Let's Talk AppleTV
2017-04-02 13:29:35

Apple long touted the Apple TV as a hobby, sadly it still continues to be just that. Its become the hobby that gets mostly ignored but every now and again. When it is once again touched, no one can remember what it did or how it did it.

We have a lot of gripes about the Apple TV and most of them started after tvOS 9. Whether Apple just wasn't paying attention or maybe someone actually got them to stop using their patents - only Apple knows.

When the Apple TV 4 first come out, it would automatically begin playing the next TV episode when the previous was finished; not any more. This is something that DVR's have been doing for a decade or so. Since it had the feature and now doesn't does this mean that someone like TiVo threw a sueball at Apple and the company actually took out the feature? Oddly though, if you watch a movie from the 'newly added' playlist, when it is completed, the Apple TV 4 will start playing the next movie in that playlist. So does this mean that Apple QA engineers are asleep or does it mean that someone wrote a patent application to cover only TV shows and not newly added movies? Now let's think about this seriously, when are you most likely to want to continuously watch one thing after another - when watching TV episodes.

This is more than likely a programming oversight - which begs the question - does Apple still employ Quality Assurance / Testing Engineers and are they awake?

The other major complaint is the fact that the AppleTV 4 no longer remembers where it was in a list. Let's say you have your entire collection of Doctor Who DVD's ripped into iTunes to watch from any AppleTV in your flat. Not something you can watch in one sitting. Every time you go to watch the next episode you first have to scroll to the series (season) you want. This gets fun as you start watching later series. Then have to scroll down to the next episode to watch. You watch an episode or two, run out to grab a take-away and by the time you get back, the AppleTV has turned off and you have to go through the entire process all over again.

The AppleTV 2 & 3 would both remember where you were when it was shut off and go back to that show and would automatically move the pointed to the next unwatched episode in the series. Simple. The way an Apple product is meant to work. Not so with the 4. Apple apparently has decided that since everything you watch is going to be streamed from them or their partners there is no need to support features within how it interacts with a local iTunes library.

Scrolling through large lists made the above even more painful. Scrolling was originally incredibly bad and those of in the office, now have incredibly muscular thumbs from having to constantly flick the touchpad to scroll through lists on the AppleTV. This has been fixed, and the speed scroll from earlier AppleTV's is back. Although we've found the best solutions is to use the old remote control so that you only have to hold down the button instead of the constant flicking movement.

Getting rid of the remote does mean that you can't 'talk' to your AppleTV - but that seemed more of a gimmick designed to bring in more revenue to Apple and their partners. Seems to us, the first thing the voice search should be able to do is search your own iTunes catalog for the movie or TV show that you're requesting. We admit, this does take a little work, since the voice parsing actually happens offsite. So the device would have to send the audio to Apple, which in turn would spit back words that the AppleTV could then search the local iTunes for. But why should Apple do that when they can just point you to pay streaming services to view the same content.

For now, bollocks to the remote, let the damn thing collect dust on a shelf. And a general bollocks to the AppleTV 4 unless Apple will start paying attention to QA again.

Will tvOS 11 fix some of these issues? Maybe those that are beta testing it know the answer