The new Apple TV arrived today and was ready waiting for when I got home from work. The new Apple TV replaces my 2nd generation Apple TV.
Setting up was a breeze. It asked if I wanted to use my iPhone to set up and copied the settings across. However, I decided to start again and proceed with a manual set up as I have both a UK iTunes account and a US iTunes account. The US iTunes account enables me to watch US TV shows and films normally well ahead of the UK releases and also provides a wider selection of media.
This is where the 4th generation Apple TV scores highly in my book. It allows you to log in to iCloud, Game Center with whichever account you want, and then with the iTunes/App Store account you can add more than one account which is what I have done. So I have my UK and US accounts added and can switch on the fly by going into the settings, accounts and select whichever option I require.
For the initial installation, I used my UK iTunes account as I have all my apps associated with this account. It showed 30 apps/games already available for Apple TV. I have decided install the following games – Crossy Road, Oceanhorn, Canabalt, Badlands, Asphalt 8, Jetpack Joyride, Edge Extended and 10 Pin Shuffle Pro Bowling. Apps I have added are YouTube, Flickr, Sky News, Netflix and YouTube. BBC iPlayer is not available yet but the BBC have stated a dedicated app is coming.
I have to say the set up process is a breeze and the layout is great. What is not so great is app discovery and there is no categories. Under app purchases, categories do exist, so I imagine it won’t be difficult for Apple to tweak the app discovery to include categories.
The new remote control is excellent. I would suggest not rushing to buy a MFI Game Controller until you have tried the new remote. Siri on the Apple TV is a bit hit or miss. I asked for the film “The Martians” and it kept coming up with “The Motions”. I then told Siri “You are dumb”. Siri replied “I tried my best”. I laughed out loud! But when it works it really works well but does need some improvement.
Within the settings app, there are loads of other settings which have loads of options for the quality of the audio and video. Neat.
Storage. Now you can buy the Apple TV with 32gb or 64gb storage capacities. To give you some idea of the space taken up by the games, Oceanhorn is top at 185mb, Asphalt 8 is 95mb, so based on that I cannot see the need for 64gb at all. Of course, the extra storage might be used to store films and TV shows which could burn up the space quickly, but seriously 32gb should be fine.
Wallpapers. The aerial wallpapers are beautiful and if opted to use, will need a download of 600mb per month. You can select how often to download these too.
So what are the games like to play?
Oceanhorn – on start up needed to download the game chapter. This took 2 mins. After that the remote was used and worked brilliantly.
Asphalt 8 – took 10 mins to download first part of game which clearly got deleted after playing. You turn the remote horizontal and go off racing. I thought the odd frame got missed, but seriously it was great fun to play. Each level took just over a minute to download.
Games – I have played quickly all the games installed and they all work really well. Canabalt was better on the big screen than my iPhone. Edge Extended applied itself superbly to the Apple TV. Crossy Road is just a ball of fun. Badlands is a good game and adapts nicely to the Apple TV.
So how does this compare to the Amazon Fire TV? Well voice control on the Amazon Fire TV is better and more accurate. Amazon Prime becomes a bonus with the Fire TV along with the content available, but when it comes to apps or more importantly games, I really believe Apple already has the edge and its only just launched.
My final thought. This is a brand new Apple TV which is all about the apps. Based on my initial experiences I do believe Apple has already got the edge on the gaming front, and the potential/future looks even more promising. If you have any other Apple devices, this new box is recommended.
Update – I have been playing Oceanhorn for a while now and this game does work well. In terms of other non gaming apps, there is a shortage versus other systems but I hope this gap is bridged as developers release new apps. If you already have an Apple TV, I don’t see the need to rush out and get one of these unless you like the idea of a new Apple TV and the ability to play games from your TV.