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Bought an Apple TV 4K 32GB
#1  OtinG 05-01-2020, 01:58 PM
I finally bought an Apple TV 4K 32GB, probably just months before they will release a new model of course. It took me nearly three years to talk myself into purchasing one, after all, they are rather pricey. Here is my somewhat brief review and random comments. I just got it yesterday afternoon, so I have limited experience with it so far. I do own an old Apple TV 3rd Generation which does not have the app store capability, and quite frankly it blows chunks. No comparison with the newest version the Apple TV 4K, so I will only compare the Apple TV 4K to Fire TVs and Rokus I own.

I’ve been mostly using my Fire TV (3rd Generation) and the Fire TV 4K stick, but mostly the 3rd gen as it seems to do better over all. While these are decent streaming devices, they are both short on internal storage at 8GB (with only 4.5GB available though). The 3rd gen has a bit more RAM at 2GB compared to the 4K stick's 1.5GB. Despite the mediocre specs, they perform fairly well, but they are not speed demons nor do they have enough internal storage to store enough apps. In this day an age when we cord cutters tend to install apps like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and a whole list of others, you can quickly fill up the internal storage. They both perform well as far as WiFi speed and are capable of delivering 200+ Mbips DL speed with my 200+ Mbips internet account. However, the ethernet connections are both clunky (requires a separate dongle) and slower as they max out below 100 Mbips due to the slower 10/100 capability. I prefer using ethernet when possible to free up WiFi for other devices, but I used WiFi with the Fire TVs since it provided twice as much DL speed. Even at that, they do tend to buffer a lot in some apps like Philo, at least on some channels. They also tend to close a few apps on occasion, so restarting some apps like Philo on a regular basis is a good practice. Over all they seem rather sluggish going from one app to another. I do love their ability to control and use my Fire TV Recast though, and it does a great job of recording OTA programming.

As for my Roku Ultra, well pretty much ditto for what I wrote about the Fire TVs I own. The Roku only gets about 85 Mbips DL speed on ethernet and 75 Mbips on WiFi though, but it has less buffering on average than the Fire TVs. I rarely use it though. It is a reliable option, probably a bit more reliable than the Fire TVs, but again the performance is decent at best.

So far my Apple TV 4K seems blazingly fast. (I only have an HD (1080p) TV, so all my comments are about HD and not 4K or HDR.) The ethernet yields 200+ Mbips of DL speed since it has gigabit ethernet. It has 3GB RAM, a fair amount more than either Fire TV. It definitely has way more storage at 32GB. It has a faster processor too. Let's face it, buying the Apple TV 4K costs way more than the Fire TVs and Rokus, but you are getting the streaming device equivalent of a Mercedes or Bently compared to a Chevy or Ford. You do get what you pay for! The Fire TVs and Rokus work well, but they are inexpensively designed to be affordable while providing an acceptable streaming experience. The Apple TV 4K is a premium priced streaming device that provides a better streaming experience, which you may or may not need.

So far I'm really impressed. The setup was quick and easy since I was allowed to use an iOS device to clone much of the process via iCloud. I love the fact that I can easily use my iPhone or iPad Control Center to type in search fields and enter account names and passwords. I can even use the Face ID or Touch ID on my iPhone or iPad to enter account information quickly. The video quality is very good, and so is the audio quality. Interfacing with my iThingies is great, and easy.

The remote, well it blows chunks. But I knew it would. It was just as bad as the countless reviews said it would be, so I wasn't surprised by it being so bad. But I already have a Inteset IR learning remote and Apple was thoughtful enough to make programming an IR learning remote super easy and very fast. So within 5 minutes I had a good remote. The Apple remote will be used only for Siri. So what is bad about the Apple remote? That gosh awful trackpad that makes it way too easy to screw up and move the selection point. The trackpad is a mess. The remote is insanely thin, that seems to be an Apple thing. It is so thin and small that it literally hurts my arthritic hand to hold and use it. I recommend getting a good 3rd party remote. My Inteset was only $20, and it works well with 4 devices and is fairly easy to program.

The Apple TV interface was surprisingly simple and easy to use, as in easy to navigate to where I want to go. No clutter, and very little in your face advertising. I was very pleasantly surprised. It is also customizable so you can move your favorite apps up to the top rows, and delete the ones you don’t want. You can get into some really cluttered screens though, but you can easily avoid those if you want to. I just use the uncluttered Home screen most of the time. When you go into other screens to browse, you see alot of stuff from other services like Netflix, Hulu, etc., so just like the Fire TV you might think these shows are free but they cost (either through subscriptions or to purchase/rent). Again, I stay on the Home screen to avoid this as much as possible, and I tend to do my searching and browsing from within apps like Netflix, Hulu, etc. BTW, you can install Amazon's Prime Video app on the Apple TV 4K and watch your purchased or subscription shows/movies. That is a big plus since I have more purchased items from Amazon than I do from Apple. If you have Amazon add-on channels, you can watch those via the Amazon Prime Video app too, but not through separate apps. In other words, I purchased the Amazon add-on channel BritBox subscription. I can watch it on my Apple TV 4K via the Amazon Prime Video app, but I cannot watch it through the Apple TV 4K BritBox app. But that is okay with me. Had I purchased the subscription direct from BritBox owners then I could have used the Apple TV 4K app. I do have MotorTrend and Curiosity subscriptions purchased directly from the owners of those channels, and the Apple TV 4K apps are very nice for them. Netflix and Philo are both really great on the Apple TV 4K too.

So far I highly recommend the Apple TV 4K. It has a nice interface that is easy to navigate. It has excellent video and audio capability on HD, no clue about 4K and HDR as I don’t own a TV with those capabilities. It is well integrated with iOS and iPadOS. (I haven't tested with macOS yet.) The performance and reliability appear to be top notch, so far. I think it was definitely worth the premium price point in my case, but of course YMMV. I'm a cord cutter and don't have cable/satellite, so I need good and reliable streaming to watch TV shows and movies. It was worth a premium price to avoid the performance issues I sometimes encounter with the Fire TVs and Rokus.

Note: I haven't tested it with Siri yet, nor have I tested it with Apple Home devices. (I don't own any Apple Home devices.)
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#2  pwalker8 05-01-2020, 03:00 PM
I've got the latest and greatest Apple TV hooked up to a 4K TV.

You can control it via the Remote app on your iPhone, which can be a bit of an advantage.

I dropped cable TV last fall, went with playstation VUE, then switched to Hulu live when Sony pulled the plug on Playstation VUE. I mostly watch sports (well, maybe not for he last two months), so I'm as likely to use the ESPN app or FoxSportsGO app as I am the Hulu app, but they all seem to work. These days, I've been watching more movies and TV shows via iTunes, Amazon Prime and Disney+. Everything seems to work pretty well. I've got my AppleTV hooked up to ethernet and according to speedtest, I get over 900 mbps, so no problem streaming at all.

I also stream from my iMac (I make sure I download everything I buy from iTune). Comes in handy when the internet is down.

Over the past 6+ months some of the things that I've noticed is that streaming movies and TV shows from iTunes works very well. Prime Video seems to work well. Hulu can be a bit spotty at time. ESPN and FoxSportsGo seem to be very solid. Disney has some issues early on, but it's been pretty solid since the first month.
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#3  OtinG 05-01-2020, 03:34 PM
I dropped cable about 18 months ago. I started out using Hulu with Live TV, but they raised the prices twice in less than a year, which drove the cost to around $60/mo. Their DVR was rather clunky too. And that no commercials option was anything but no commercials in most cases! So I switched to Philo TV about 6 months ago. Fewer channels, but the cloud DVR is really good. It is $20 plus tax, but you don’t get local stations, sports, or the more popular news channels. All of those drive up the cost of streaming and cable TV services. I don’t watch sports much anymore, even before the pandemic. I can get my news on the internet, plus Philo has BBC World News which is pretty good. I use the Fire TV Recast to record OTA programming, and here in the Dallas / Fort Worth area I can receive over 60 channels OTA, not including foreign language Channels, religious programming, and shopping channels, none of which I watch. Most of the OTA programming is garbage, but I do get all the major networks.

I also subscribe to various independent channels like BritBox, Curiosity, Netflix, MotorTrend, etc. I tried out Disney+ but their programming is more for younger people. The NatGeo was limited, and the ESPN+ was a friggin’ joke. I have a free year of Apple TV+ because of the iPad mini 5 I bought. I probably would have gotten that with the purchase of the ATV 4K too if I already didn’t have it. But ATV+ doesn’t have much worth watching yet. Maybe later on it will improve. Steve Carrel’s new Space Force comedy looks like it might be good. I periodically switch out independent channel/service apps when they run out of interesting stuff to watch. I tried out CBS All Access, but it blew chunks. I was hoping Picard would be great, but it was a slow moving pile of poop, IMO. So I cancelled it after one month. Patrick Stewart is great, but the show was not.
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#4  Quoth 05-01-2020, 04:42 PM
But where is the screen? And tuner?
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#5  OtinG 05-01-2020, 08:16 PM
Quote Quoth
But where is the screen? And tuner?
I think you were just being humorous , but I have often wondered why they incorporated the word “TV” into the names for streaming devices such as Fire TV and Apple TV, and the streaming service Apple TV+. It does seem inappropriate since they are streaming devices and not actual TVs. There are Smart TVs on the market that have the Fire TV app installed, not sure if any have the Apple TV app installed, but those aren’t actually TVs with the Fire brand name or Apple brand name on them. So yes, the naming scheme for streaming devices by Amazon and Apple are definitely odd and somewhat confusing.
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#6  Quoth 05-02-2020, 05:27 AM
Indeed.
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#7  kyteflyer 05-04-2020, 12:31 AM
I have an AppleTV2, and AppleTV3 and also an AppleTV4. Not the 4k, not enough of an upgrade to bother with, and I don’t have a 4K TV nor plans to get one.

I have friends who still use their 3 for Netflix and Amazon Primevideo. And other things you can’t get over there. Just as we can’t get HBO, CBS All Access, Hulu and the like (well not without jumping through hoops.)

I don’t know why you say anything “blows chunks” (which, by the way, is a disgusting expression for some of us, there are a dozen alternatives which are more appropriate)... you may not now like some of the older tech but that doesn't mean its bad. What it means is that its no longer something you use because its old. The 2 and 3 still work as designed.

I also don’t like the “new” remote control, its too sensitive by half. I use the old one from my 3 instead.

Picard was great. I’m looking forward to the second season, whenever it drops. Just because its not all high action, and fights or shooting or rushing about, in every scene, does not make it bad. I guess you need to have more than a modicum of patience to be able to appreciate it.
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#8  ilovejedd 05-04-2020, 10:44 AM
I cancelled cable TV around 10 years ago. I used to have Windows 7 HTPCs (~$300-400 ea) running Windows Media Center for antenna/broadcast TV paired with HDHomeRun network tuner, as well as Netflix and later Hulu. I was saving ~$100 per month on cable so the hardware paid for itself in the first year alone. At the time (2008-2009?), streaming boxes weren't all that good.

When the HTPCs crapped out though (and with Microsoft pulling the plug on WMC), the AppleTVs were just a much smaller, cooler (thermally) and cheaper alternative.

Our TV has HDMI-CEC so we just use the TV remote to control the AppleTV.
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#9  OtinG 05-04-2020, 11:22 AM
Quote kyteflyer
I have an AppleTV2, and AppleTV3 and also an AppleTV4. Not the 4k, not enough of an upgrade to bother with, and I don’t have a 4K TV nor plans to get one.

I have friends who still use their 3 for Netflix and Amazon Primevideo. And other things you can’t get over there. Just as we can’t get HBO, CBS All Access, Hulu and the like (well not without jumping through hoops.)

I don’t know why you say anything “blows chunks” (which, by the way, is a disgusting expression for some of us, there are a dozen alternatives which are more appropriate)... you may not now like some of the older tech but that doesn't mean its bad. What it means is that its no longer something you use because its old. The 2 and 3 still work as designed.

I also don’t like the “new” remote control, its too sensitive by half. I use the old one from my 3 instead.

Picard was great. I’m looking forward to the second season, whenever it drops. Just because its not all high action, and fights or shooting or rushing about, in every scene, does not make it bad. I guess you need to have more than a modicum of patience to be able to appreciate it.
Well I certainly don't mean to be offensive, but to be honest "blows chunks" is a innocuous and non-offensive term, at least on this side of the Equator. I do like to be humorous, but I’ve noticed that pleasing you is nearly impossible, so why should I try? We are not only of opposite sides of the planet, literally polar opposites, but I cannot remember one thing we have agreed upon, ever. There is certainly nothing wrong with that, but I am not going to walk across eggs shells spending hours researching which colloquialisms and regional sayings are somehow offensive to you when they are perfectly acceptable here. Sorry, but like I said, so much seems to offend you that there is no way I can keep up with it. If you want to be hypersensitive to nearly everything, then that is your issue, not mine...

As far as the Apple TV 3, if you like yours then great! I never liked mine when it was brand new. It never had an app store capability, and some of the stock apps can no longer be updated. It is a dinosaur among electronic gadgets, and it should not offend people to hear the truth. Electronic devices have the lifespan of a house fly. But it today and it is obsolete tomorrow; metaphorically speaking. That is just the fact.

As far as anything else, like my view on Picard, that is my right, and I’ll exercise the right to hold views and opinions as often as I have them.

Again, I have no intention of purposely offending anyone, but I also think I wasn't offensive, certainly not on purpose. Perhaps you need to be less sensitive to people from other cultures who have no clue about what all sets you off, and there seems to be a lot that does...
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#10  tomsem 05-04-2020, 01:28 PM
I thought Picard was fine, but my Star Trek knowledge has atrophied since TNG so it was hard to pick up on some of the story lines (I think I’ve missed everything since DS9 and a bit of Voyager). Given only 10 episodes, there’s a lot riding on whether you buy into the story arc and it moves fast so it is easy to miss some things. I probably won’t watch it again though, and there’s not a lot on CBS All Access we’re interested in so will probably drop it until there’s a new Picard season.

I have AppleTV also and like it as well (compared to FireTV first generation that it replaced). The remote has taken some getting used to (slippery little thing: need to look into a silicon case so it stays put and is a little easier to hold).

AppleTV+ has some decent content. Enjoyed The Morning Show, See, Little America, Dickinson, For All Mankind. Have yet to check out some of the newer stuff.
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