Explain to me: Apple TV 101??

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jedi5, May 10, 2017.

  1. Jedi5 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    So I have a question that hopefully you that know more might be able to educate me here.

    With all the fancy smart TVs loaded with apps, why would you still need an Apple TV?

    I remember at one time it was to stream X, Y, and Z.
    But smart TVs come loaded with Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc...
    If I want to watch Netflix, on DishTV I'll just go to the Dish channel Netflix is on and no need for Apple TV.
    I want to stream my music, I'll get the Spotify app on my smart TV and no need for Apple TV.

    Yeah I know iTunes...
    What if you don't use iTunes as your music or movies aren't on there?

    I ask because I've been looking to stream from my iPad to TV.
    I'm either going to keep it simple and just the AV adapter or if I truly understand Apple TV, I'll just buy that.

    So what am I missing here with the appeal for Apple TV?

  2. PhoenixDown macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2012
    Unfortunately the smart TV apps are not updated as often, if at all. Consequently, as your TV ages you may not be able to take advantage of certain features and improvements rolled out on services like Netflix, Hulu, etc.

    If you are not using iTunes, then perhaps a Roku or FireTV or Chromecast or Nvidia would be better solutions for you.

    I use itunes for my movies so I have and use an AppleTV. I really like it but I wish it had 4k and an app for Amazon Prime and Vudu. I do use the native smart TV apps for that today but may end up getting a Roku at some point.
  3. kohlson macrumors 68000

    Apr 23, 2010
    I think you're correct - not a clear and compelling case. But we use our 3rd Gen ATV to screen share, watch HBO Go, Netflix, and of course rent/stream movies. You can do some of this with other streamers, like Roku and TV apps. Just the other day we had 3 of us reviewing something in FCPX over Airplay to the TV. When we first installed ATV, it worked way better for us than other interfaces, but they probably caught up by now.
  4. bluespark macrumors 68000

    Jul 11, 2009
    If someone just wants to watch movies on something like Amazon Prime or Netflix, a smart TV may be enough. And the Apple TV currently lacks Amazon Prime. But smart TV interfaces tend to be slow and clunky and the apps themselves often are stripped-down (not the above two examples, however). Also, you lose Airplay and any other supported apps, which include games and most interactive apps, Siri, etc., and a TV is much harder to update than an Apple TV. Also, some TV manufacturers use oddball operating systems, such as Samsung's use of Tizen, which may not be updated as often as something more mainstream.

    Still, you're correct at least as to mainstream content for users with straightforward needs. If you have a recent, good, smart TV, that may be enough for you. It just depends.

    Also, although I'm not sure you were implying this, AppleTV doesn't just play iTunes content. It has a really good version of Plex, for example.
  5. techwarrior macrumors 65816


    Jul 30, 2009
    I try to steer clear of things like Smart TV, DVD\VHS combo, Home Theater with DVD or Blu Ray. Inevitably, one of the component fails or becomes outdated and the whole solution loses it's favor. TV will be useful for 10 + years, but the "Smart" part may not be updated beyond a few years. With a separate streaming box, if it breaks or a better option becomes available, swap it and enjoy the benefits. for relatively little cost

    I use ATV4 for a variety of things. I watch OTA local channels via antenna and the Tablo app on ATV. I am trying DirecTV Now (so so service but slowly improving), and of course Netflix, Hulu, and on demand apps from many of the networks. I also stream iPad\iPhone and Mac audio or video content via Airplay, stream non-iTunes content via VLC and Infuse, listen to Pandora\iHeart\Spotify, and have access to photos and videos from my iPhone. My ATV is connected to the TV via Home Theater system, and a second ATV\TV to a soundbar. I am able to airplay audio to multiple rooms which is nice when I have a house full of guests.

    With a robust App store, the ATV platform seems to have a lot of potential. Amazon Prime video is reported to be coming to ATV soon, so that will offer another option. Every year, Apple updates OS on ATV with new features and functionality, who knows where it will lead.

    That said, if the SmartTV offers everything you need, stick with it. To me, the only tangible benefit SmartTV offers is convenience of not having to switch inputs, but my ATV setup never requires input changes, it is the only device connected to my TV.

    I suspect IP TV is the future of live broadcast, and AppleTV will be a frontrunner in apps to take advantage of those new offers. Cable and Satellite companies are jumping on board IP TV, it seems just a matter of time before they abandon legacy and costly networks to provide those services. I wonder if SmartTV will be as quick to offer these kinds of apps without requiring purchase of a new SmartTV.

    There have also been reports of questionable privacy with Samsung and Google products, I prefer the Apple platform as they tend to value customer's privacy.
  6. tdhurst macrumors 601


    Dec 27, 2003
    Phoenix, AZ
    I've had a smart tv for years and have never used it for more than a TV connected to an Apple TV or a Roku player.

    No way I'm dealing with crappy apps that are never updated using an interface designed for everyone, the new AppleTV is so much better at all of those things.

    Also, I don't have cable or an antenna.
    --- Post Merged, May 10, 2017 ---
    Plex has changed the way we watch TV, in a good, good way.
  7. Jedi5 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    Thanks everyone for all the great info.

    I don't stream that much as is but I wanted to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything.
    Doesn't sound like I am.

    From the sounds of it, it seems like if I just get the $40 adapter, I won't be missing much not getting the
    the Apple TV.

    Thanks again.

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6 May 10, 2017