Is The Apple TV Worth It?

On demand entertainment is the new entertainment normal. It has grown in popularity, main in my opinion, due to us wanting our entertainment now and not being subject to a timetable produced by others.

With on demand, gone are the days where we had to wait for a particular day and time to watch a program; gone are the days where we would have to record or miss a program. In are the days where we choose our own programming.

There are many on demand entertainment electronic devices out today. Unlike a number of years ago, each of these devices is a self-contained mini box of electronics and computer chips with memory to store apps and to stream in and buffer our on demand TV and other entertainment.

The Apple TV

One of the big contenders, and more expensive, of these on demand TV and entertainment devices is the Apple TV. As of writing this post, it is currently up to the 4th Generation and comes in at $149 (£149) for the standard 32GB Apple TV and an impressive $179 (£179) and $199 (£199) for the 32GB and 64GB Apple TV 4K.

Compared to many on demand devices, this is quite a premium so is the Apple TV worth the cost?

What premium does the Apple TV offer?

There are many other on demand TV devices on the market today; most offering 4K and many at a 1/4 of the cost of the Apple TV 4K.

To understand if the Apple TV is worth the extra cost as an on demand TV device, let’s take a look at anything premium it has to offer.

Let’s start with what entertainment applications you can run on the Apple TV device.

  1. TV Applications
  2. Radio Applications
  3. Gaming

TV applications

This device offers a complete entertainment package. We start with the TV applications. The Apple TV has on demand applications for many of the popular TV channels; as well as a number of applications for lesser known channels.

Using these channels you can stream programs that have been shown on that channel at the time you wish to watch them. Generally, as with many other demand services, you can only stream them once they have been on the live TV service.

Using these applications you set your own TV schedule, watching the TV viewing when you require it and not as a requirement of the channel.

There is just one caveat to mentions. For the premium channels you many need to pay for a subscriptions. Many premiums channels that you would normally pay to for their live TV service, you need to pay for their streaming service. This maybe all just once cost; or it maybe that the channel offers different service packages.

This is a channel by channel check that you would need to do. Check each channel you would like to stream and pay for any extra subscriptions as required.

The Apple TV device also has applications for Netflix and Amazon Prime. This, like the other video on demand services, allows you to log into your account through the device and stream this programming to your TV.

Netflix and Amazon Prime video are my personally most used on demand video channels.

Radio applications

Radio I hear you say? Well, I talk about radio but I am really taking about audio streaming.

Although, certainly, not my most used functionality of my Apple TV – you are able to stream in audio.

I’m not really going to go into much detail about it here – mainly because I use other devices for my audio entertainment streaming (look out for future posts); but just know that it is possible to stream this content.

Gaming

The final topic I wanted to cover; and one of the bigger advantages of the Apple TV; is the gaming capability of this little devices.

Gaming on a TV streaming box is nothing new. Devices, such as the Roku and the Amazon Fire TV, have also had gaming for some time. You’re able to play some wonderful classic entertaining games through them.

However, I have to say that the Apple TV takes the gaming you can do to the next level. The difference is astonding when you compare the devices.

The Apple TV games can be more compared with console similar games; or at least the games you can play on your latest smart phones. In comparison, the games on other devices are more compared with older consoles – such as the 16 bit consoles from years gone by.

So, if you are looking to also play games on your TV box; the Apple TV box certainly delivers a lot more than many of the less expensive streaming devices out there.

One thing to take into consideration though; if you have a console – will you really be playing games on this device?

The interface

Like any device, how easy and good it is to use comes down to the interface of the device. So, let’s take a moment to look at the Apple TV interface.

The interface itself is very clean. The icons are large and easy to distinguish what they are. Scrolling between the applications you use a touchpad that is on the top of the remote. You scroll by moving your thumb or finger across it in the direction you want to go.

The highlighted application item is highlighted as you scroll. I’ve found that this scrolling can be tricky at times. Sometimes you can overshoot the application you want, somethimes you don’t move it enough.

However, you can scroll over a number of icons quickly with the scrolling using this pad.

The remote also doubles as the gaming pad. If playing a racing game, for example, you use the remote as if its a steering wheel – it understand tilting left or right as steering left and right.

Selecting new apps from the App Store is simple enough once you are used to how it works. It’s not too difficult to pick up and you will have new apps installed quickly.

Overall, the interface does feel quite premium – but you would really expect that for a device at this price level.

So are these premium uses worth the cost?

So, on examination the only real premium that the Apple TV can offer over other, much cheaper streaming devices is the gaming.

There could be an argument made that, because the Apple TV has more powerful hardware then the applications will run quicker, better. I have to say, from my personal experience that this is not the case.

I personally own an Apple TV 4K 64GB, an Amazon Fire TV Stick and 4 different Roku devices. When it comes to streaming video – all of them run at the same speed. I can not notice any difference between my Roku 4K Streaming stick and my Apple TV 4k.

Certainly, the Apple TV looks more preimum and physical weight – it feels more preimum. However for streaming – it offers now premium.

I would have to conclud this. If you looking for a device to just stream you on demand TV and other entertainment; then the Apple TV is not worth it. However, if you looking for a device for a fully rounded entertainment package in a device- then the Apple TV is certainly a contentder to consider.

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