My Apple TV 4 Experience

zawz

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Oct 17, 2015
1
2
I've been using the new Apple TV to do some testing this week. My post history on the new Apple TV has been pretty bullish on the changes that I expected to see, but based on my experience so far, I'm not quite as excited as I once was.

Granted, this could change based on software updates and the release of Apple's forthcoming TV subscription service and how new 3rd party apps leverage the platform, but this definitely doesn't feel like the leapfrog device I'd hoped for. For one, I was hoping that there would be a single, elegant content library on the home screen where you could browse through every show on every service. The reality is that only when you select a specific app that you place on your "home row" (5 available spots) will the highlighted content from that app be displayed above (independently of the other services). Universal search is nice, but not quite as frictionless of an experience as I'd hoped. If you search for a title, you can see the various services it's available on, but you still have to select each service's "tab" to see which seasons or episodes are available, rather than being indexed in one single listing. It also doesn't look like you can do any in-app queue management from tvOS, favoring Apple's "wish list" instead.

Voice search is especially appreciated because typing is still a huge pain. The touchpad is a little nicer than the old remote in some ways, but now you have to pick your thumb up multiple times and make multiple swipes to get all the way from left to right, rather than being able to hold for one continuous scroll. And because there is no cursor (just the 3D effect), you don't even know sometimes what is currently selected. And aside from searching, voice controls appear fairly limited. You can pull up stocks and weather, but not much else. Typing fields that I ran into couldn't be completed using voice.

Overall, it feels pretty much like the same old Apple TV with modest UI improvements on the scale that we all probably expected to have come to the device years ago. Though I still have hopes that the experience improves over time.
 

junglesnake

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2011
398
50
I've been using the new Apple TV to do some testing this week. My post history on the new Apple TV has been pretty bullish on the changes that I expected to see, but based on my experience so far, I'm not quite as excited as I once was.

Granted, this could change based on software updates and the release of Apple's forthcoming TV subscription service and how new 3rd party apps leverage the platform, but this definitely doesn't feel like the leapfrog device I'd hoped for. For one, I was hoping that there would be a single, elegant content library on the home screen where you could browse through every show on every service. The reality is that only when you select a specific app that you place on your "home row" (5 available spots) will the highlighted content from that app be displayed above (independently of the other services). Universal search is nice, but not quite as frictionless of an experience as I'd hoped. If you search for a title, you can see the various services it's available on, but you still have to select each service's "tab" to see which seasons or episodes are available, rather than being indexed in one single listing. It also doesn't look like you can do any in-app queue management from tvOS, favoring Apple's "wish list" instead.

Voice search is especially appreciated because typing is still a huge pain. The touchpad is a little nicer than the old remote in some ways, but now you have to pick your thumb up multiple times and make multiple swipes to get all the way from left to right, rather than being able to hold for one continuous scroll. And because there is no cursor (just the 3D effect), you don't even know sometimes what is currently selected. And aside from searching, voice controls appear fairly limited. You can pull up stocks and weather, but not much else. Typing fields that I ran into couldn't be completed using voice.

Overall, it feels pretty much like the same old Apple TV with modest UI improvements on the scale that we all probably expected to have come to the device years ago. Though I still have hopes that the experience improves over time.
Completely agree with you. I have been testing this for awhile now and it's really no different than the previous models except now you get a fancy remote and a new face lift! It's kind off disappointing to be honest in all areas. I think Apple has really not improved this device at ALL! Just the remote! I think from a outside perspective the roku 4 is a better device with ALOT more channels to choose from! Just my honest opinion.
 
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Frankied22

macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2010
1,684
454
Completely agree with you. I have been testing this for awhile now and it's really no different than the previous models except now you get a fancy remote and a new face lift! It's kind off disappointing to be honest in all areas. I think Apple has really not improved this device at ALL! Just the remote! I think from a outside perspective the roku 4 is a better device with ALOT more channels to choose from! Just my honest opinion.
It's got to be a lot faster than the third gen Apple TV.
 

junglesnake

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2011
398
50
Faster at what? Switching apps? Maybe a little but nothing worth spending money on if you already own one!
 

MrTemple

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2013
152
222
Canadian Pacific North Wilderness
The difference between the first iPhone and the iPhone 3G was minimal. In specs, and operating system.

What changed? Apps. Apps transformed the experience.

While 'apps' have existed on some TV-connected devices for a while now, we have not seen a full-fledged App ecosystem.

Apps will transform the TV experience as much as it transformed the mobile phone experience. It will completely change what the device is thought of. Before the App store, a phone was primarily a calling/texting device. Now it's a screen in your pocket that does practically anything you want it to do. What might you want the screen in your living room to do?

The new AppleTV is the modest device that is going to open the door to that TV App ecosystem.

I am quite excited. Maybe a little impatient too, but we're getting there.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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Scotland
Faster at what? Switching apps? Maybe a little but nothing worth spending money on if you already own one!
Seriously? Compared to the single core A5 in the Apple TV 3 the 64bit dual core A8 in the Apple TV 4 is ludicrously more powerful.

Your talking, in the region of, easily 6-700% more powerful CPU and an over 1000% more powerful GPU.

By comparison the Apple TV 3 is about half as powerful as an iPhone 4s. Compare that to what an iPhone 6 is capable of. A little more than just faster app switching I'd say.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
3,778
2,487
Scotland
Completely agree with you. I have been testing this for awhile now and it's really no different than the previous models except now you get a fancy remote and a new face lift! It's kind off disappointing to be honest in all areas. I think Apple has really not improved this device at ALL! Just the remote! I think from a outside perspective the roku 4 is a better device with ALOT more channels to choose from! Just my honest opinion.

Kind of hard to gauge how many channels/apps the Apple TV will have considering it hasn't got an AppStore yet.
 

Supermallet

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2014
1,307
647
The difference between the first iPhone and the iPhone 3G was minimal. In specs, and operating system.

What changed? Apps. Apps transformed the experience.

While 'apps' have existed on some TV-connected devices for a while now, we have not seen a full-fledged App ecosystem.

Apps will transform the TV experience as much as it transformed the mobile phone experience. It will completely change what the device is thought of. Before the App store, a phone was primarily a calling/texting device. Now it's a screen in your pocket that does practically anything you want it to do. What might you want the screen in your living room to do?

The new AppleTV is the modest device that is going to open the door to that TV App ecosystem.

I am quite excited. Maybe a little impatient too, but we're getting there.
Yes, that is the big question mark about the ATV going forward. Will apps revolutionize the TV space like it did the mobile space? Or are they unnecessary as the only apps we need are UIs to access our content?

When apps arrived for the iPhone I could immediately see the benefit. I had already jailbroken my 1st gen iPhone, so I knew the platform was capable of much more than just the few apps Apple had shipped it with. But what do I need in a set top box? Well, I'm a cord cutter, so I need Netflix, Hulu, Plex, Vudu, etc. I don't see the need to shop for a house or clothes through my TV. I don't see the need to play iOS games on my TV.

Personally I think this release is more of a testing ground than a real step forward. This release will let devs create apps and play around with them, and then Apple can release a more fully featured ATV 5 that will have their long rumored TV service and a nice collection of existing apps available on day one.
 

Supermallet

macrumors 65816
Sep 19, 2014
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Why not? Gaming on TV was/is and will be huge.
I have a PS4, Xbox One, and Wii U. Those more than serve all my gaming needs. I do play iOS games, but my iPhone and iPad are better interfaces for those games. I have an ATV 3 and have never even considered using Airplay to play an iOS game on my TV. I'm not saying there won't be good games for the ATV 4, I'm just saying that gaming is not something I want from a set top box.
 
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ntegra

macrumors regular
Oct 10, 2010
155
5
The new processor is for gaming, switching apps might be a millisecond quicker but that's about it. Loading content is all dependent on your network connection. I honestly see no other use for the new CPU besides gaming , and unless you're super casual you'll be gaming on current gen consoles or on PC.
 

phrehdd

macrumors 68040
Oct 25, 2008
3,266
725
I can remember for the longest time people feeling stymied by Apple's decision not to add certain features to the ATV. Now that they (finally) started to add them, it may be a bit late considering their competition.

Perhaps this should be renamed ATV 3.1
 

matrix07

macrumors 601
Jun 24, 2010
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I can remember for the longest time people feeling stymied by Apple's decision not to add certain features to the ATV. Now that they (finally) started to add them, it may be a bit late considering their competition.

Perhaps this should be renamed ATV 3.1
LOL. You can only laugh at comment like this.
 

TrueBlou

macrumors 68040
Sep 16, 2014
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I guess the question was more aimed at where the improved performance manifests itself in the user experience. Slowness was never a problem for me with the current Apple TV.
Very true, but the speed of the interface isn't something they are looking to improve. A new lick of paint, sure, but as you say the responsiveness of the interface was never an issue. Albeit the new interface is very fluid and certainly has some nice touches, I never tire of the little wiggle on the icons when you slide your thumb about on the trackpad.

This update is mainly about one thing, the AppStore, something many of us have been wanting for years.
 
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photosmike

macrumors member
Mar 10, 2010
71
1
I've been using the new Apple TV to do some testing this week. My post history on the new Apple TV has been pretty bullish on the changes that I expected to see, but based on my experience so far, I'm not quite as excited as I once was.

.


How well does the new remote control your TV, receiver, sound bar?
 

2010mini

macrumors 601
Jun 19, 2013
4,100
3,685
ITT

People who have yet to learn how Apple has dominated the market even though other manufacturers jump on the "we are first" and "specs is king" bandwagon.
 
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MrTemple

macrumors regular
Jun 11, 2013
152
222
Canadian Pacific North Wilderness
What makes the Apple TV app ecosystem more "full-fledged" than, say, the one for the Amazon Fire TV?
Number of developers, number of apps, quality of apps, these are the things that make an app ecosystem 'full-fledged'.

None of those things *require* an Apple App store, but as we've seen, developers are making the most money on Apple App stores, so the premiere content is gravitating there.
 
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Scarpad

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Jan 13, 2005
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I have a ATV3 I use it to AirPlay content from my iMac, stream from Comcast etc, I was going to jump on one, but I'm going to wait and see, watch the revues and comparisons, between the ATV4 , Roku 4
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,735
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Seriously? Compared to the single core A5 in the Apple TV 3 the 64bit dual core A8 in the Apple TV 4 is ludicrously more powerful.

Your talking, in the region of, easily 6-700% more powerful CPU and an over 1000% more powerful GPU.

By comparison the Apple TV 3 is about half as powerful as an iPhone 4s. Compare that to what an iPhone 6 is capable of. A little more than just faster app switching I'd say.
I could be wrong here but seem to remember reading that only one core of the A8 is functional in the Apple TV.
 

Rigby

macrumors 601
Aug 5, 2008
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San Jose, CA
Number of developers, number of apps, quality of apps, these are the things that make an app ecosystem 'full-fledged'.
Yeah, well, so far we have a few thousand apps for the Fire TV vs. how many for the Apple TV?
None of those things *require* an Apple App store, but as we've seen, developers are making the most money on Apple App stores, so the premiere content is gravitating there.
I doubt that the tvOS app market will be anywhere near as vibrant as the one for iOS. A TV streaming box is a much more limited device than a phone or tablet.