Siri, Apps and a New Remote Help Apple TV Grow Up

 
 
By Pedro Hernandez  |  Posted 2015-11-06
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Previous
    Siri, Apps and a New Remote Help Apple TV Grow Up
    Next

    Siri, Apps and a New Remote Help Apple TV Grow Up

    The fourth-generation Apple TV is bigger and heavier than its predecessor, and comes with a new remote and a refreshed UI to make navigating apps easier.
  • Previous
    Make a Little More Room
    Next

    Make a Little More Room

    The new Apple TV is bigger than its puck-like predecessor. Luckily, the only direction it has grown is up (1.4 inches versus 0.9 inches), meaning that it will fit in the same footprint as the old model. Design-wise, it stays true to tradition with its familiar black plastic casing and singular white LED status indicator.
  • Previous
    An Improved Remote
    Next

    An Improved Remote

    The bundled Siri Remote is a major improvement over the sleek but limited controller that shipped with older versions of Apple TV. It's Bluetooth-enabled and packs a clickable touch-pad, gyroscope and accelerometer. A dual-remote design helps Siri pick up commands and questions well. It also charges with a Lightning cable (included) so finding replacement batteries is less of a concern. In hand, it's much more comfortable to use than the tiny, hard-edged remote it replaces.
  • Previous
    Super Simple Setup
    Next

    Super Simple Setup

    Have an iPhone? By turning on Bluetooth and holding it near the new Apple TV, users can shave several minutes off the set-up process by grabbing WiFi network and Apple account settings. It's similar to the automatic set-up option in the third-generation Apple TV and worked flawlessly in this case.
  • Previous
    No Remote App Support
    Next

    No Remote App Support

    Bad news if you need to set up your Apple TV from scratch. Text input is still a pain, made worse by Apple's decision not to support the new hardware in its Remote app for iOS devices. Though swiping the touch-pad on the new remote makes nearly everything better on the new Apple TV (more on that later), it doesn't help much in entering passwords or search terms.
  • Previous
    Fresh-Faced UI
    Next

    Fresh-Faced UI

    The new user interface (UI) is similar to the old one, except that it now features a lighter color palette, smoother transitions and an all-round more modern look. It's a pleasant place to binge-watch the day away.
  • Previous
    Smooth Operator
    Next

    Smooth Operator

    A snappy UI aside, so far the new Apple TV has delivered rock-solid video and audio streaming, though your mileage may vary, depending on broadband and network conditions. Apps load quickly, and jumping between modes has yet to elicit an on-screen progress indicator.
  • Previous
    All About the Apps
    Next

    All About the Apps

    Admittedly, it's early days, and the app selection is limited. Plus, it's debatable whether apps translate well to TV. There are some glimmers of hope. Travel apps like Airbnb and TripAdvisor are particularly well-suited for couch-based consumption, and a smattering of fitness apps are available for those looking for guided workouts at home. Watch this space.
  • Previous
    A Capable Games Machine
    Next

    A Capable Games Machine

    It's no PlayStation 4, but it's up to the task of delivering good casual gaming experiences. Its showcase title, Crossy Road, works well with Siri Remote. For those who like more tactile controls in some games, the new Apple TV supports some Bluetooth controllers like the SteelSeries Nimbus.
  • Previous
    Siri's Here to Help
    Next

    Siri's Here to Help

    Siri is a major time-saver on the new Apple TV, allowing users to launch apps with a simple command. She can search movies by genre and even steer users clear of duds and box-office bombs by basing her recommendations on Rotten Tomatoes ratings.
  • Previous
    No 4K
    Next

    No 4K

    The Apple TV supports 1080p TVs, not the newer, more affordable 4K models flooding the market. This is disappointing, considering the company has embraced 4K resolution in its latest 21.5-inch iMac. On the bright side, buyers won't be missing much since 4K streaming content is still rare.
 

After its introduction in September, the new Apple TV is finally available for anyone to purchase. After several months of putting up with a slow, low-res (720p) and increasingly unreliable second-generation version of the unit, the new Apple TV's arrival was welcome. I decided it was time for an upgrade. I picked up the 32GB model for $149. Now in its fourth generation, the streaming set-top box is bigger and heavier than the third-generation model; that's evident the moment someone picks up its minimalist packaging. The new Apple TV also comes with a new remote, a big improvement over the slim silver wand that forced users to click-click-click their way to their desired content in the past. A touch-pad makes navigating the refreshed UI and interacting with apps—yes apps—a breeze. Speaking into the remote's dual microphones helps Siri launch apps, hunt down the right TV show or delve into information on a film, like who directed it or who stars in it. The new Apple TV is also now a games machine. Though it doesn't match the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One in raw performance, it expertly supersizes today's popular mobile games. Keep reading for some early impressions of the new Apple TV.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
 
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters























 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Rocket Fuel