Apple TV – why it sucks

apple tvI was given an Apple TV by my employer as a Christmas gift. Here is my review of why Apple TV is terrible.
The main problems are features and quality.

The Apple TV lacks features. Badly. If even the most basic and ancient smart TV or media device can come shipped with BBC iPlayer, why can the Apple TV also not have it? Why can it not have 4OD? ITV Player? The list of omissions is pretty long.

The list of application with which is ships is also long, but pretty crappy. I have no desire for the Wall Street Journal, Major League Baseball, or most of the other stupid apps it contains. The only app I can see myself using is NetFlix and maybe YouTube.

In addition to lacking features, those it does have it implements very badly.
In the first 20 minutes of playing with the device, we saw these issues:

  • Buffering. Note that none of our other device ever suffer buffering.
  • Failure to start playing content (no “buffering”, just a blank screen)
  • Inability to link to an iPhone 4S using bluetooth
  • AirPlay sucks. If you are doing anything other than showing a photo, the quality of the image sent from the iPhone to the TV is terrible.
  • AirPlay does not work with many apps (or vice-versa). To try to work around the omission of the 4OD player we tried to send the iPhone’s 4OD media to the TV using ApplyTV. But it refused. That’s crap.
  • More stuttering and buffering. Again, note that none of our other device ever suffer buffering.
  • A complete loss of wifi connectivity. A reboot fixed it. None of the other devices lost their wifi signal at the same time.

On the positive side, we liked this:

  • The interface is pretty good.
  • The content delivered via iTunes is very good, when it is not buffering. We liked the way that our library of music was now available via the big hifi,in addition to on the iPhone.
  • The rewind feature of the media player is excellent, very much like an old-fashioned VCR or cassette tape. Compare that to BBC iPlayer, which jumps back in whole-minute steps.

All in all, the Apple TV offers very little and that which it does offer is poor.
If I had paid for this, rather than received it as a gift, I would have returned it.
Do not buy.

Leave a Reply