ATV4 -- a UK review

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by profmatt, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. profmatt macrumors 65816

    profmatt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #1
    My first thought was: what were all those people on MacRumors whinging about? I was expecting a disaster: it really isn't.

    For example, the "horror" of the straight-line keyboard and entering login details. I didn't find this difficult at all. Frankly, I found it much better than the ATV3 experience. And, of course, the set-up of the box itself can be done via your iPhone. (Slight frustration here: it has to be connected to a wifi network for this. So a certain amount of faffing to set that up and then get the ATV4 to try again.) I love the remote: very easy to use, although I agree with everyone else that the scrolling direction is the opposite of what you'd expect. Perhaps an update will give you the option to reverse it.

    The ATV4 turns my tv off if I send the box to sleep. It controls my TV's volume. It turns my tv on if the ATV4 is asleep and I wake it up. Sadly, it doesn't seem to change the input to the correct one, so I'm still having to use my TV's remote for that. Still, nice to have volume control. (I have an eight-year old Sony.)

    Apps: Netflix downloaded almost instantly. It seems much crisper than the one on my Amazon Fire TV. Same interface so far as I can tell. The only difference: Siri can talk to it. I tested it with "Gabriel Macht", who stars in Suits. I thought my dodgy pronunciation would throw it. Not at all. It picked out Suits for me straight away. I then played the programme (it started very quickly) and tested Siri's abilities. It was able to skip back and forth, I loved the "what did she just say?" feature. (Though I had to tell Siri to turn the subtitles off. It didn't seem to do this automatically, though I didn't wait long.)

    Great news: the NowTV app is up and running. Really beautiful. So much better than the NowTV box (which is a Roku 3, apparently, and it's going in the bin because it's redundant now). Very sharp. No Siri, sadly. Yet.

    I didn't look for an ITV Player app. I tried AirPlaying it from my iPad. It didn't work. I could get sound but not video. I know there's no BBC iPlayer, but it's on its way. So the Amazon box isn't redundant yet: I'll definitely be using it for iPlayer. And, of course, Amazon Prime, and I'm guessing we may never see an app for that. So I guess I'm stuck with two boxes. I did manage to AirPlay iPlayer from my iPad, but it wasn't a great experience.

    My final thought was: this is a good box that's going to become a great box in time.

    My conclusions? I thought I'd be basically using the ATV4 for AirPlay. I won't be. It's not a great experience. And it's not really necessary for what I want. I'll be using the box for Netflix and NowTV. Maybe I'll buy movies from Apple, maybe I'll continue to buy them from Amazon. But I'll probably switch to Apple. The picture seems better and the Siri integration is nice.

    I'm basically going to be a two box household: ATV4 for Netflix, NowTV and pay-per-view movies and tv. Apple Fire TV for BBC iPlayer and Amazon Prime. (And my iPad for ITV Player.) When the iPlayer app comes out, the Amazon box will just be for Prime and that might mean I'll end up very rarely using it.

    I'm giving ATV4 four stars right now. I think it'll be five stars soon.
     
  2. dumastudetto macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #2
    Did the Now TV app add any new features over the old Apple TV? Does it remember TV series you're watching for example, box sets series and episode, make recommendations, etc. The Now TV box does that well, the old Now TV app on Apple TV did none of the discovery stuff.
     
  3. profmatt thread starter macrumors 65816

    profmatt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #3
    I haven't had time to test it properly. I will report back later.

    BTW I can't find the Plex app. Siri claims there isn't one.
     
  4. dumastudetto macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #4
    Thanks. Generally interested to see if they've bothered to do anything extra.

    I agree with your conclusion: "this is a good box that's going to become a great box in time." It's why I haven't picked one up in the UK yet. Once the catchup services get added (iPlayer, 4oD, ITV Player, 5) and there are more UK-specific apps integrated with siri, it'll be the best box of its kind. But I'm not rushing in and buying the new box in the UK until the apps and content offerings arrive.

    The wife already has a couple connected up in our home in the US. But I haven't been home to play with them yet.
     
  5. dumastudetto macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #6
  6. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #7
    It's interesting you thinks it's an improvement as the new app is getting slammed on the Now TV forums.
     
  7. profmatt thread starter macrumors 65816

    profmatt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #8
    I've found Plex. And TVPlayer. Haven't time to do a big test, but TVPlayer is awesome! So much better than previous iOS versions, and way better than the one on Amazon Fire TV. Really fast. Not buggy. (So far!)
     
  8. hanser macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2013
    #9
    sorry, overlooked your last sentence. I was just thrown because your writing style now seem to differ significantly from your usual postings, so I wondered if there was account hijacking going on. Just ignore me :)
     
  9. dumastudetto macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2013
    #10
    Hmm I see the omissions post lists basically the things I wanted at least added - all missing. Not a great start for the UK launch of ATV4 with all the other important UK TV apps missing and a shoddy Now TV implementation ported over from ATV3.
     
  10. profmatt thread starter macrumors 65816

    profmatt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #11
    Well, OK. Two points. First, to be fair I said it was better, not good. Second, I said the box was better.

    Sure, the app could do with improving, but the experience seems vastly better than the one associated with using the NowTV box, which I hated.
     
  11. Rigby macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #12
    I agree that the "linear keyboard" is better or at least not worse than the ATV3 on-screen keyboard with the touch remote (especially if you know the shortcut to switch between lower and upper case). The thing is that on-screen keyboards in general suck for entering more complex strings and they already had better solutions for this (the Remote app and Bluetooth keyboard support). It's just puzzling why this was dropped. It's equally puzzling why it's not possible to use Siri to dictate search terms into text boxes. I really hope both issues will be solved, since setting this thing up is really not a good first impression.
    It actually doesn't, since it works over Bluetooth. When setting mine up I never had to enter my Wifi password (thank god, since it's very long and complex). But this already worked on the ATV3.
     
  12. profmatt thread starter macrumors 65816

    profmatt

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2015
    Location:
    UK
    #13
    I was unclear, but you are also wrong.

    Your iPhone has to be connected to WIFI. I know this because my phone wasn't connected to WIFI when I tried to set up the ATV and I got an error message (from one of them, I forget which) that said the phone had to be connected to WIFI before it would proceed. I then had to start over.
     
  13. Rigby macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    Yes, obviously. How else would it know which Wifi password to send to the Apple TV. ;)
     
  14. kiranmk2 macrumors 6502a

    kiranmk2

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2008
    #15
    The ITV Player app is a complete joke. It used to work fine but over the years the 'updates' have rendered it useless. Now it constantly lags, will play about ten seconds on content where there should be an ad break, repeats ads over and over (and cuts some off). AirPlay gives us only sound throught the ATV (video stays on iOS device) (using ATV3), and mirroring is completely unusable due to stuttering.
     
  15. Mr.C macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Location:
    London, UK.
    #16
    Why would it need to do that if the Apple TV is connected via ethernet to the router in the first place which is the way mine is connected. When I set mine up using my iPhone it wouldn't work at first as the wi-fi wasn't on on my iPhone. I got an error message and was asked to turn on wi-fi on the iPhone first. Then the setup worked. There is no logical reason for this as far as I can see as both the Apple TV and the iPhone have bluetooth and I would assume it was turned on on the Apple TV. The bluetooth was certainly on on my iPhone. Apart from that it was pretty straight forward though and easy to set up.
     
  16. Rigby macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #17
    In that case it obviously wouldn't. But if you use a wired connection the phone-aided setup doesn't gain you much anyway since you don't have to enter a Wifi password (and you'll still have to enter the iCloud password several times after setup to sign into the app store, homesharing etc.). They probably designed the process for the most common case.
     
  17. Lankyman macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    May 14, 2011
    Location:
    U.K.
    #18
    Let's be honest about this there's Apple TV for the U.S. (the only market Apple really cares about) then there's Apple TV lite for the rest of us.

    I have an Apple TV which I now rarely use apart from streaming the odd iTunes movie from my iMac etc. However, there are now so many other options available to the consumer most of which are more feature rich than ATV that the whole experience is redundant.

    I certainly won't be getting burnt again by purchasing another ATV. With the exception of Netfilx I'm no longer interested in pay TV in any event whether that is from Murdoch or anyone else. Given Netflix is on most other devices I think only the really loyal or blind Apple fan would choose ATV over the other options available.
     
  18. Matthew Essex macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    #19
    I just picked up the new Apple TV today, and I have my Netflix set to the American version through a DNS change but Siri does not seem to find anything when I search. Anybody managed a work round with this? Thanks in advance.
     
  19. Stupotpot macrumors 6502

    Stupotpot

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #20
    There's a shortcut?!
     
  20. page3 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2003
    Location:
    Vicar of Dibley-land, UK
    #21
    You may like to know that the iPlayer channel within Plex works really well for catch-up (but not live). It also has the advantage of Plex's interface which I prefer to most of the native iPlayer implementations.
     
  21. wchigo, Nov 9, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2015

    wchigo macrumors 6502

    wchigo

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2015
    #22
    I don't own one [yet?] but from what I've heard if you push the Play/Pause button once, it changes the keyboard between uppercase and lowercase... hope I haven't misled you. :x
     
  22. IscariotJ macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2004
    Location:
    UK
    #23
    Nope, that's spot on. It certainly beats swiping down to the case selector.
     
  23. Stupotpot macrumors 6502

    Stupotpot

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
  24. Stupotpot macrumors 6502

    Stupotpot

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2013
    Location:
    Newcastle Upon Tyne
    #25
    I was being lazy...if you hold down the central button on ATV3, you get the multiple character selection.
     

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