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Sunday 8 November 2015

The Review | NEW  TV (4th Generation)

Finally, after over 3 years the Apple TV has received a much needed extensive hardware & UI update. This time around Apple has signalled that the end is now for traditional TV channels and that the future is apps.

Joining the updated little black box beneath your TV set is a neat new remote control that utilises both touch and voice with the help of Siri functionality. It consists of just 6 buttons that are used for the basics like volume controls and menus options. The star of the show here is the touch screen technology that enables you to swipe around the user interface and simply tap to delve into an app - a very similar experience to the newer Macbook Pro trackpads. This consistency between devices continues on the home screen of the new Apple TV, which has been refreshed with a much similar yet  colourful look - something similar to the latest version of iTunes on PC or Mac. The new interface shares the same UI and UX cues as iOS 9 and OS X El Capitan. From the font to the images, everything looks modern — yet familiar.

I've never invested in any of the previous generations of the Apple TV purely because i've only really seen it as a way to stream content that I already own via iTunes or watch TV shows and other video content via basic apps like Netflix & YouTube. I purchased a new 4K Smart TV earlier on this year, which has all of that functionality so why would I need a separate set top box to stream said content? 

When Apple announced the new Apple TV at an event on Sept 9th this year, the factor that changed my mind was the idea of gaming and shopping on the device. I have to say I'm very impressed with the results! Although there aren't currently a huge number of apps in these categories to choose from, there are certainly some real stars including Crossy Road and Airbnb. If you've got a big TV then this is certainly the perfect way to shop and play games. For years, developers have wanted to build and sell apps on Apple TV and now they can with the addition of tvOS. I'm sure we can expect a huge number of apps to flood the new Apple TV before the year is out. 

One of the few downsides to the Apple TV is the process by which you sign in to various apps and services. For some odd reason the device doesn't remember you're log in credentials for apps such as YouTube, which requires you to sign in with both the e-mail address and password - easier said than done with the new Siri remote. This seems lazy from Apple - they've already got all my log in info linked with my Apple ID so just use it here like they would across iPhone/iPad/Mac etc. ?

The Verdict

The Apple TV has a starting price of £129 for the 32GB option, which means it's certainly not cheap when compared to competitors like Amazon Fire or Chromecast that are half the price. If you're already part of Apple's ecosystem it makes sense to pay the premium and go with the Apple TV, however if you already have a smart TV with a breadth of interesting apps then I wouldn't bother with the upgrade this time around.


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