apple like they follow their local sports team. The team loses a few games, and without fail some fans begin screaming for the head coach to be fired. Doesn’t matter if he won you a freakin’ Super Bowl in the past — we’re losing games, he has to go.

          While I’m at it, I’ll just chime in and say that I’m disappointed by the unfinished feel of tvOS 9.0 (which is silly, it should be 1.0), not because it makes the AppleTV unusable, but just because it’s un-Apple. Apple just doesn’t release unfinished products.

          That said, I love my new AppleTV, because my old one was a 2nd gen. If I had a 3rd-gen, I might have waited a year or so until the OS was more polished. (Then again, maybe not. The OS may need some work, but the new content apps are so much better than what was available on the old box.)

          ——RM

  2. I’m actually rather disappointed in my AppleTV 4th gen. Siri is cute, but she completely ignores my large movie/music/tv collection on “Home Sharing,” recommending I re-buy media from the iTunes Store. The games are still relatively awkward with the included remote, and the lack of analog/optical audio out is a headache for me. It’s not bad, but definitely has the feel of a ‘beta’ set-top box. I was hoping for more.

    1. I keep trying to understand how the lack of optical audio is a factor for people. My present config with Apple TV (2nd gen) is HDMI to TV, optical audio from TV to receiver. It’s digital audio all the way through. We use the stereo for TV playback and use Apple TV and iTunes playlists for music. What am I missing?

      1. For the optical audio, I have a setup that is currently using the optical audio output from the AppleTV (3rd gen). I can’t just swap the new (4th gen) AppleTV in without purchasing an HDMI Audio Extractor to replace the optical audio DAC that is currently in place. Just another expense and hassle, but that is why I wish the optical audio was still on the AppleTV.

      1. …SOUND

        Yet Apple nor Netflix support those audio format, they’re Dolby Digital 5.1, which work fine over optical.

        If you want TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio you’ll have to stick to Blu-ray (or if you are that kind of person, otherwise sourced Blu-ray rips).

  3. Good foundation.. Needs polishing!
    some ui features and functionality are surprisingly missing:
    Folders for organization.
    Siri central universal search on all apps not just few.
    Siri search within apps just for the app opened .
    Remote and Siri functionality with music …too many holes…
    Night mode and auto mode.. Can be way too bright in dark room.
    App discovery …

  4. Not worth the price at this point. Lots of missing functionality that should have been a no-brainer to include, even in a 1.0 product. As a developer I’m especially discouraged by the App Store’s complete lack of organization and discovery.

    Hoping Apple gets it together and releases a steady stream of software improvements, and with a quickness. We’ve all been waiting too long for this new Apple TV as it is!

    To be sure, they have a solid foundation and this COULD be a killer product. It just needs love. Lots and lots of love…

    1. The software has full brown product ambitions, but it feels like they’ve devoted hobby levels of time and resources to it. The hardware is a bit of both because the remote obviously took some engineering but it’s perhaps not as fully featured as we might hope and doesn’t have the software to truly take advantage of it. The box itself has effectively just had a better chip and some storage added to it, so hardly a massive revolution. I’m really mixed.

  5. I am satisfied in so much as I was satisfied with streaming content from my iTunes library on the old one and this does that. In respect of the new features, as yet it doesn’t really offer me anything extra at all. When the BBC, Sky, ITV, etc add apps then it will be much better. New Apps will come along that really take advantage of it, but for the extra money it doesn’t justify itself over the previous model.

    What I have found is that it seems far louder than the old model. Normally during the day I have my TV at about 20 and then at night I often have it down to about 10. I have no idea why the scale goes up to 100 because that’s bloody deafening, but with the new Apple TV I was watching it last night and I had the volume down to 2 before I had to turn on the reduce loud sounds option because my TV would have been on mute had I turned it down any further.

  6. 4K is not ready for prime time. Streaming 4K needs huge bandwidth which most people don’t have yet. With your typical cable you would get choppy video at best in 4K. Bandwidth is just now good enough for 1080P. Features like iCloud will improve with TVOS updates. This will take a little time but only get better.

    1. Exactly, I don’t even get consistent 1080p with Hulu on my PS4, with 50mbs internet. Netflix & Amazon do deliver fairly consistent and solid 1080p on my PS4, but Blu-ray still 90% of the time looks better.The other thing is how much actual really good 4K content is there? Watch any older TV show even from the early 2000’s in 1080p on Netflix and half the time the compressed files look crappy I can’t imagine that being uprezzed to 4K. 4K as of now is overrated, sure it’s the future but the content providers have first got to make better, cleaner and less compressed files to get me to move to 4K.

      1. b9bot and snd have summed it up- America is NOT ready for 4K and there won’t be much 4K content in the coming year. Blue Ray 4K is coming soon and that may be the rebirth of rental videos for a while. Broadcasters have a very long way to go and I don’t know of any that have 4K capability…hell, it took them forever to even get HD signals out. Today, upscaling is not up to snuff and many can hardly tell the difference between upscaled 4K and 1080p and are also clueless on the screen sizes and viewing distances where viewing 4K contents is beneficial or a wast of money.

        The “4K missing from AppleTV” crying and sniveling is just a snippet for journalists and tech reviewers to use in order to fill a news item with. We’re a long way away from 4K everywhere.

  7. The reason I upgraded was so that I could run Plex via AppleTV. Currently I have a Plex server running on my iMac and then I would have to launch Plex on my PS4. Now I can watch iTunes, Netflix and Plex videos all in one place. All of the other issues are real and are painful but they will be solved in the future and now that everything is setup and all passwords and accounts are typed in, I should be good.

  8. Just received it today. Set up was a breeze. New remote is great. Not surprisingly app store a little anemic. No Siri for music is a bummer but imagine that’s coming soon.

  9. Great I could use my iPhone to log in, but the dialog is modal so I could not switch to my password manager. I had no option but to pull the plug. Got my password, pasted it into Notes the copied it so it would not expire on the clipboard and restarted. It took a long time to figure out how to continue as it was stuck. When I finally got it running all I had was a new remote and yet another App store. I should have skipped the upgrade. MANY bad UI issues and UI testing/design is what I do. Apple UIs are sliding down.

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