Does Apple TV really need to be more than just a Wifi dongle?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by scaramoosh, Oct 4, 2015.

  1. scaramoosh macrumors 6502

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    Nov 30, 2014
    #1
    The problem with having this big console like box connected to your TV is it's way more expensive for one, but it also ages fast. The last Apple TV grew so old it was rather useless and if Apple are serious this time around about Apps, they'll need to keep it in the same power range as their phones. That means you'll probably be buying a new one every 2 years...

    I fail to see however what the need for it is when we all have powerful phones? With the new and improved Chromecast, hopefully it'll be fast and more seamless this time around since it has AC wifi and support for 5ghrz at last. It now supports streaming games from your phone, it's always supported things like screen mirroring and what not, so you can do everything from it that the Apple TV can do. The great thing about it over a miracast is it just pulls info straight from the server, your phone is essentially just the remote when it comes to video content.

    All chromecast has to do is sell you a new one every few years with improved wifi standards and you're paying $30 which is a much easier to swallow price. The great thing is, the power for apps that need it is coming from your phone, you're upgrading your phone every 24 months (for most people) any ways. So you wont have this weird situation of an aging box that becomes useless...

    For me personally, I just think it's better having the remote on your phone, having navigation on your phone, it's a alot easier to get to what you want on your phone screen than it is using a remote without a keypad or one to one touch.

    I know Chromecast had it's issues with wifi performance, but if Google have gotten it right this time, it wont be any different from having a dedicated box under the TV. Like I said before for watching content, it's just pulling the info from a server, so you're still free to use your phone and it's not using battery.

    I have to ask the question if Apple TV is really the right choice? Surely Apple would have done better to make a Wifi dongle for your TV and turned Apple TV into more of a Chromecast thing? For me personally, I just don't see any value in Apple TV, but I am willing to spend the small amount of money on Chromecast. As long as they've got the wifi performance right, I see it as a better solution, I would rather use my phone as the UI.. it's quicker to navigate.
     
  2. Pakaku macrumors 68000

    Pakaku

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    Aug 29, 2009
    #2
    Plugging your phone into your TV sounds like a really stupid idea, compared to a standalone box. And an Apple TV is way cheaper than a phone. You're also not required to always update your Apple TV, even if Apple tries to convince you otherwise.

    There already is a remote app for iOS, by the way.
     
  3. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #3
    Perhaps you do not understand Chromecast. What do you mean plugging your phone into your TV? With Chromecast the phone is simply a remote all the casting is done from the Internet to the Chromecast to the TV.
     
  4. Q-Dog macrumors 6502

    Q-Dog

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    #4
    My 92-year-old mother in law does not have a smart phone, but she does have an apple TV.
     
  5. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #5
    I guess she does not have a computer either and has an internet connection solely for the apple TV? And what about the Itunes account.
     
  6. Rigby macrumors 601

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #6
    How exactly is it useless? Personally, I'm having trouble justifying the new Apple TV since it doesn't really bring anything new to the table that I'd want (mind you, I'm not at all interested in playing casual games on my TV).
    If you want "power" (presumably for games?), a real game console seems like a better choice.
    I have tried various phone-based remote apps. Personally, I think a real remote with buttons is much more convenient than having to wake up your phone and look at the screen every time you want to pause or adjust the volume or something.
    Perhaps Apple should make their own cheap streaming stick to capture the low-price segment. But personally I prefer a box with a remote.
     
  7. Q-Dog macrumors 6502

    Q-Dog

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    Sep 9, 2007
    #7
    She has a computer but really only does emails any more. We have people that come in to help her, and they log their hours on an ipad that we have set up for the purpose. Those hours are sent to us over the internet connection. We do facetime pretty regularly ... also over the internet.

    Of course, visitors and her helpers use the network too.
     
  8. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
    Location:
    Scotland
    #8
    I think we definitely do need it, native apps will open up so many options.

    For the record, I did have a Chromecast and absolutely hated it. I like to have physical buttons to control the playback of my media so that I don't need to take my eyes off the screen and can find the buttons by touch.

    I gave it to my neighbors, who also hated it, but lived with it until I gave them a Roku, which they really like.
     
  9. arobert3434, Oct 5, 2015
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2015

    arobert3434 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2013
    #9
    The Roku stick is that intermediate device you are looking for. Buttoned wifi remote, no line of sight needed. I too wonder why Apple is sticking with the box, especially since they are limiting its capabilities more with each release so it's less and less capable of serving as a media center. It's just a streamer and these days the stick form factor is more than capable of that.

    What do they need the space in a box for? 128GB RAM to hold apps and buffer a media stream?! Cooling for the hand-me-down CPU to run ported 99c iPhone games on a 55-inch screen?! Put me down as confused about the Apple TV's direction.
     
  10. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2012
    #10
    Double-sided tape...that's all it takes. I have my AppleTV 3 taped to the back of my TV, 100% out of sight. I positioned it toward the edge of the TV, and the IR remote works perfectly.
     
  11. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    Sep 16, 2014
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    #11

    That's the thing, particularly with the next Apple TV using Bluetooth for the remote. You never actually have to see them anyway, there's a lot of different ways to hide them and really it's not that big. It's not as if I'm having to shoehorn another Playstation sized box in somewhere.

    I' really don't mind the box style anyway, not to mention the remote that generally comes with them, I like physical buttons for my media players. When I had the Chromecast and the Roku Stick I had to have them dangling on an HDMI extension because there wasn't enough room at the inputs, so it makes little difference to me.

    All said, I couldn't care less about the box it's in really, I just care about what it can do. And having tried pretty much every other option, Roku, Chromecast, Fire TV, dedicated media players from various other manufacturers, the built in "smart tv" functions (ewwwwww) of my current screen and of course Apple TV 1, 2 and 3. I just know that the new Apple TV will be the best fit for me. I can't wait to get my hands on it.
     
  12. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #12
    This is the thing about Media streaming everyone has their own favorite device. I gave away my Apple TV 3 about a year ago I use either the Smart TV capabilities of my Samsung or a Chromecast. I have a Mac Mini HTPC that runs Plex and never use Itunes and hence the Apple TV did nothing for me. I find using chromecast very easy and know a lot more people who have adopted it than those who are using the Apple TV. I have one folder on my phone with the 17 Apps that i use with Chromecast. I have never used Roku but have many friends that swear by it and I am waiting on the new version to see what enhancements it has. I have no plans to get the new Apple TV.

    Since you are in the UK it must concern you that Apple tv does not support any of the local channel players like Iplayer, ItV Player etc.
     
  13. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2012
    #13
    Very true. So much depends on your setup, the devices you have, how you view media, etc. All you use is Netflix? Any of them will do. Have a fully Apple home ecosystem with audio/videos in iTunes, AppleTV likely makes sense. Use Amazon Prime video, the FireTV is probably best for you.

    The other consideration is the user experience. In my case, I have 3 TVs, each with an AppleTV, plus a FireTV Stick in my family room. With the exception of controlling the FireTV Stick, everything is controlled with Harmony remotes which are perfectly coordinated for each of the 3 setups. The Harmony remotes control everything, including the AppleTV, so all other remotes (again, except for the FireTV Stick) are in a drawer.

    If I lived alone, using a phone/tablet as a controller, AirPlaying/Casting as needed, etc. might be the route. But with 3 of us in the household, I needed to consider how to make the use as easy/fluid as possible. Picking up the remote for 1 action, then an iPhone for another, etc. is not difficult, but is certainly not fluid.
     
  14. Rigby macrumors 601

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    Aug 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Jose, CA
    #14
    One difference is obviously the integrated power supply. The Roku stick needs an external supply (either a wall wart or USB power from the TV). The Apple TV also has more connectivity options. Using Ethernet rather than Wifi can make streaming video a lot more stable if you live in an area with lots of interference.
     
  15. TrueBlou macrumors demi-god

    TrueBlou

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    #15

    And thank goodness for that, the world would be an awfy place if we were all the same. I can't imagine anything worse than a world full of me's :D

    I used Plex on all of my Apple TVs so I didn't have issue with that. But I hate the Smart functions of my Samsung TV, I've just never bonded with it. I agree the Chromecast is really easy to use, but the lack of physical controls was the real killer for me.

    The Roku's are good devices. I've been a product tester for them for years so I've had most of them, nothing bad to say about them really.

    I've still got the Fire TV but it's not getting used much these days apart from emulators for the wife.

    I'm not in the least concerned about the lack of UK catch up services. For one, I've no doubt at all that they will all appear on the Apple TV eventually. I don't think it'll take long for most of them. I'm fairly confident that most iOS apps that are relevant to the Apple TV experience will make it across, seems odd if they don't.

    In the meantime, there's AirPlay from our iPhones and iPads. Plex will have most of them when it comes out as well, just as it does now. And that's before I think about using them on the Cable TV box, PlayStation 4, Xbox One or any number of other devices knocking about the house.
     
  16. southerndoc macrumors 65816

    southerndoc

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    May 15, 2006
    Location:
    USA
    #16
    I don't want a wireless dongle. I much prefer a unit with an ethernet port so I can plug it into my network. The less stuff I have streaming, the more speed and quicker response times for other wireless devices.
     
  17. Supermallet macrumors 65816

    Supermallet

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    Sep 19, 2014
    #17
    Everything I've read about the Roku and Amazon sticks is that they are noticeably underpowered vs the corresponding box version. That's a lot of tech to throw into a USB stick.
     
  18. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    Jun 2, 2010
    #18
    So ROKU has now announced their product and taking pre-orders. The whole streaming business just got a lot more interesting. I have never used a ROKU but with this spec It includes many of the things I would have liked to see in the Apple device I will definitely be getting one.

    http://uk.engadget.com/2015/10/06/roku-4-4k/
     
  19. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

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    Feb 4, 2008
    #19
    As I understand it the stick devices don't really help much if you have an A/V unit. I've run audio out of my TV into the A/V unit, but that sound is nowhere near as good as using the ATV. Also streaming on my ATV model 3 from my phone using the CBS app to watch Colbert is often choppy. So unless you're telling me a Chromecast stick or one of the others has more power than a full-sized ATV, I don't buy it. You get what you pay for.
     
  20. nebo1ss macrumors 68030

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    #20
    If you were using the optical out from the ATV you just lost that capability.
     
  21. jdag macrumors 6502a

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    Jun 15, 2012
    #21
    If the AVR has enough HDMI ports, you can plug 1 of the sticks directly into the AVR, just like you'd plug in an AppleTV. Then run a single HDMI cable to the TV. I did this with a FireTV Stick in the past.
     

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