The failure of Apple TV v.4

“Apple TV is Apple’s only officially stated hobby, an strange but interesting product with plenty of promise that has yet to deliver the goods,” Dave Farrington writes for NoodleMac.

The only way that’s ever going to change is if you can really go back to square one, tear up the set top box, redesign it from scratch with a consistent UI across all these different functions, and get it to consumers in a way that they’re willing to pay for it. And right now there’s no way to do that. — Steve Jobs

“Therein lies the massive problem the industry faces, and why Apple TV v.4, the latest, remains mostly a failure,” Farrington writes. “Sure, you can use it to stream pay-for-TV shows and movies. Yes, there are apps that stream content from various networks. And there are entire packages of content, like Sling TV, Hulu, DirecTV Now that can stream from Apple TV, but the user experience is horrid even when compared to the standard cable TV experience.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If Apple were really serious about transforming TV the way they transformed music and personal computing (multiple times), they certainly have the money to do so. That they don’t is telling. Obviously, Tim Cook thinks the money is better spent elsewhere.

We do suggest that Apple refrain from hyperbolic statements regarding Apple TV such as Cook’s recent proclamation when announcing Apple’s “TV” app: “And now, with the TV app, there’s really no reason to watch TV anywhere else.”

That type of over-the-top marketing tripe just invites derision.

Apple’s new TV app shows just how painfully behind Apple is – December 14, 2016
Apple has no idea what they’re doing in the TV space, and it’s embarrassing – November 3, 2016
Hulu inks deals with Fox and Disney, adding ESPN, Fox News and more to forthcoming live service – November 1, 2016
Apple’s new ‘TV’ app won’t include Netflix or Amazon Video – October 28, 2016
Google signs up CBS for planned web TV service to debut in early 2017; close to deal with 21st Century Fox – October 20, 2016
Apple’s Eddy Cue alienated cable providers and networks with an assertive negotiating style – report – July 28, 2016


  1. Tim Cook is no flunky MDN. In fact if you do your research on him properly, you’ll find that when he unleashes his wrath, it scar the recipient big time.

    Just because you don’t like his choice of words don’t mean shit, many of us don’t like your political garbage either.

        1. Apple TV 4 does nothing fundamentally better than version 3, it’s just Apple’s latest attempt to get people to buy apps. The thing is, nobody wants apps. Everybody wants to be able to go to ONE place, something that looks like a less cluttered IMDB, look up anything, and click “purchase” or “rent”. That is it. Nobody wants to argue with Siri because Siri sucks. Nobody wants “for you” suggestions because they suck. Nobody wants to sign into and manage multiiple subscriptions because subscriptions suck. Apple just doesn’t get it. Until they deliver a great search engine and a-la-carte purchasing, then they will never compete in the living room. Especially at inflated Apple prices. Who would pay more for ATV when it’s so far behind technically? You can do more, easier, and more pleasantly with a used decade-old Mac Mini and an iPod Touch than you can with a brand new Apple TV today.

          I shouldn’t pile on Cook, but I will. Tim is very much a flunky for losing all the consumer, education, photo, video, and pro markets in which Apple used to be strong. Apple TV is just one of many areas where Apple continues to demonstrate that it has no clue how to deliver a delightful experience to the customer. Cook doesn’t even know how badly he’s blowing it. The iOS app store shields him from reality. He trusts his clueless lieutenants, all of whom are well past their expiration date. Apple is now a slave to Jony design over-minimalism, iCloud thin client business model, and more than ever, walls that prevent the user from managing his own content. Performance and value aren’t competitive in the market at all.

          Change needs to start now. If Cook is at the helm two years from now, that will be two more years of Apple swirling the bowl. It’s just not getting better folks.

          1. UI mess… inconsistent…. fragmented (apps) … no predictability in UI (each app is in its own ui universe, crazy).
            No consolidation; No way to consolidate favorites in one place.
            No notification for new ‘favorite’ content.
            Its a constent challenge of jumping back and forth between Apps and dealing with inconsistent ui to come across what you may have picked as a favorite at some point … that is if you remember where to look ?
            Very poor discovery and ‘for you’ AI
            Remote is an ergonomic mess .
            My Jurassic dvr offers a more streamlined experience!

            Hello Eddy…. find anything else to F-up at Apple lately ?

          2. ^^^^Well-stated^^^ As much as it pains me to read those words–it is the absolute truth. Apple feels like it is coasting on fumes creatively. What’s worse is that the Cook leadership/vision issue will not resolve itself anytime soon. Apple would essentially have to slam into a financial iceberg to consider removing Jobs’ anointed successor.

    1. Where did MDN call Cook a “flunky?” Do you honestly think that “with the TV app, there’s really no reason to watch TV anywhere else?”

  2. When the remote finally dies from me throwing it across the room in anger and disgust I will just go back to plugging my old core2duo mac mini into my TV and use plex directly…

    ATV4 is a POS.. the crippled youtube/netflix apps are not helping it at all.. (the plex app works ok.. when you aren’t restarting the ATV due to the cache filling up and crashing everything)

      1. Apple circa 2010: Pay a little more, get a lot more. It Just Works.

        Apple circa 2017: Pay a lot more, get a headache. Get last year’s hardware and unintuitive software with bugs. Scroll the internet for hours figuring out the hidden features and discover that stuff you used to do in one click is now a convoluted mess. Buy 3rd party crutches in order to gain back the hardware and software features you had in the prior model.

        This is not a good direction.

    1. I have a Logitech Harmony remote and a bluetooth keyboard that combine to provide almost every feature of the Apple remote. The only thing I use the Apple remote for is Siri.

      1. It’s dark most of the time.

        Plus, you shouldn’t have to look at a remote to use it. When I grab my cable remote, my fingers/hand knows if I am holding it correctly and where to press.

        On the ATV remote, it feels almost identical right side up versus upside down. In the dark, when I go to press a button, I typically am pressing the wrong one since it is upside down.

        I am far from anti-mac. But this remote was designed for looks, not function.

    1. What its not light years ahead of?
      A Mac Mini plugged into a TV with the iPhone Remote app.

      Full support for a complete Youtube and Netflix experience, plus any other form of media you want…

      ATV4 is DONE . ATV5 will be DOA

  3. Apple tv4 is biggest bust, I have invested so much in it with all my iTunes library purchases. It does not support 4K. All my future movies purchase will be on VUDU. As it HDX PQ and dd+is far superior to iTunes offering plus it has uhd movies from 4K movie purchase. Apple make you buy hardware which is obsolete to all streaming devices does not have all apps and most expensive. Even a apple fan like me is disgusted by Apple moronic plans for Apple TV, shame on me to fall for atv4 thinking apple is serious about it. What a waste of time, money and one port in my tv. This company is very quickly abandoning its base, it is becoming innovator to follower. Only ease of iOS is saving it, mac is mess, Mac Pro is mess, AirPort Extreme is gone, list goes on and on. Now it will bring aptv with 4 k and want more money. If they can’t convert Atv4 to 4K I am out.

  4. My ATV is called ROKU. I can pay $50 for a ROKU or $100 more for ATV.

    Until someone really cracks the barrier and makes it easy and cheaper to drop cable, I’ll spend $50 but not $150.

  5. The button metaphor is really not appropriate for the AppleTV. They grafted on the iPhone metaphor to a UI that perhaps needs something else. The result is that UI navigation is less than stellar. Really needs a rethink. The physical shape of the remote is truly inexplicable, especially given their history with the hockey puck mouse.

    This is pure speculation on my part but I’m beginning to think that the real problem is that they are making decisions by committee. While Jobs encouraged lively knock down drag out discussions, he always made the final decision. It seems there’s no one able or willing to take on the role of final arbiter. Hence the apparent need for consensus. This would explain 1) why Apple appears to be slow with new product releases and 2) why some design decisions appear questionable.

  6. Can’t reinvent if the studios and them aren’t going to negotiate and gouge us! They aren’t going to let what happened to the music industry let happen to the monopoly they have on the cable/movie industry!

  7. I like my Apple TV4. Having said that, when the time came to get a box for my 4K TV, I bought a Roku. I like it as well. I’m in the process of stripping out the DRM from my movies and TV shows so I can serve them from Plex and watch them on all my devices. It’s time for the Apple TV to either grow up or go away.

  8. Meanwhile, what’s going on with TVs, those thingies the TV connect to… Here’s David Pogue’s 15 minute tour of what’s worth seeing at CES, or rather at the LG ‘booth’. Check out the domination of Amazon’s Alexa and OLED TV tech:

    On and note how David agrees with my assessment of HDR TV tech vs 4K. He often reads my mind. Or maybe it’s that I read his. Or maybe its bromance. 😉

      1. None of us can. MDN doesn’t permit it. Theory: frustrations, even small ones, act as an emotion pump. Bitterness begets more words and rebuttals. Outrage sells, whether generated by a hobbled commenting mechanism, by invasive adverts, by clickbait headlines, by sermonising, by politicking. More page views = more dollars.

    1. Total agreement that HDR is the better improvement for TV viewing over 4K. However, ATV has neither, and is falling out of favor as consumers jump on the 4K/HDR bandwagon. There are no 1080P TVs with HDR, nor will there be.

      After watching that video, Apple needs to step up its game in all aspects, or risk being left behind as our increasingly tech-driven world speeds by.

      1. There are no 1080P TVs with HDR, nor will there be.

        That’s certainly the case, at least at the moment. We’ll see if the biz relents and allows HDR onto 1080p.

        Meanwhile, the hoodwinking continues. Apple really should catch up. But again, it’s no giant niche of demand or profits. Not yet anyway. If the hoodwinking works, then yeah. 😛

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