I have the worst TV ever made. I won’t embarrass the maker, but the software is grindingly slow, the “smart” part is anything but smart, and trying to establish any logic amongst the fifty or so buttons on the remote would defeat a Mensa member. However, the screen is pretty good.
So when I was offered the chance to play with Apple’s new TV, I thought maybe here was my salvation. Apple’s slick interface, the new tvOS, and an exceptionally cool remote with only five buttons, a touchpad with Siri surely would enable me to bypass my TV’s internal workings.
It took a few minutes to set up. And I didn’t have to do anything more than put my iPhone near the Apple TV which read my details and set everything up for me. Nice. Then to switch on the telly and give it a go. First impression? Neat interface, snappy control (love the touch pad) and so many apps – it will take me a while to go through them all. Siri is a hoot to use. During any movie you’re watching, you can ask: “what did he say?” and the movie pauses, rewinds, then plays the last spoken scene again and even adds subtitles for you.
But can I play all my Freeview channels and replace my TV controller? Kind of. There’s an app called TV Player that has the majority of channels such as BBC and ITV. I’m still not sure if it’s HD or not, but the image is good most of the time and the sound perfect. Also, if I ever wanted extra channels I can pay for them. On its way is BBC iPlayer, an absolute necessity.
Next step is to hide the TV remote and let the family judge. So far, the Apple TV is much more than just another gadget or gizmo, it looks closer to relegating my TV to a pure display role and giving me the flexibility of viewing choice that my “smart” TV wasn’t able to provide before.