Price (RRP) £139.00
Apple TV is a ‘palm-sized’ device in the shape of a box, which connects via HDMI to a compatible television, delivering a range of media content.
Original Apple services such as iTunes provide movies and music, while standard digital streaming services are available too, such as BBC iPlayer, NOW TV, YouTube, Plex, Vimeo and Netflix, in the form of apps.
iPhones can be used as remote controls, thanks to Apple’s TV Remote app. This is more of a navigational tool than anything else, but can be combined with an accelerometer and gyroscope for further features. A bluetooth keyboard can also be connected.
Although Apple TV comes with free delivery, the RRP cost alone may be enough to put prospective buyers off. The TV box comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities, both over £100 in cost.
The technology is everything one might expect from Apple, however, lending to the notion that the price tag is worth the squeeze. The box supports HDMI 4.1, caters for an 802.11ac Wi-Fi connection, has optional ethernet capability and plays up to 1080p, 60 fps.
The sound quality weighs in at 5.1 and 7.1, with Dolby Digital, and comprehensive accessibility options provide great customisation for all viewers.
As if this weren’t enough – Apple have also developed a Chromecast rival function called ‘Air Play’ which allows users to stream content from various devices directly to the Apple TV box.
Voice control with Siri
Apple markets the Apple TV as being ahead of other platforms in its revolutionary Siri remote control, allowing users to communicate verbally with the device.
The advantages of this are much more than just a simple voice-recognition search function. Users can sign into apps by simply spelling out other username and password. When searching for a film or TV series, Siri automatically combs the relevant media apps (NOW TV, Netflix) for what you want and presents it to you.
Simply asking for Siri to ‘show me some good dramas’ will have the same effect. It will also inform the user if they should need to rent, subscribe or pay for the media content upon providing search results.
Users can also command Siri to find video games, play more songs by a certain artist, turn on subtitles and even enquire as to what the temperature is outside. The remote can also be used to fast forward, rewind, launch programs and get trivia on titles.
Controlled by touch, viewers can use the top segment of the remote control as a touchpad to navigate the TV screen. The remote also comes equipped with volume controls and is compatible with Bluetooth, meaning that it can be used from anywhere in the room.
One downside of the Apple TV, other than the cost, some might argue, is the necessity to purchase an HDMI cable separately for the box, which weighs in at £19.00. This seems a trifle unnecessary when the TV box comes equipped with all other essential cables, including a lightning-to-USB cable to charge the remote and a power lead for the in-built power supply. An Amazon Basics HDMI cable will be perfectly fine at a quarter of the price.
Another downside for some users will be the lack of USB and microSD slots. Content will need to be added through iTunes before it can be viewed. For users who don’t already use iTunes for their media the Amazon Fire TV could be a cheaper alternative.
This is a comprehensive TV box, allowing for great ease of use and accessibility, while providing a range of programming, gaming and broadcasting features at a premium cost.