Why I love my 4th Generation Apple TV

Both my wife and I are very happy with the Apple TV so I thought I would share with you what we like (and don’t like). This is real life experience, not in an office like one review I saw recently but for us watching TV shows and Movies. And important to note, we are in Canada so that does impact what we see – so no HBO or Hulu for example. My TV is a Sony Bravia at maybe 5 or 6 years old.

It is easier to start with what I don’t like:

  • I don’t like how password entry changed but I can live with it. With some practice you can be fairly fast and smooth though. As of 9.2 I can use a keyboard, or speak out the password or letter entry stuff so that is cool.
  • I don’t like how Apple Remote and Bluetooth keyboards are not supported. This doesn’t hurt us and I think both will be fixed soon. As of 9.2 keyboards are supported.
  • I do not like how TV episodes are sorted for fashion and looks great, but I always need to scroll to the far right to find the current episode.  We had one update so far and still not fixed. As of 9.2 this has been fixed.  Now, when you complete an episode it shows immediately as finished, and when you access a series, the prompt to play shows now the next one you should watch.  If you down arrow from it you end up the next to watch episode.  So fixed real well.

Or things that need to be improved.

  • Siri control of Apple Music should be part of it and I have heard by early next year it should be. We don’t miss it but I think we would like it if it was available in the TV.
  • When you have purchased a TV season, the older version Apple TV would show the seen and not seen episodes a little more efficiently. You have to look a little to find the exact one you should continue watching. This also seems to vary a little too (a month in this has become something I don’t like). As of 9.2 fixed as I mention above.

What we like:

  • My TV is old, but it works great with Apple TV. Now of course anything with HDMI will work to show pictures but this version of Apple TV will control TV on/off, input for Apple TV, and volume.  So that all works with my old TV.
  • I really like how Bluetooth headphones work. They connect first time easy, and then when you turn them on, the TV is muted, and the volume on the Siri Remote now controls your headphones instead of the TV volume.
  • The Siri Remote “what did he say” feature is great. It goes back a few seconds and turns on captions and continues. Very nicely done.
  • I also use the “go back x seconds” or “go back y minutes” and quite like it.
  • The separate Menu, and Home buttons are handy – much more so then I though they might be.
  • Press and hold of the Home button turns off TV, and Apple TV. And turns them on too. If I had been watching TV (via DVR) and turned off stuff using TV or DVR remote, and then turned on with Apple TV Sir Remote it comes on to the Apple TV not the DVR.
  • I love being able to use Siri to ask for things like action moves, and then ask it again for only James Bond movies so cool and useful. Can do things like say latest comedies is a great way to start looking for something to watch.
  • I find it useful to ask about weather while watching something, or about an actor, or a movie location and get answers while watching.  I hear stock prices work that way too but haven’t had the heart to look.
  • Basically I find Siri very useful and very well implemented.
  • Netflix has always works great with Apple TV and it continues to do so. It seems to support profiles better now too.
  • My wife in particular really likes being able to search for a show and see when it is on iTunes for a price or on Netflix for no cost. It is good to have options.
  • I also like how when I am just looking at movies or TV I can easily see a good description from Wikipedia.
  • I was watching one of my current favorite TV shows last night and as I was goofing around with the remote I realized that this new Apple TV seems to cache more of a show then the previous generation.  I have only seen that so far on one show but I know it is different then that same show on the old hardware.  I have heard people talk about how this new hardware can cache more but it does seem to be true.  Makes me happy I bought the 64 GB one.
  • I quite like having my Photos Cloud library available on the Apple TV now.
  • Another new thing – at least to me – that I think showed up with 9.2 is that when I connect my Bluetooth headphones, it automatically mutes the sound so that only my headphones hear things.  Nice.

Things that we may like but are not sure yet:

  • There are some interesting cooking type shows that may be interesting.
  • Our national News – CBC has an app and that may be a nice way to keep track of current events. But not sure yet.

It is safe to say that I do not think this is a revolutionary product, but it is certainly a big improvement and it has definitely changed for the better how we watch TV / Videos. I already got rid of cable but if I hadn’t it would certainly be easy! With the changes as of 9.2 I am really impressed and happy!

Update:

  • 3/31/16 – updated with improvements from the recent tvOS 9.2.  See this article for more info on 9.2.
  • 11/27/15 – The manual for the TV is only online.  And it is full of very good info.  Check it out here.
  • 11/26/15 – added the negative on how the sorting of TV episodes is from episode 1, season 1 to whatever.  You always have to scroll to the far right to find the latest episode to watch.  Needs fixing.
  • 11/7/15 – added the last comment on why I like about how it seems to cache more.

Michael

=== END ===

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