The Upgraded Apple TV Doesn’t Impress Everyone

The Upgraded Apple TV Doesn’t Impress Everyone
Apple TV Julien GONG Min / Flickr CC BY 2.0

Although Apple describes its fourth-generation Apple TV as the “future of TV,” early reviews claim that while there is a lot of capacity and room for improvement, it does lack the charm that would deem it revolutionary.


The Apple TV is priced at $149 for 32 GB and $199 for 64GB versions, more expensive than the Amazon Fire TV or the Roku 4, priced at $99 and $130, respectively.

According to the New York Post, Apple TV’s new tvOS operating system will feature a wealth of apps. With a new remote control, which has been described as “revolutionary” by Apple chief Tim Cook, users can give Siri voice commands. Furthermore, the remote features a touchpad like a MacBook.

However, not everything seems pleasant. Brian X. Chen of the New York Times says that users will have to use the remote to select one letter at a time on the on-screen keyword, making the process cumbersome and tedious. “When you install streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix from the App Store, you type in your login credentials by swiping left and right with the remote to select letters of the alphabet one at a time—you have no option to do this by speaking into the microphone or using a keyboard on a smartphone,” Chen said.

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Yahoo’s David Pogue echoed the sentiment. “It’s excruciating,” he said, describing the on screen keyboard which has all 26 alphabets in a single line as an “absurdly designed layout.” He further adds, “Apple robs you of the second dimension, which would mean less travel from letter to letter.”

Although the process of setting up the Apple TV has been made easier – one can place their iPhone running on iOS 9.1 with Bluetooth activated near the TV – problems arise when a user is upgrading to a newer version. One cannot restore all the apps from an older version, forcing users to reinstall every app.

Several reviewers agree that Siri, the voice activated assistant, has made using Apple TV simpler. “Siri can also do follow-up questions,” Walt Mossberg wrote for The Verge. “I asked for movie mysteries, and it showed me a ton. Then I said ‘only the good ones,’ and it edited the list down based on critics’ ratings.” Its capabilities also include pausing or fast forwarding playback and rewinding to a particular scene in case one missed a dialogue.

Nevertheless, what has been criticised by early reviewers is that Siri works with only a few apps. It hasn’t been made available for YouTube or channels like NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS.

“I don’t know when, if ever, Apple will reinvent TV,” Mossberg said. “But this isn’t the moment.”