Apple TV 2015 edition – review roundup | Techno stream

Apple TV 2015 edition – review roundup

30 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Apple TV 2015 edition – review roundup.

Apple TV was a “hobby” for the company for a long time, but after selling more than 25m units, Apple is getting serious about its set-top box in 2015.Apple’s loyal army of software developers is joining the tech giant in its bid to conquer the living room with a new version of Apple TV, creating apps for the big screen that they hope will attract users and unlock a rich source of revenue.If you didn’t buy into the new Apple TV enough to actually buy into it, good news: starting tomorrow, you can walk into an actual store and hand human beings money in return for Apple’s promised Future Of Television.

On Thursday I came to grips with the new touchpad remote and chatting to Siri, but for many people the most exciting thing about the fourth-generation Apple TV is the appearance of the App Store. But is the hype – “the future of TV is apps” – correct, or will Apple TV struggle against cheaper rivals like Amazon’s Fire TV and Google’s Chromecast? The Apple TV has the potential to be a lot more than a set-top box: Its new tvOS operating system, like that of the iPhone’s iOS, will serve as a platform for hundreds of apps.

Although developers have already been able to make apps for smart TV rivals, Apple’s vast base of developers will set the device apart, analysts say. And developers say they relish the opportunity to reach users in a more intimate setting. “It’s a phenomenal opportunity to fit into people’s lives when they are comfortably sitting on their sofa,” said Madefire CEO Ben Wolstenholme, whose app features vivid digital books. A bigger selling point for many is the slick new remote control, which Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook hailed as “revolutionary.” It does a pretty good job acting on Siri voice commands like “Show ’80s romantic comedies,” writes Geoffrey Fowler of the Wall Street Journal.

In another bonus, the new remote has a touchpad like a MacBook, eliminating the need for a bulky monstrosity that carries dozens of buttons and arrow keys. Most of them are flotsam and jetsam at this point but it shouldn’t take developers long to get onboard now that they no longer need to jump through so many hoops.

Yet the TV, which starts at $149, has some advantages over other devices: People are accustomed to spending money on entertainment, and they will be engaged for longer, said Danielle Levitas, a senior vice president at research firm App Annie. Nevertheless, users will frequently still have to use this fancy remote to hunt and peck, one letter at a time, through an on-screen keyboard to find movies. “It’s excruciating,” gripes Yahoo’s David Pogue, blasting an “absurdly designed layout” for the on-screen keyboard that puts all 26 letters of the alphabet on a single line. Elsewhere, some reviewers were disappointed that the Siri commands only worked with a few key apps, and that its handy search capabilities aren’t available for YouTube or broadcast channels like NBC, CBS, ABC and PBS. For now Apple TV owners have a few apps to choose from – mostly streaming services and games but also a handful of “experience” apps like Airbnb for browsing rentals, Kitchen Stories for cooking tips, Craftsy for tutorials and Zova for exercise – alluding to the Apple TV’s potential as a Wii-style family device. That’s particularly unfortunate, according to Yahoo’s Pogue, as Amazon’s video service “is looking like it’s going to be the new Netflix, now that Netflix is de-emphasizing movie acquisition.”

It will be interesting to see whether, like iOS, some apps are only available in the US – a quick look at the US store already reveals games which aren’t available in Australia. With the freedom to install apps Apple also grants you the ability to reorganise the apps the home screen, plus you can double-click the home button to call up an iOS-style app switcher.

It lets you play plenty of games, but titles originally designed for phones and tablets aren’t necessarily as appealing on a big screen, and most work best with a third-party game controller. I don’t know who to blame, Amazon or Apple or the streaming gods themselves…” “Apple points out that Apple TV runs a 1.0 operating system, called tvOS.

All of that is fine, but you have to wonder: Why is Apple still frantically squashing bugs three days before the product ships? (The answer is, no doubt, ‘Because we can’t miss the holiday season, no matter what.’)” “Limitations are everywhere. Only a small handful of apps work with Siri search right now – iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, and Showtime – so finding something in, say, the ESPN or CBS apps isn’t possible. You can still take a big swing at the ball and there’s an optional wrist strap, which could be a wise investment if you’re not in the market for a new television.

And once Siri drops you into a streaming app from that universal search, it’s a free-for-all – they all have different interfaces and recommendation engines, and none of them talk to each other.” “As good as Siri has become, it feels limited on this device. By making the set-top box a part of its giant app and services ecosystem, the company is moving Apple TV into a future that’s much broader and bigger than Roku’s or Amazon’s.” “All the extra features have now put Apple TV in a position to become a powerful apps and games console, not just a box for streaming movies and TV shows. Even for those more basic elements, the device is better at streaming video content than less expensive products from Amazon, Roku and Google, all of which I tested over the last month. Tilting the remote to steer works well, although it’s surprising that Apple hasn’t forced every game to use the remote the same way so sometimes you’ll need to turn it around in your hands as you switch games. If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, you get a huge variety of content – even from network broadcast stations – that’s easier to find and navigate than using a browser on your laptop.

This won’t bother everyone, but it’s another frustration compared to other consoles which generally make it easy for everyone in the house to track their progress and play at their own speed. The comments section is open for your early thoughts on it – or, indeed, if you’ve been using one of the rival devices and have views to share on how Apple TV will compete with them. It’s a little top heavy and not as comfortable as the PlayStation VR (I wear glasses and it was weighing down on them quite heavily, leaving behind a red mark on my nose that later disappeared), but the visual experience it provided was just as good, if not slightly better in some instances.

This is largely thanks to the two specially designed controllers made for it that offer slightly more functionality and freedom than PlayStation’s Move controllers (those glowing coloured orbs on a stick). Sold as a game set during a zombie apocalypse, you’ll supposedly be able to bash, slash and explode your way through hordes of undead once its final version is out. As the title suggests, you’re an office worker tasked with completing a series of mundane tasks: Eating doughnuts; firing employees using a large “fired’ stamp after grabbing the employee’s file from a filing cabinet; making a coffee; plugging in PC and printer power cables; and logging into a computer to print out a photo. Apart from the fun games, the Vive also has a pretty nifty feature that I haven’t seen in any of the Sony’s PlayStation VR demos I’ve played so far that prevents you from running into walls. Then, once in the game, if you walk too close to a wall in the real world then a virtual representation of it is overlaid on top of the virtual world you’re in to prevent you from a collision.

Mcree, HTC senior manager of product marketing, said it was unlikely for some time due to the fact 15-20 gigabits per second of data is currently being fed to the Vive headset, and wireless technologies aren’t fast enough to deal with that just yet. One can only hope boffins can make wireless go faster sometime soon, or VR headset engineers can find some magical compression algorithm for the video, and a way to have low latency, wireless gaming. And that’s the final thing I wanted to point out about the Vive: all the demos I tried were all about walking around, whereas the demos for most Sony games required you to be sitting.

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