The introduction of the first-generation Apple TV in 2007 marked the entry of Apple into the home entertainment market and the further expansion of its streaming services businesses. This set-top box and digital media player transforms a television set into a smart TV set and enables users to stream content from various streaming service providers and run apps and mobile games. This article lists and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of Apple TV.
Pros of Apple TV: Advantages and Notable Features
The newer generation of this device now comes with a high-performance system-on-a-chip based on the Apple A series chip used in the iPhone and some generations and models of the iPad. This means that it has powerful processing capabilities compared to other streaming devices or media streaming devices such as those based on the Android TV operating system. Below are the specific advantages and notable features of Apple TV:
1. One-Stop Device for Accessing Streaming Platforms and Managing Personal Library of Digital Media Content
A main feature of Apple TV is that it allows users to access different media streaming services such as Apple TV+, Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video, among others. It also accesses specific music streaming service platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. A user can also integrate and manage his or her personal library of digital media content purchased from or stored in Apple TV+, iTunes, and iCloud Photos.
2. Transforms a Television Set into A Smart TV Through the High-Definition Multimedia Interface of HDMI
This set-top box connects to a TV via HDMI. It is true that smart TVs have flooded the market and people might find using a set-top box unnecessary already. However, the problem with these TV sets is their clunky user interface and limited hardware capabilities. Apple TV brings in the power of the Apple A series chip. This chip has an integrated graphics processor and an Apple Neural Engine that work alongside the main central processing unit.
3. Versatile Set-Top Box that Runs on tvOS and Complements the Full Apple Product Ecosystem Experience
Another advantage of Apple TV is its tvOS. This operating system is based on the iOS. It has a dedicated app store with thousands of apps and games for download. Running tvOS on a TV screen is similar to running a modified version of the iOS. It also inherited a lot of the software features of both iOS and macOS. The device also pairs with other Apple products such as an Apple Watch and Apple Wireless Keyboard and Magic Keyboard.
4. High-Performance Technical Specification and Native Support for 4K HRD Audio and Video Streaming
This device is equipped with an internal storage, SDRAM, Wi-Fi modem, Bluetooth radio, and the Thread low-powered mesh networking technology. It supports Dolby Atmos audio output for high-definition audio and high-definition or 4K resolution and high-dynamic range video outputs based on technologies such as HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10 Plus. Performance is smooth thanks to the processing capabilities of the Apple A series chip.
Cons of Apple TV: Disadvantages and Key Issues
The branding for Apple TV can confuse some. The same brand also refers to both the Apple TV App that is available on Apple products such as Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and the video streaming service Apple TV+. Nevertheless, as far as the device is concerned, it has some notable issues that might be a deal breaker for some, especially those who are not a big fan of Apple products. Below are the specific disadvantages of this device:
1. Dependence on the Closed Apple Product Ecosystem that Limits the Practical Uses For Non-Apple Users
Users who are not in the product ecosystem of Apple would find this product less appealing. Most of the features and functionalities of this device are best used when paired or integrated with products and services such as an iPhone, Siri, and AirPlay, among others. Another notable drawback is that this device does not integrate well with devices and services such as Android smartphones or tablets, Google Assistant, and Alexa from Amazon.
2. Might Be Incompatible With Older Television Sets and Sound Systems Due to Its Strict Technical Specifications
Another disadvantage of Apple TV is that it might not be compatible with older televisions and sound systems. This set-top box requires HDMI 2.1 for 4K HDR output at 60Hz and Enhanced Audio Return Channel or eARC for Dolby Atmos audio output. Using a low-quality HDMI capable can also produce connection problems. The TV should also support High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection or HDCP 2.2 digital copyright standard.
3. Expensive Set-Top Box and Media Streaming Device Compared to Alternatives Such as Chromecast and Roku
The 64GB model of this device retails for USD 129.00 while the 128GB model retails for USD 149.00. It is more expensive compared to using a simpler Google Chromecast which is priced at around USD 35.00 or a Roku Streaming Stick which is priced at USD at around USD 45.00. TV sets with built-in screen mirroring are also a more practical option for those who just want to stream videos from their smartphones and onto their TV screens.
Verdict: Advantages and Disadvantages of Apple TV
Should you get an Apple TV? It depends. Those who are not too dependent on the closed Apple product ecosystem might find little value in owning one. It works best with other devices and services from Apple. It is also important to reiterate the fact that it also requires a compatible television set that can display HDR audio and video output. Nevertheless, because of its features, especially the capabilities of tvOS and the availability of apps in this operating system, as well as its close integration with the Apple product ecosystem, Apple TV is still worth checking out for those who are big users of other Apple products.