Apple TV: Why pay less?

“It’s hard, I admit, to make the argument for a nearly $200 streaming box when you can get the same basic functionality for around $20.”

From Phil Nickinson’s “Why Apple TV 4K is worth the premium” posted Monday on digitaltrends:

Why, then, should we be willing to pay $200 instead of $20? (Or $40 or $50 — you get the point.) That’ll really come into play in the sections below. It’s not just about the hardware. It’s not just about the processor, or how much RAM it has. Or even about the remote control, which was improved in 2021 but is still a long way from being perfect.

No, the hardware is what sets the foundation for everything else. It’s what allows for a speedy user interface. It’s what allows for a ridiculously long update life span. And it’s what allows for all the extra bells and whistles that make Apple TV 4K an Apple product…

When I turn on my TV, I want to get to the thing I want to watch just as quickly as I can. And tvOS makes that pretty simple by mostly treating the screen real estate as if it was your iPhone or iPad. You’ve got icons for apps, and that’s mostly it. OK, with the exception of the top row of apps, which can promote a smidge of actual shows.

But that’s it, really. No bombarding of recommendations. No advertising disguised as content. No display ads disguised as — well, not disguised as anything at all, really. It’s simple, it’s clean. It’s boring. And it lets you get to what you came for in the first place as quickly as possible — the shows and movies you want to watch.

My take: Nickinson is correct. It is hard to make the case for a $200 streaming box. But if you stream a lot of video, it’s worth every penny.

16 Comments

  1. Robert Paul Leitao said:
    It’s not hard at all to make the argument for buying an Apple TV. I want it so I buy it. “TV” isn’t nearly as much without an Apple TV. Through the Apple TV we stream Apple Music, play Apple Arcade and watch the compelling programming offered through Apple TV+. If you have young kids in the home there’s no substitute whatsoever for Disney+. It all works incredibly well through Apple TV. More things in life should be this simple and satisfying for consumers.

    14
    November 30, 2021
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    My only negative thought Apple TV is the M-1 powered iPad Pro. I rarely turn my TV on anymore. I can watch my content from ANYWHERE, and I do, especially sports. I’m moving from room to room, house to garage, gardening, getting things done and not missing a beat.

    Some would you can do that with a radio. No. You can’t.

    3
    November 30, 2021
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      Gregg: In my household we all use iPhones and iPads for mobile viewing of content. For family time (and it’s a large family!), there’s nothing like sharing a movie after dinner in a space we can all enjoy together and for that the Apple TV is well worth the small cost. I won’t put a price on the priceless moments of time together. The ability to share a cinematic experience in the safety and security of home, especially now, is priceless. Long ago we said “good bye” to the high costs of cable. Even now we happily say “Hello!” to Apple TV. As a solution, Apple TV always seems “new.”

      4
      November 30, 2021
        • Robert Paul Leitao said:
          Gregg: If I lived alone I might not have a TV. I’d stream content through my 27″ iMac. But I’d have an Apple TV is my carry bag for use when making presentations. Kind of like, “home sweet home” when away from home with my devices. It provides for more presentation options when on the road.

          1
          November 30, 2021
  3. David Baraff said:
    Off Topic: Has Omicron driven all mention of Debt Ceiling Apocalypse (December 2021version) from the news?

    Isn’t the cliff right in front of us, with one party vowing not to supply a single vote toward the 60 needed to pass it?

    2
    November 30, 2021
    • Gregg Thurman said:
      The Republican Party is tearing itself apart from within. “Not a single vote” is unsupportable rhetoric. Too many of their constituents are benefitting mightily from current economic growth to put their loyalty at risk.

      2
      November 30, 2021
    • Jerry Doyle said:
      @David Baraff: “….Has Omicron driven all mention of Debt Ceiling Apocalypse (December 2021version) from the news?”

      The answer is “no.” Dealing with the debt ceiling was in the day’s news. Both sides of the aisle say they are making progress, but we have heard that response many times.

      Candidly, I believe what has pushed Omicron aside somewhat and will continue to do so is “inflation.” Please understand what I am about to say. My personal opinion (said with confidence) is that Omicron will not turn out to be the issue as much as inflation and the FED’s response to dealing with inflation.

      Government response to Omicron has been swift and continues to be vigilant. We have an arsenal of vaccines that while not targeted to Omicron specifically, still provide a form of protection along with boosters against Omicron.

      Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical companies all are moving with alacrity to develop a vaccine specifically targeted at Omicron.

      Lastly, news reports are reporting that individuals who have succumbed to Omicron all have had mild symptoms.

      So, if all those parameters above remain intact, then I do believe with confidence that Omicron will not gain the feared traction initially thought by many. That leaves inflation and the Fed as the primary issue. Debt ceiling? Been there, done that many times. It gets done in the end. Always has, and I suspect always will.

      2
      November 30, 2021
      • Bart Yee said:
        What sold me on Apple TV 4K is
        1) a useful click wheel type remote plus back and home button functions which makes navigation easy. Movement is simple, menus when you need them, all with the familiarity of an iPhone settings app.

        2) via connected iPhone or iPad an actual keyboard for text searches or using it as a remote. This eliminates even Apple’s decent hunt/peck alphanumeric search input (I’ve not tried Siri). The old VCR / set top box input menus and letter hunting UI needs to die off permanently.

        3) being able to watch on my old Panasonic Plasma TVs and extract the HDMI audio to my main stereo system with 1980’s Yamaha Professional power amps pushing 240W/ch. driving either large late 1970’s JBL Studio Monitors w/15” woofers or IMF Mk VII Reference Standard Professional Monitors from England. For me, no small speakers truly compares to large stereo monitors at realistic listening levels.

        4) finally, the easy pairing of 2 pairs of AirPods Pro for quiet yet shared listening of late night viewing without disturbing others. Individual volume controls, noise cancelling or transparent, and spatial audio are the crowning touches.

        The Apple TV 4K is well thought out, fast and elegant, with a consistent and superior User Interface which makes streaming TV simple and easy. The cost IMO is trivial for the value and longevity you get, as usual.

        2
        December 1, 2021
  4. T R said:
    I went from a Roku Ultra 4K w/ HDR to a 2021 Apple TV 4K. On my LG OLED, the picture quality is notably superior to the Roku (which had the latest updates, wired ethernet, same internet speed tier, and provider and cables). There are times I’ve missed Roku’s Universal Search vs. Seri, but it hasn’t been a big deal.

    2
    November 30, 2021
  5. David Emery said:
    Having to pay $60 for a functional remote still bothers me about the previous iterations of Apple TV.

    1
    November 30, 2021
  6. John Konopka said:
    I just upgraded a really old Apple TV to the new 4K version. It works well.

    One of the things I like best is that it doesn’t spy on me. I have a smart TV (Sony) but I have never connected it to the internet, never will.

    2
    November 30, 2021
    • Robert Paul Leitao said:
      John: I did the same thing setting up a TV in the front room. I made sure the TV wasn’t connected directly to the Internet. It’s one of the benefits of acquiring an Apple TV. You control what’s connected and with Apple you know what’s being tracked.

      1
      December 1, 2021
  7. Kirk DeBernardi said:
    Damned as expensive but…”worth every penny.”

    Kinda deflates the word “expensive”, doesn’t it?

    (Like most things Apple.)

    2
    November 30, 2021
  8. Darren DMW said:
    Acquired 4th Apple TV 4K via Black Friday gift card promo.

    We keep one at our in-laws holiday house and take one with us when travelling and plug it into hotel TVs so I can watch my sport and the kids can watch their shows.

    2 are connected to Yamaha amps for Apple Music filled living rooms.

    Picture quality / sound quality / ease of setup and use.

    Such an underrated product.

    4
    December 1, 2021
  9. Lenny Sachs said:
    The AppleTV 4k in my family room is attached to my 9.1 System… Denon 4400H receiver, a mix of RSL speakers: 3-CG23, 4-CG2, 2-C34E, 4k TV, 4K Blu-ray, Satellite Receiver, and yes a turntable (never got rid of the old records) Phenomenal sound at a reasonable price… Works well with all – and sound imaging is great. Can’t see watching on a ‘device.’

    3
    December 1, 2021

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