The new(er) Apple TV

When the 4th generation Apple TV was announced a few weeks back, my initial response was basically “take my money!”

But then, I had second thoughts, and I didn’t order one at the start of the week when they were first available. I don’t really know why, my heart just wasn’t in it. I decided I’d wait it out and let others figure out all the kinks. However, on launch day I had a change of heart and decided to stop by the Apple Store and pickup a 32GB model.

I have two of the 3rd generations units, and the 2nd generation, and while I love them for all they do, I have been patiently waiting for Apple to revolutionize TV. I want a single TV solution from Apple that makes my life as a cord cutter better. Unfortunately, that still hasn’t happened yet, but it’s a nice box.

Pros:

  • Universal search, with Siri, is fantastic. Telling the box to “show me the latest Ben Affleck movies” results in unified results with content from all the major providers like iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, and HBO. Selecting a title brings you to the one that is the best option based on if you’re paying for streaming or if you’d have to buy it. (ex: Gone Girl is available on HBO, and iTunes, but it defaults to HBO.)
  • New remote is very handy, and a nice upgrade from the previous one. The touch sensitive panel is very sensitive and takes some getting used to. I’ve used the motion controller on a couple of games, and it’s fun but not something I’d probably do a lot of.
  • The volume control and TV power is controller through the new remote, and I didn’t have to do anything to program it.
  • The App Store. Yeah, that’s pretty self explanatory.

Cons:

  • The current iOS Remote application that can control my 2G/3G units doesn’t work with the new Apple TV. No using the iOS keyboard to enter search terms on your TV.
  • You cannot pair a bluetooth keyboard (even the Apple ones) to the Apple TV, either.
  • The first two combine to make initial setup with logging into accounts, a real pain in the ass when you have super complex passwords for everything.

Overall, I very much like the new box. There probably isn’t a day that goes by where it doesn’t get used. I’m going to be adding an OTA network tuner and downloading the Channels app this week to replace switching inputs on my TV to a dedicated antenna. I’ll probably also pickup another box for the downstairs TV and then gift my 3rd generation units out to the family for the holidays.