I’ve long been skeptical about the ongoing value of the Apple TV in a smart TV world. Over at Six Colors, Jason Snell pondered the same thing and looked at where, if anywhere, the box can go next.

For a long time, the killer feature of the Apple TV was that it did things that no other streaming device could do. It supported AirPlay and screen mirroring, for beaming video right from Apple devices to the big screen. And most importantly, it was the only box that supported movies and TV shows rented or purchased from Apple. But over the past couple of years, most of those distinctions have faded away. First, the arrival of the Movies Anywhere service has allowed most iTunes film (not television) purchases to migrate to other devices. Then in advance of the arrival of Apple’s TV streaming service, Apple made deals with the makers of TV sets and streaming boxes to add support for AirPlay, an Apple TV app, or both.

Check It Out: Is There Any Point in the Apple TV Anymore?

5 Comments Add a comment

  1. joe_u

    Apple TV + as a platform is limited to Apple’s own content plus those streaming providers who choose to participate on the the platform. Those who criticize the Apple TV hardware platform apparently have no interest in using it to its fullest potential.

    I can subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon Prime via the Apple TV Box. Cann’t say the same for Apple TV +. I can subscribe and listen to Sirius XM Radio, subscribe to Radio Tuner Pro. subscribe to PBS Passport, free TV service Pluto TV. None of this is available via Apple TV +. I can use Ethernet TV tuners with a purchase of the Channels App or HD Home Run APP with the Apple TV box and TV OS. Cannot do the same with Apple TV +.

    Loss of TV OS and the Apple TV Box would relegate most users to streaming content to the TV via an iPad or an iPhone which is going backwards in my judgement. Just because you do not use the Apple TV and TV OS platform to its fullest potential, doesn’t mean the rest of us should suffer for your inability to do so.

  2. paikinho

    I would say yes there is a point…. if apple would capitalize on it.
    They have also gone for putting the Apple TV app on additional devices, but those don’t yet really stack up to a dedicated apple TV. The Apple TV experience is just nicer and smoother. It gives apple a lot more versatility.

    Now with more power under the hood with periodic refreshes it is likely that Apple TV can also begin to return the favor in such things as Accepting Apps that turn it into say and Nintendo switch or maybe allow it to run old xbox games or PS4 games.

    No smart TV except the latest ones with improved hardware will every be able to do such things. I have a 2019 LG OLED TV, but it gets older each and every day. I won’t be looking to replace it anytime soon, but it is Apple TV app capable, but I still prefer using my actual Apple TV with its nice remote instead of using the app with its crummy TV remote.

  3. The problem with the “Smart TV” world is that unless the hardware vendors support firmware and app upgrades for years, the intrinsic value of a Smart TV starts declining the moment you buy it. TVs have lifetimes measured in decades (assuming standard electronics bathtub curve), while plug-in devices like an Apple TV are cheap enough that they can be upgraded as necessary.

    Besides that, “Smart TVs” often are equal to “Spying TVs”. Our smart TVs are not connected to any network – nor will any replacement we purchase. In fact, I might investigate getting a ‘dumb’ TV – commercial displays intended for use in restaurants, convention centers, hotel lobbies, and other places where you want a large, splashy display that you absolutely control what’s on it, and which has no ability to report your habits or any other personal data back to someone that couldn’t be bothered to respect your privacy – very much unlike Apple.

      • John Q

        I believe it was Samsung which was caught leaving live mics on their TVs, or something to that effect. Aside from that, it, Roku, and the others collect traceable viewing data in the normal course of operation. So, the privacy issue isn’t theoretical, or something that could happen, it has happened, with little knowledge, or resource.

        No doubt data is collected by AppleTV apps as well, but at least there is some sense of boundaries present in the platform, even if they may be liberal. At least we know where Apple stands on privacy. The same could not be said of the others.

        That said, Apple does need to have ATV graduate from “hobby” status to a serious product, even if only to provide a reliable outlet for its services. The company knows darned well what happens when it cedes control and relies on others, whose first priorities lie elsewhere, not in furthering Apple’s interests. HomeKit, which would be a great companion with ATV serving as the hub, has lagged because Apple has left its success in the hands of others, and hasn’t provided first-class, first-party implementations of its own to serve as benchmarks.

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