Apple TV – Worth The Hype?

By | February 11, 2014
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In terms of quarterly and annual sales in 2012 and 2013, Apple TV has definitely taken the worldwide market by storm. However, is the latest expansion of Apple’s so-called ‘experimental strategy’ as good as it is being made out to be? We try to find the answers here.

Apple TV: A Critical Analysis

The recent endeavors of Apple Inc. to literally reach the ‘living room’ of people are best epitomized by Apple TV. Annual sales figures of this high-definition content-streaming device have soared over the years, with company CEO Tim Cook claiming that as many as 6.5 million units were sold in 2012-13. While all this point to Apple TV being a grand success, there have been certain complaints about it – coming in from different quarters. Let us here take a look at how good the much-hyped Apple TV really is:

 

  1. Design and UI – Trust Apple to come up with attractive, sleek designs for the high-end second-generation (black) Apple TV. The aesthetic appeal of the gadget has definitely played a part in its burgeoning sales over the last few years. Provided that you own an iPhone and/or an iPod Touch, you won’t face any problems with the user-interface (UI) of Apple TV either.

  2. Connectivity – The video streaming device from Apple can be used to stream content from practically all types of iOS devices (ranging from iPhone, to a PC or an iMac) to a HD television. The only catch here is that, the TV has to be HDMI-enabled, for it to be able to receive content from Apple TV. There have been cases when users unaware of this factor have faced problems, while using the device.

  3. Display – Just as the iPhone and mobile app designing plans used at Apple Inc. are excellent, the display features of the Apple TV are nothing short of extraordinary. The full HD (1080p) screen makes for crystal-clear display, while the Base-T Ethernet support serves as an added advantage. The optically-enhanced digital audio system is yet another high point. One has to admit, watching video content on Apple TV is fun!

  4. Menu flexibility – Apple apparently does not believe in giving too much of flexibility to its users. Unless you do an iPhone jailbreak, you can’t install third-party apps on it – and there are no options to customize/rearrange the main menu items on the home screen of Apple TV either. Most people like the default arrangement, but a facility to change up the screen should have been present.

  5. Price – At first glance, the price tag of the Apple TV seems competitive enough. However, you would get a clearer picture when you compare its features with that of other similar gadgets, in the same price-bracket (e.g., Roku 2XS). Most such alternative devices offer far greater content-streaming options than what Apple’s aggressively promoted product does. Apple TV might not burn a hole in your pocket, but it’s not the last word in video streaming either.

  6. Disc playback – Another significant con of the Apple TV. You cannot play back videos from CDs or DVDs on the gadget – no matter in which format the disc has been recorded and formatted. The TV does not come with any facility to record select content either. The absence of Hulu Plus subscription service has also disappointed many Apple fans across the globe.

  7. Screen Mirroring – Apple TV is not only about video streaming from iOS devices. As the technology related to iPhone app development in India has improved, so have the built-in features in the third-generation (3G) Apple TV set. It now has AirPlay features, which helps people to perform screen mirroring with absolute ease. Extra mirror drivers are, generally, not required.

  8. Storage capacity – For an advanced content-streaming and viewing Apple device, it’s rather surprising that the TV lacks any designated internal memory space for storing video content. While it’s true that Apple TV has a 8 GB memory, it is entirely meant to be used for caching purposes. Even if you absolutely love a piece of content and want it for repeat viewing, you cannot sideload it on the device.

  9. The iTunes restriction – The point that often takes away the gloss from many otherwise great Apple appliances. Apart from content from the iTunes store (and very few of its partners), other stuff cannot be played on the Apple TV. You cannot buy content from the online app store either. Planning to hire content from iTunes for your Apple TV? You will find the available range of videos frustratingly small!

  10. Upgrading – If you feel that the processor or the RAM of your Apple TV needs an upgrade – don’t worry, you won’t get it. No type of hardware upgrade support is available till date on the device. As already mentioned above, the engineers at Apple Inc. really need to at least upgrade the thoroughly unsatisfactory memory features of the TV.

Apple TV vs Roku - Comparison

 

When someone purchases an Apple TV, (s)he has to separately buy the necessary cables and cords – which can be slightly problematic. While the streaming process from iPhone/iPod Touch is fast and seamless, you can enjoy 1080p display only on the third-generation version of the device. There is no doubt that Apple TV is a breakthrough gadget with loads of features going for it – but certain issues need to be addressed, if it has to sustain its initial whopping sales numbers!

 

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Hussain Fakhruddin

Hussain Fakhruddin is the founder/CEO of Teknowledge mobile apps company. He heads a large team of app developers, and has overseen the creation of nearly 600 applications. Apart from app development, his interests include reading, traveling and online blogging.
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