An (Almost) Perfect Streaming Box: Apple 4K TV Review


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The Apple TV 4K, not to be confused with the Apple TV+ streaming service, is Apple’s little black streaming box with an iphone chip inside. There’s so much crammed into this tiny thing. Let’s talk about it

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Apple TV 4K:
Chromecast with Google TV:

0:00 Introduction
0:18 Why A Streaming Box?
1:28 Smart Home Features
5:30 UI Smoothness
6:25 Remote
6:48 Integration with Apple Devices
7:45 Not Great Non-Apple Integration
8:14 App Store Experience
10:14 Lack of “Guest” Mode
11:02 Conclusion

As a streaming device, it’s a bit more expensive than a lot of options out there. However it has a lot of features packed in it, it’s more powerful than your average streaming box with an A15 chip inside. So it’s got the processing power of an iphone 13, crammed into this little black box dedicated to just streaming and playing games. The Apple TV, to me, is underrated because it’s so much more than a streaming box. If you have the 128gb version, it has an ethernet port and opens the Apple TV up to be a homekit hub, when there’s a homekit hub device in your home like an apple tv or homepod, you can control homekit devices away from home, and setup automations. And both versions of the Apple TV still let you control your smart home if set up in Homekit. So I like this because if I want to, I can view my cameras around the house from my TV, or get a notification when someone rings the door so I can see if it’s a package or a door to door salesman. I can tell Siri to dim the lights, close the blinds, Whatever. I’m a huge smart home guy so having this functionality whenever I need it comes in clutch, especially when I’m laying in bed, watching TV and don’t want to move.

The worst part about TVs has got to be remotes. The good news is that the Siri remote that comes with the Apple TV remote is pretty decent, with clicky buttons, usb-c port for charging, and built-in find my functionality. So you can search for the remote with your iphone. Don’t like the remote? You can also pair 3rd party remotes to it and use those instead. You can also control the Apple TV from your iphone. The Apple TV really does feel like an extension of your iphone too because a lot of things that we find annoying about streaming devices are fixed thanks to the integration between the iPhone and Apple TV. Want to purchase something on the app store? Instead of typing in a password, use your iphone’s Face or Touch ID. Don’t want to manually type in the search bar using the terrible Apple TV keyboard? You can type it up on your phone instead. Don’t want to walk over to the other side of the bed to grab the remote off your significant other’s nightstand cause they’re sleeping and you don’t want to disturb them because you just know they had a rough week and you don’t want to contribute to it? You can control the Apple TV right from your phone. Want to watch something loud but your significant other is asleep? You can pop in airpods and route the audio from the TV directly to them, so people around you don’t have to hear you watch your spicy dramas or Fast and Furious 32

But being an extension of an iphone and the apple ecosystem has some downsides too. The features I just said, maybe in a little too much detail, are exclusively on iOS. You don’t get access to these features if you own an android device you’re forced to use this terrible keyboard interface on the Apple TV and you can’t “cast” from it because android devices don’t have AirPlay. This device is truly for the Apple users out there.

Let’s talk App Store. Obviously this device syncs with your Apple Account giving you access to all the music, movies and apps you’ve purchased with your Apple Account but it also lets you download TV OS versions of your favorite apps and streaming services that just aren’t available on the default smart TV UI. Just for example. I watch a decent amount of anime, and while everyone knows Crunchyroll is the largest and typically the go-to for most anime, there’s also HIDIVE, which is a little more niche but has some shows Crunchyroll doesn’t have. And on Samsung/LG smart TVs, there’s no app for it with really, only mobile, tablet, game console, and streaming device support. So a streaming box gives you more flexibility there. But the same can’t be said about non-streaming apps on the Apple TV. Besides some of the good mobile game titles available on Apple TV, the Apple TV has a very weak library of apps. And some of the most useful ones aren’t being updated anymore. So I don’t recommend you get this if you were thinking about using it for apps, which is tragic because I could see a really cool use for it, like a dashboard view of your home, upcoming appointments on your calendar, whatever.