1. CrackBerry Kevin's Avatar
    So here's my quick Apple TV backstory/history:

    - I've owned every generation of Apple TV since it first came out
    - For personal use, I mainly use it for consuming content (iTunes rented/purchased movies), Netflix, Podcasts
    - For work use, I often Airplay to it (screensharing my laptop on a big screen tv when I have colleagues over and we're working on stuff
    - I currently am using THREE Third Gen Apple TV's - one in my bedroom, and two at the office.
    - I have ONE Fourth Gen Apple TV - the one in my living room that me and my wife primarily use to watch movies and tv shows

    When I read Rene Ritchie's article on Should I Upgrade to the New Apple TV article (if you don't know Rene, he's iMore's illustrious Editor in Chief who I respect A LOT), I was optimistic that the new Apple TV would be an upgrade in every single way.

    Instead, both me and my wife quickly went BONKERS over some basic usability issues / annoyances, namely:

    1. The New Remote, in our opinion, is a clusterf*ck of epic proportions: The touch pad is uber sensitive to use, and it's way to easy to accidentally press on it (your leg touches it when it's sitting on the couch and it's not in your hand and you accidentally pause or start forwarding/rewinding in shows) and the all black color scheme makes it harder to find in the dark (which, you know.. a lot of people watch movies with the lights off) and because the buttons are more centralized, it makes it really easy to pick up the remote backwards. You think you're holding it the right way, but it turns out your not so you start hitting the wrong buttons or swiping on the wrong end of the remote.

    2. The UI is more difficult to use. For starters, on the 3rd generation Apple TV you always have the "ring" around selected items on the screen. So if you look away and look back at the static screen, you always can easily see where the "cursor" is and what's selected. The new UI looks fancy in motion, and the highlighted items jump out at you, but it's super, super easy to lose where you are on the screen or get confused between what's selected. If I look away from the screen and come back, it's like you have to start swiping just to regain control over where you are in the UI. Plus, as you dive into iTunes shows (within paid for TV series where you've purchased the full seasons), things just feel really backwards. It's more work to find your seasons and next episodes to watch.

    Despite my (and especially my wife's) initial concerns, we have kept using our new Apple TV for the past few months. I expected it grow on us and we'd get used to it. Instead, we keep finding ourselves literally HAPPIER when we go back and use the older Apple TV in the bedroom with it's more analog remote. Sure, pushing buttons is more tedious (this coming from an older BlackBerry guy who used to push a lot of buttons but loves touchscreens), but in this usage case the additional confidence and dexterity in button pushing is still welcome, not to mention the ease of finding the silver remote in the house/bedroom and always picking it up with confidence knowing which is the business end.

    OK, Rant Over.... (I'll let Apple off on the lack of a Podcast app at launch because they addressed that) so what's the one feature about the new Apple TV that I love?

    You may be thinking it's Siri or playing games with the remote, which *are* both cool features, but these are ones I could like but would gladly live without if meant addressing gripes 1. and 2. above.

    Rather, what I love about the new Apple TV is the FAST scrubbing within tv shows. Turns out we often fall asleep when watching movies or TV shows (case in point, I passed out last night on the couch at 11:30pm while watching Episode 12 of House of Cards). On the old Apple TV, finding my spot in the show the next day where I dozed off was a pain in the ***. The new Apple TV makes this a BREEZE. It's so good that it keeps the new Apple TV in the living room, despite my hate for the remote and the UI which doesn't seem to be improving.

    FINAL THOUGHTS

    I've had these opinions now for a while, but I've held off sharing them here in case it was just me and my wife that were being overly picky / jaded / unwilling to adapt to change (you know... maybe we're getting "old" and I just was scared to admit I didn't like something new and hip). But in the last two weeks I've chatted in person with a few other longterm Apple TV owners, both younger, older and same age as me and I was surprised (or maybe not surprised) at their equally strong hate for the new Apple TV for the same reasons that I had.

    In all my years of owning Apple Products, it's been pretty rare for me to upgrade to a new version of a product and to actually not love it more than the previous generation product. Usually Apple finds a way to keep the best of what's in the old product, while taking steps forward to bring you features you never even knew you wanted (and then you find you can't live without).

    In the case of the new Apple TV, they brought me a few features I love, but with it brought me basic features that actually make me hate using the product.

    I used to tell everybody in a heart beat to go buy the new Apple TV and that they wouldn't be disappointed in the purchase. Now I don't.
    03-18-2016 06:29 AM
  2. Spencerdl's Avatar
    Hey Kevin , good to see you posting here on iMore. Thanks for your opinion on the Apple TV. I personally don't own one, but excellent write up.
    CrackBerry Kevin likes this.
    03-18-2016 07:25 AM
  3. metllicamilitia's Avatar
    Wow, and no mention of the almost unusable text selector layout. I'm quite happy with my 4th gen, despite obvious issues.
    CrackBerry Kevin likes this.
    03-18-2016 08:11 AM
  4. JeffPerrin's Avatar
    Regarding the remote - I think you'll be a little happier once 9.2 comes out (sorry, no details due to NDA). I do agree it's way too easy to grab the remote in the dark (or just without looking) and mistakenly be holding it upside-down. But I do believe the benefits outweigh the negatives (scrolling, as you said, is much, much easier, with this functionality largely due to the remote's touchpad.) Unfortunately, I am thinking of wrapping masking tape or something around the bottom to replace the tactile orientation we're used to with the old remote... (but ugh!)

    On another note, Netflix has been on the fritz for the new Apple TV for the past couple days so I swapped out to the old Apple TV 3 last night so we could watch some Gotham (held off on that one for a while 'cause Batman is like what, 10 years old?!?). The biggest difference I noticed was the sound quality. So much more dynamic and clearer on the ATV3. I've spent hours on end submitting reports to Apple regarding bugs and sub-par sound quality with Dolby audio and the new Apple TV, but despite the details and hard evidence I supply, the reports continually fall on deaf ears...

    On the UI. I couldn't disagree more - tvOS is leaps-and-bounds ahead of the previous gen in both function and appearance. I think issues regarding in-app content are more a developer problem with adaptation (looking at you, Netflix!) than the tvOS UI. Regardless, an Apple TV 4 gen will benefit from updates and will evolve quickly over time (see iMore 9.2 reports for a good idea of what's to come in the very near future). Personally, I wouldn't hold back on recommending the unit to friends and family.

    All-in-all, I enjoyed reading your write-up Kevin! I believe Apple will continually refine tvOS and the hardware as more users weigh in on their experience with the new Apple TV.

    Cheers,

    Jeff
    Last edited by Just_Me_D; 03-21-2016 at 08:32 PM.
    Ariza16 and CrackBerry Kevin like this.
    03-18-2016 08:40 AM
  5. CrackBerry Kevin's Avatar
    Thanks for the great feedback and comments everyone! Appreciate it!
    Spencerdl likes this.
    03-18-2016 09:09 AM
  6. firedept10's Avatar
    Thanks for your great review.

    I am right on the same track with you. I hate the remote with my tv 4. Way to sensitive for my liking. Could have put some kind of glow into the buttons so when in the dark you can tell which end is up. Or keep it all silver. I'll stick with the tv 3 remote being a better design and easier to use.

    The tv'4's interface I can live with, but do agree with your point of view on the tv 3's interface being better.

    I do like my tv 4 and would not give it up. I just hope Apple makes some improvement to it as we go along.
    03-18-2016 10:27 AM
  7. kch50428's Avatar
    Wow, and no mention of the almost unusable text selector layout. I'm quite happy with my 4th gen, despite obvious issues.
    When I need to do text input on my AppleTV, I reach for my iPhone or iPad and use the Remote app...
    03-18-2016 10:38 AM
  8. metllicamilitia's Avatar
    When I need to do text input on my AppleTV, I reach for my iPhone or iPad and use the Remote app...
    It's the only way right now.
    firedept10 likes this.
    03-18-2016 10:42 AM
  9. diggity's Avatar
    Your review pretty much sums up my feelings about the latest Apple TV box. I only use it now for iTunes content. As for everything else, there are much better options out there for media streaming. Hopefully version 5 will be better.
    03-18-2016 11:15 AM
  10. Ariza16's Avatar
    i really wanted to get the new Apple TV but i feel like it's only getting negative feedback. i will keep my 3rd Gen Apple TV for now until i read a 5 star review
    03-18-2016 01:45 PM
  11. jon_ks's Avatar
    Maybe I'm not using my Apple TV as much as you or not putting nearly as much thought into the experience - but this all seems a bit overblown to me.

    I don't disagree that each of the things you've mentioned have been frustrating at times but I chalk it up to the learning curve of new features. A slow progression of the A TV feature set might have eased this (one of many reasons they should have paid more attention to the product over the years) but I don't think they're as dramatic as you're saying.

    That said, I wholeheartedly agree with the improvement in scrubbing. I'm also loving that Channels are gone and we can use Apps now. No more hiding useless channels I'll never use anyway+ a huge variety of new apps + NAS playback!
    03-18-2016 02:09 PM
  12. BreakingKayfabe's Avatar
    My fiance actually bought me the 4th gen ATV for Christmas. I really had no desire for one and once I started using it, my unwillingness to upgrade from my ATV3 was justified even more. I just cannot find a fluent groove when using the newest one and I can see that I'm not alone. I've just been using my 3rd gen again.
    Last edited by BreakingKayfabe; 03-18-2016 at 06:34 PM. Reason: grammatical error
    03-18-2016 06:30 PM
  13. firedept10's Avatar
    i really wanted to get the new Apple TV but i feel like it's only getting negative feedback. i will keep my 3rd Gen Apple TV for now until i read a 5 star review
    Do not stop from getting one. The things being pointed out by me are minor nuisances that can be easily fixed by Apple. As much as I enjoy some of the things about my TV 3 and find them better, there are other things about my TV 4 that I like and would not want to do without. My only complaint is how sensitive the remote is and it could have been a better colour. Those are minor issues that not everyone has had a problem with.
    Rob Phillips and Ariza16 like this.
    03-18-2016 08:17 PM
  14. Rob Phillips's Avatar
    Great write up. I've also owned every generation of AppleTV. I actually don't mind the new interface but I definitely agree that the remote is too sensitive. TvOS feels "buggier" than what I've experienced with the previous AppleTV interface as well. That being said, I LOVE the ability to download and install apps. It has added a whole new dimension to our AppleTV experience. My kids love using the Nimbus controller. The App Store alone makes the 4th gen a worthy purchase to me!
    firedept10 likes this.
    03-18-2016 08:37 PM
  15. robertk328's Avatar
    Love the new Apple TV but haven't had one before. The remote is a lot easier to handle with the Griffin case on it.

    I heard on a podcast they changed the scrubbing a bit recently... Where you scrub and it only goes a short bit but if you want it to go more you have to pause? Maybe that's in the new betas. Mine still scrubs far if you swipe it.
    03-18-2016 08:50 PM
  16. CrackBerry Kevin's Avatar
    Oh wow, I didn't even know this Griffin Case for the Apple TV Remote existed! Ordering right now from Amazon!

    Love the new Apple TV but haven't had one before. The remote is a lot easier to handle with the Griffin case on it.
    robertk328 and JeffPerrin like this.
    03-18-2016 10:46 PM
  17. robertk328's Avatar
    Oh wow, I didn't even know this Griffin Case for the Apple TV Remote existed! Ordering right now from Amazon!
    Love it Free same day too for Prime if you're in an area that supports it.
    03-19-2016 06:44 AM
  18. BreakingKayfabe's Avatar
    Love the new Apple TV but haven't had one before. The remote is a lot easier to handle with the Griffin case on it.

    I heard on a podcast they changed the scrubbing a bit recently... Where you scrub and it only goes a short bit but if you want it to go more you have to pause? Maybe that's in the new betas. Mine still scrubs far if you swipe it.
    Oh wow, I didn't even know this Griffin Case for the Apple TV Remote existed! Ordering right now from Amazon!
    I know most of us here are enthusiasts and don't mind spending money on our gadgets and things to protect our gadgets, but this is where I draw the line. This isn't in any way a knock against any of you, but I find it ridiculous that the remote Apple produced is this bad that people would even consider producing cases for them, let alone people buying them. The 3rd gen Apple TV was released in March 2012 and the present in October 2015. Three and a half years and this was the best hardware for a remote they decided to release. I cringe to think what their other prototypes were.
    CrackBerry Kevin likes this.
    03-19-2016 05:43 PM
  19. JeffPerrin's Avatar
    I find it ridiculous that the remote Apple produced is this bad that people would even consider producing cases for them, let alone people buying them.
    It wasn't designed to correct Apple's design - people primarily buy the Griffon case to turn the ATV 4 remote into a Nintendo Wii-style gaming controller, complete with safety wrist strap.
    03-21-2016 08:25 AM
  20. G.4's Avatar
    I still have both. The new one is in my living room and the old one in the bedroom. I have to say, when you back and forth between the two often, even acknowledging your comments above, the new one is still better. Not perfect, but much better. Siri alone is worth it IMO
    robertk328 likes this.
    03-21-2016 10:41 AM
  21. robertk328's Avatar
    Not perfect, but much better. Siri alone is worth it IMO
    I have the old remote too and the new one is finicky but definitely better.

    It didn't work on Netflix, but on movies bought from the iTunes Store they wouldn't scrub unless I paused. Mentioned that before but tried it again.
    03-21-2016 07:50 PM
  22. JeffPerrin's Avatar
    I'll add that scrubbing actually works great with Netflix on ATV 4, whereas it was a (literal) show-stopping disaster on any previous version.
    03-21-2016 08:28 PM
  23. mrcobra92's Avatar
    I'll add that scrubbing actually works great with Netflix on ATV 4, whereas it was a (literal) show-stopping disaster on any previous version.
    I agree that scrubbing works well with Netflix most of the time, but in some cases, it can actually lock Netflix up entirely for me. Not sure why, but it is very very annoying.
    03-21-2016 09:06 PM
  24. kilofoxtrot's Avatar
    .... because the buttons are more centralized, it makes it really easy to pick up the remote backwards. You think you're holding it the right way, but it turns out your not so you start hitting the wrong buttons or swiping on the wrong end of the remote.
    The iRubberband for AppleTV

    Verdict: I kinda hate the new Apple TV but this one feature keeps me using it-cwibwx6uwaepdm9.jpg
    03-21-2016 11:33 PM
  25. robertk328's Avatar
    The iRubberband for AppleTV
    I've seen that, or tape. The Griffin case I mentioned helps with orientation, too as the bottom part is covered. Makes it a bit easier to hold, and gives it drop protection (for the glass portion, particularly) which is good with kids around
    03-22-2016 07:25 AM
29 12

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