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.