Apple TV (4th generation) Review
Apple TV (4th generation) is a streaming device that was released in October 2015 (R). This streaming device is a set-top box that plugs into the back of your television using the HDMI port. This device is Apple’s non-4K streaming device that combines speed with Apple’s classic stylish design.
The Apple TV device is a very capable streamer but for the price tag, you might want to examine some of the competitors or consider spending up for the Apple TV 4K version. Featuring the iOS-based tv OS this device has a very strong ecosystem and interface. The Siri-powered remote makes navigation via voice a great experience.
For many, this device will not be the best option, but it is great for cord-cutters who are already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem. This device is beginning to look a little outdated and we would like to see Apple make some upgrades and release the next generation.
Apple TV Hardware
Apple TV is an elegant device that displays Apple’s signature simplicity. The devices are far from simple under the hood. Apple’s streaming players are some of the most powerful on the market but are more expensive than most competitors.
Apple TV is a set-top box that plugs into your TV’s via an HDMI cable that connects to your television’s HDMI port. The device sports 32 GB of solid-state memory to store your apps and games. The back of the device contains HDMI video output, micro USB port, and Ethernet port. The device no longer has an optical audio output.
The Apple TV streaming device is very fast. It sports a 1.5 GHz dual-core Apple A8 CPU and an Apple A8 PowerVR Series 6XT GX6450 GPU. Also included is 2 GB LPDDR3 of memory. The Wi-Fi capabilities are also very good featuring the dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac antenna ensuring minimal lag and high streaming performance.
The remote is a flat, slender bar with curved edges that looks very stylish. The remote contains a Lightning connector on the bottom to be used for the rechargeable batteries. One of the best features of the Apple TV is the Siri controlled remote. On the top of the remote are two microphone holes for Siri’s voice control.
The remote has a built-in touchpad to navigate the interface. The touchpad physically clicks so you won’t accidentally trigger an unwanted click which separates it from other streaming device remotes. Another great feature is the remote operates off of Bluetooth technology so the remote doesn’t have to be in line-of-sight of the box.
Apple TV Performance
Despite this device being a few years old, the CPU and hardware provide for a very snappy and smooth viewing experience. Menus and videos are very quick to load. For a 1080p device, the video looks very sharp. The device isn’t capable of 4K resolutions so this may be a deal-breaker if you’re looking to upgrade your TV over the next few years as more 4K content becomes available.
Siri’s voice control is also very snappy. The device is capable of the ability to carry out topic-based searches and switch to live content in supporting apps. Currently, the Apple TV searches through 12 apps here in the US ( iTunes, HBO GO, HBO NOW, Hulu, Netflix, PBS, PBS Kids, SHOWTIME, SHOWTIME Anytime, FOX NOW, FXNOW, Nat Geo TV).
Apple TV also allows users to game. Even though most of the games are fairly low budget, the visual quality is particularly good. Apple TV isn’t going to compete against PS4 or Xbox One but there are a plethora of games available that run very smoothly on the A8 processor which is the same processor that runs the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus.
Apple TV Setup
Getting set up with Apple TV is very easy. Simply plug in the device, connect the HDMI cable to your TV, and turn on the device. If you have an iOS 9 iPhone you can simply hold the phone next to the streaming device and your iCloud and wireless network settings are automatically set up on the Apple TV. You will be asked to confirm on your phone but then you are done.
If you do not have an iPhone then you will need to manually enter your information when prompted on the Apple TV. This is actually where the Apple TV’s voice control becomes awesome because you don’t have to click through long passwords and usernames, you can simply use the voice control to enter your information.
Apple TV Channels and Applications
Apple TV gives users access to the Apple App Store which contains thousands of apps including video streaming services, music streaming services, and even games. Notably missing is Amazon services; however, AirPlay works quite well with Amazon Instant Video, so you can still actually watch your Amazon Prime movies on your television set through Apple TV.
Users can find free and paid content. Most games will costs between $1 – $5 and many users will choose to pay for content found on iTunes. Apple TV, as a standalone device, offers a lot of free content. Apple TV currently features the following channels: A&E, ABC, ABC News, ACC Sports, AOL On, Apple Events, Bloomberg, CBS, CBS News, CBS Sports, CNBC, CNNgo, Crackle, Computers, Crunchyroll, Dailymotion, Disney, Disney Junior, Disney XD, ESPN, Feeln, Flickr, FOX NOW, Fusion, FX NOW, FYI, HBO GO, HBO NOW, History, Hulu Plus, iCloud Photos, iMovie Theater, iTunes Festival, iTunes Radio, KORTV, Lifetime, M2M, MLB.TV, MLS, Movies, Music, NatGeo TV, NBA, NBC, NBC Sports Live Extra, Netflix, NFL, NHL, 120 Sports, PBS, PBS Kids, Podcasts, Qello, Radio, Red Bull TV, Showtime, Showtime Anytime, Smithsonian Channel, Sky News, Tastemade, TED, Tennis Channel Everywhere, The Beatles, The Scene, Trailers, tv shows, UFC, USA NOW, Vevo, Vimeo, Weather Channel, Willow, WSJ Live, WWE Network, Yahoo Screen, Young Hollywood, and YouTube.
Apple TV Technical Specs
USB-C (service only)
Apple TV Review Conclusion
Apple TV is a capable streaming device but it is beginning to become outdated. Cord-cutters would be best served going with the less expensive Roku Premiere or spending the little extra for the Apple TV 4K. The Apple ecosystem is very good and Siri’s voice technology keeps getting better and better. The device is capable is some gaming, but nothing that can replace a traditional console or PC. This device is for non-4K users who are heavily invested in Apple products.
Compare Amazon Fire TV Cube To Other Streaming Devices
Wondering how this streaming media player stacks up vs other devices? Compare our Amazon Fire TV Cube review to other popular streaming TV devices reviews. We have reviewed the most popular devices on the market including brands such as Amazon, Apple, Roku, and more. Check out our full list of device reviews here:
- AirTV – Dual network tuner that transmits OTA signals to a device connected television. Rating: 7.0; Price: Discontinued.
- AirTV Player – Unique device that combines streaming television with over-the-air antenna local channels in one platform. Rating: 6.4; Price: Discontinued.
- Amazon Fire TV Cube – Central hub for connecting and controlling all of your home theatre equipment including TV, cable box, and even audio equipment by using the Amazon Alexa voice control technology. Rating: 8.6; Price: $119.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick – Amazon’s budget streamer for cord-cutters looking to for 1080p resolution. Rating: 8.4; Price: $39.99.
- Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K – Amazon’s 4K streaming stick. Great value. Rating: 9.0; Price: $49.00.
- Apple TV – Original set-top box by Apple. Rating: 8.4; Price: $149.99.
- Apple TV 4K – One of the most powerful set-top boxes on the market. Apple’s 4K version. Rating: 9.2; Price: 32G $179.99 and 64G $199.99.
- Google Chromecast Dongle that allows users to cast from a separate device. Rating: 6.4; Price: $35.00.
- Google Chromecast Ultra – Google’s 4K version of the dongle. Powerful but awkward. Rating: 7.4; Price: $69.00.
- Roku Express – Ultra budget 1080p set-top box. Rating: 7.6; Price: $29.99.
- Roku Express+ Tiny set-top box for older televisions. Rating: 7.8; Price: $35.00.
- Roku Premiere – Inexpensive 4K and HDR10 streaming box. Rating: 8.6; Price: $39.99.
- Roku Premiere+ Upgraded version of the Premiere. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Ultra Top-of-line 4K and HDR set-top box. Rating: 9.6; Price: $99.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick Non-4K streaming stick for budget cord-cutters. Rating: 8.6; Price: $49.99.
- Roku Streaming Stick+ Very powerful 4K streaming stick for power cord-cutters. Rating: 9.6; Price: $49.99.