Apple TV: My New Favorite Streamer

Last month I signed up for three months of DirecTV Now.  I thought my iBoy would like the included Apple TV.  He has an iPhone and an Apple laptop.  iBoy is blind to the obvious shortcomings of each — no reason he wouldn’t embrace this overpriced streamer.  He did.  No surprise.

Here’s the surprise: I like it too.  The PRIMARY reason for my affection is that it has a sleep timer that powers off the display which powers off my television.  This is a feature which is lacking in the Roku and Fire TV devices I own.  But there’s more…

  • ATV’s remote controls the volume on my TV
  • ATV’s CEC switches TV input
  • Single Sign-on minimizes relentless re-entering of credentials

These features have been on my streamer wish list for a LONG TIME.  The Apple TV works like a TV accessory should — pick up the remote, touch a control to switch HDMI input, adjust volume, and enjoy.  Single Sign-on means you only need to enter credentials for your premium provider once for all the ‘go’ apps.

Apple TV has most of the important apps.  For cord cutters/trimmers: ABC Live/News, CBS/News, Crackle, DirecTV Now, HBO Go/Now, Hulu, NBC, Netflix, Showtime/Anytime, Sling TV, Snag Films, Sony Vue, Starz, Tubi TV, and YouTube plus all of the expected ‘Go’ apps.  There is a Plex client.  There are hundreds of games for the Apple TV.  All are required to work with the included remote, but you can associate a console quality controller for better game play.

AirPlay lets me stream from iPhone apps not supported on Apple TV — Amazon Instant, Simple TV, and Vudu, for instance.  It works as advertised.

Security is pretty complete.  I like that I can require a password to buy apps but download free apps without entering the password.  You can also control what devices can use AirPlay and what apps use location services.  Not really a security issue, but Siri works well entering passwords — even if you have upper case letters and special characters.

I got the Apple TV as part of a DirecTV Now promotion.  DirecTV Now has been a mixed bag for me.  At times, buffering has made DTN unwatchable.  It has gotten better — much better since I began using the Apple TV.  That may be stuff happening behind the scenes, better hardware, better software, or a combination of all of these things, but DirecTV Now is better with an Apple TV.

Finally, there is that funky remote control.  I don’t care for the touchpad.  I’d rather have a D-pad.  I find myself pulling up menus or changing channels fishing around for the remote.  I overshoot letters typing in passwords and sometimes the cursor moves when I am trying to press the pad for OK.  iBoy says it takes getting used too (unusual criticism of anythig Apple), but I suspect I will get used to Siri first.

Regardless, this is an excellent streamer and I highly recommend it.

 

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2 comments on “Apple TV: My New Favorite Streamer

  1. This offer was tempting, but I’m frying other fish right now and I’m busy just trying not to burn my fingers. My experiences with Apple (I bought my first Mac 512k circa 1984) compare to sticking one leg into quicksand to see how deep it is and finding it’s a lot harder to get out than it was to get in.

    This last Monday I returned all my Charter Cable TV equipment and my bill should go down about $100/mo. For now, I’m calling this a victory. We’ll see what happens when the leaves return on all the trees between me and the broadcast towers. I still have Charter Internet and Phone and plan to keep them at this point.

    Not counting parallel prototyping expenses, which were likely higher than I’d like to remember, my break-even point should be around a year, if I can make it that long. I’d think two years and I’ll be well ahead of the game.

    FYI: I have an RCA ANT751R outdoor antenna with TVPRAMP1Z Preamplifier running through a PCT-MA24PN distribution amp with two redundant quad shield coax wires (redundant to cable TV wiring to allow parallel implementation and a quick fall-back if cut-over problems were encountered. Grandma rates as mission critical level service) terminating to two TiVo Roamio OTA boxes (one refurb 500GB, $200 on sale, one new 1TB, $315 on sale, both with lifetime service) and a 1GB Ethernet wired/wireless (2.4G & 5G) router and three unmanaged hubs shared with two wired desktop PC’s, 4 lightly used wireless hand held devices (iPad Air2, iPhone, iPad Mini, Visio TV remote control Android pad), 2 wired Roku-3’s, a wireless Roku Stick, and an wired Amazon Fire TV.

    The 1TB Roamio OTA replaced the initially installed TiVo Mini yesterday. A single Roamio with its 4 tuners wasn’t enough to deal with peak usage nights with the Mini consuming 1 tuner for connectivity to the Roamio and apparently a second tuner to watch live TV because there are times when our regular viewing habits dictate at least three simultaneous recordings, leaving at least a one tuner deficit. I was surprised the Mini needed two tuners just to watch one live OTA channel. If I hurry, they’ll refund my money, but I’m trying to decide if there’s somewhere else I can use it. BTW: the first TiVo Mini I received failed to configure itself correctly after over an hour on the phone (to The Philippines telephone support center), so they had to send a second Mini which configured correctly. I had no issues installing the two Roamio’s.

    I currently subscribe to Sony PlayStation Vue “Access Slim” (1st level, $29.99/mo), NetFlix, and Hulu. I’ll be dropping Hulu unless one of the three of us here start using it. I’ll be adding the Fox Sports Midwest channel level (+$5) for baseball season.

    One benefit of the TiVo Roamio OTA boxes I wasn’t expecting is compatibility with Charter Cable TV should I need to fall back.

    I love your system diagrams and wish I had the patience to document my own. Thanks for the help.

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    • First, welcome! Thank you for your kind words. I’m not a mac guy myself. My oldest is a fanboy and a bit rubs off, sometimes. I like the new Apple TV.

      Congratulations on cutting your cord. $100 a month is a lot of money. Put it in a cookie jar and use it to treat your family to some fun a couple times a year. You may want to consider a VOIP phone from OOMA to save a few more bucks a month. I’m approaching seven years. Even with all of the experimentation and all the DVRs, we are way ahead of the game. (The wife audits my books.)

      The Mini only ever uses one tuner. Sometimes it forgets to let go, but it never uses two. The Roamio uses one for live tv and two others would be available for background recording eve with a Mini using one.

      We are former Netflix and Prime subscribers. We could go back, but, right now, neither has anything I want to see. Or maybe we just have enough to watch OTA. We tried Vue — the big gulp or whatever it is called. I thought is was fine as a supplement to OTA. I feel the same about DirecTV Now. Haven’t tried Sling TV yet despite having three DVR+ dvrs which have a Sling TV app.

      The Roamio OTA has no cable card slot. The Basic and Pro do.

      Have fun!

      Like

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