The Beard Blog Apple TV (2015) Review

For the last 3+ years, there as only been one Apple streaming device. The Apple TV (3rd Generation) has been around since 2012. It was a small upgrade over the 2nd generation device which debuted the previous year. Since 2012, there has been a plethora of new devices to compete against the widely-popular Apple TV. Amazon, Roku, Google, and almost every TV manufacturer have introduced a way to consume content over the internet. Most of them have been hit or miss, but by 2015 Amazon and Roku have cornered the market. This left a hole for consumers of the Apple ecosystem since the 3rd generation Apple TV was limited to Apple provided apps only. 

More info about Apple TV

The new Apple TV

I currently use a mixture of devices to watch content and it always seemed that I needed a different device for certain services. I do a lot of local content playback from my home server. The Apple TV never had a great local playback system outside of iTunes Home Sharing. The app/service ‘Plex’ has recently gotten so good that I use it exclusively for not only local playback but also some streaming videos. Only some devices supported Plex like PlayStations, Rokus, and Smart TVs.

Setting up your new Apple TV is a breeze. If you have a modern iPhone running the latest version of iOS, you’ll have no problems. You pair your iPhone to the Apple TV and the system does the rest, including joining wifi.

Just like when the Apple Watch launched, there are a ton of apps available on day one. Most of these apps look like their iPhone/iPad counterparts, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some apps have be redesigned for the TV and look great. Navigation is very easy and the user interface seems to be the same across most apps.

The new Siri Remote is the most underrated feature of the new Apple TV. It’s very flat and pleasing to the eye, and has a very simple button layout. If you’ve used a previous generation Apple TV, you’ll recognize some of the buttons and their functions, like the Menu and Play/Pause buttons. Some new buttons include the TV (Home), Siri, and volume up/down buttons. Without having to do a thing, the Siri Remote automatically adjusts your TVs volume, it’s like magic! Using Siri is similar to the iPhone in that you can ask for weather and sports scores, but also you can search for content within certain apps on the Apple TV. Right now only some apps support this, but app developers can add this functionality.

Siri Remote

At first I didn’t think I would like gaming on my Apple TV. I’m a very casual gamer now on my iPhone and iPad. I prefer the traditional console gaming of my PS4 and Wii U. Because iOS games usually require one input method or minimal involvement, they work great on the TV. My favorite thus far has been ‘Crossy Road’ on the Apple TV. It now supports multiplayer where you can play the game with a friend on the same wifi network with an iOS device. This is a great example of where gaming can go on the new Apple TV.

The Good

  • Best remote of any similar device
  • Great interface and navigation
  • Tons and tons of apps and games
  • Still small enough to hide
  • AC Wireless
  • Some Siri support

The Bad

  • 100meg ethernet port
  • All apps don’t support Siri search
  • No iOS Remote app or bluetooth keyboard support

The new Apple TV is, of course, the best Apple TV to date, but I believe it’s also the best device of it’s kind. Between the Roku 4 and the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV has them beat in almost every category. When you want to watch something on your TV, you need ease-of-use as well as reliable functionality and Apple has taken those philosophies from their other products and transferred it perfectly to the Apple TV. I can’t wait to see what gets added with upcoming software updates. I’m also intrigued to see if we’ll see a more frequent hardware release of this Apple TV. BB