Is Apple’s TV Box Now Mostly Pointless?

Mark Gurman says “. . . in recent years, the Apple TV has become a less obvious purchase for many Apple fans and content junkies. The app ecosystem is a flop, aside from big names like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube and the occasional casual game. The box costs, in some cases, more than double what rivals sell for.

Most importantly, buying an Apple TV no longer gives users a content advantage. We are in the age of streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, and business models have shifted so that every service is available on every device—phones, tablets, TV sets, streaming sticks and game consoles.”

John Gruber says “ its primary point is to deliver a superior user experience”. And I say I hated the Siri remote the first time I used it.

There are now devices that sell for a fraction the price of an ATV that match or better its performance. What is it about the ATV these days that justifies a $100+ premium price?

Fitness+ for me.


There is no way that I would connect any TV loaded with crapware, tracking software, and ads to a network. Apple TV (the box) may be overpriced, but it works well and I’m happy to pay for the experience, security, and privacy it gives me.


tw: subscription

Well, I can watch the movies and tv shows I’ve bought from Apple, and play Apple Music, which I subscribe to. It also gives me a unified place for everything.
The new Siri remote is nice.
Also, it just works.


I use the Apple TV for the same reasons other folks have mentioned. Additionally, at work I use one to connect to a Promethean board to stream content from by MacBook Pro and iPad wirelessly.


Our only choice here is Chromecast, SmartTV or AppleTV. Will always choose the latter.

For me, there’s Airplay (content from my Mac or iOS device), Apple Arcade and my collection of movies from iTunes.


Apple Fitness + and anything in 4K just looks better in my opinion. Plus I trust Apple a whole lot more than I trust any other vendor out there.


I also got the new Apple TV, and I do prefer the new remote quite a bit, even if I personally didn’t have much issue with the old either. I have connected it to an Android TV that has all of the apps I need (except for Apple TV+ for some reason), but the Apple TV is simply much better in daily use: faster and easier to scrub back and forwards.

Airplay is nice too and I do like that I can use the TV to access the Photos library.

Overpriced? Well, I don’t think so, given the hours of use it gets every single night. A smooth content consuption experience is important to me. Now, maybe the alternatives are just as good, I have not tested them, but the integration with the ecosystem is only going to come from Apple.

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No HomePods in my country, so I “need” an Apple TV as a Home(Kit) hub.

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I definitely use it a lot. It lets me view my cable TV and it’s much better than the box that my provider gives.

Slower, lower specced devices make viewing painful as it is slow compared to Apple TV (I was bought an Amazon box once for a Christmas present and it was so slow I never used it, even in a spare room).

As others have said, I don’t want to send data about what I watch to China and Korea, so never use the built in spyware bundled with TVs. I also don’t want cheap ad-subsidized set top boxes.

The icing on the cake is the new remote, I love the new design

Still like the UX on Apple TV.

It is smarter than my aging but still perfect working TV.

Also use it as a Plex player in the living room as well. With the HDHomeRun TV tuner it basically has become my smart tv as I have no more cable box. NowTV, AppleTV, Prime Video and more all in one interface…

I’d agree in part with the original article. I’ve an Apple TV and an nVidia Shield and the Shield gets used more often. In the main, it’s because the Apple remote was awful - tempted for the new one as I’ve the oldest Apple TV it supports. The Apple TV gets turned on only for iTunes/Apple TV content and for apps that aren’t on Android (UKTV Play is one I found missing from the Shield). It also helps that Kodi on the Shield plays anything I throw at it, unlike the Apple TV, unless I switched to Plex.

I bought it hoping I could also do some casual gaming on it, but the number of games didn’t really materialise but I’ve not really tried again with Apple Arcade.

In terms of smart TV, I once connected my TV to the network until I saw the number of blocked web connects on my Pi Hole and I quickly unplugged it!

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Gurman disppoints me.

He essentially parlayed into a nice gig based on leaks from insiders. I’ve never seen any talent displayed by Gurman.

There are lots of areas that need updating to modern ideals of Time Shifting, Space Shifting. Where’s the built in DVR for OTA channels? Where’s the software conduit that allows me to store my iTunes movies on a Mac mini server and then “reliably” send that over the network to my TV?

There’s plenty of innovation to be had…Apple just doesn’t want to do it right now and these issues have very little to do with content access and exclusives. Thats such an aged view point.


And he has been at the top of his game for something like 10 years. My question to him would be “What are your plans for Act 2, when your sources evaporate?”.

My DVR for OTA used to be an Nvidia Shield. I got tired of maintaining it and signed up for YoutubeTV with unlimited DVR storage. I retired my Plex server for the same reason. I still have my movies ripped from DVDs, but most of them are now available to stream for free (with ads) should I ever want to watch them again.

I think the ATV will remain much the same as it is today, IMO the ATV+ app is proof of that. It could become a HomeKit hub but I don’t see any additional media features in its future. But Apple could surprise me.

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I love that I can glance at my iPhone and see what my kids are watching and how much time is left in the show, and I can disconnect Internet from the the eero app if needed.

@WayneG Agreed I’m not buying the angle that Apple doesn’t know how to innovate here. There are lots of low hanging fruit to pluck. ATSC 3.0 now called Nextgen TV hasn’t even rolled out in all 48 continental states …there’s no point really attacking that market until it is nearly deployed in all major metro areas.

Until then I think Apple’s going to work on gaming functionality and next year roll out a version that functions nicely as a somewhat affordable Apple TV/Zoom Room device. Which I think will continue to be big post C19.

@dfay I love this feature as well and wouldn’t mind expanding on it to see at perhaps 15 fps what’s playing on the screen if wifi bandwidth permits. I also want more remote control using the Remote App where I can navigate the UI and manage multiple Apple TV

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I have a slow internet connection and wanted something with an Ethernet plugin. I picked the Apple TV over the Roku with ethernet because I expected higher quality. I am not sure if it was a good choice or not. My ancient Xbox 360 is used for Netflix because it works more reliably with less buffering. My Xbox is too old to get Disney plus hence the Apple TV purchase.

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That’s an excellent reason to choose an Apple TV. I don’t have that option and it’s been so long since I’ve used a wired connection that I actually forgot the ATV has one. :grinning:

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I own and use three AppleTVs in my house. I can not imagine to switch to anything else. I love the integration in Apple’s ecosystem. I love the reliability of AirPlay. And I like the user experience. And yes, privacy.

And two weeks ago, at work the hell froze over: there are now two conference rooms with 75 inch TVs that only serve one purpose - acting as displays for AppleTVs for stuff that is being displayed on iPads.

It had been a proposal of mine. At first our bosses regarded it as a joke on my hand. Then they saw a similar system at a client’s office. And now they are hooked. GoodNotes, Apple Pencil, iPad and even AirPlay via PC software to the AppleTV. It is flawless and very easy to use. And cheap. Yes, cheap!

And that is in a 100% non-Apple office with Windows only. This is Apple’s first step into this company.

So, no. The AppleTV box is not pointless, but I do get the frustration of people inside and outside Apple regarding the AppleTV: It has huge potential, it is a powerful device, but it is sitting in the shadows and there is not much light being shed on this remarkable device and its potential.


IMO I gave up privacy when I signed up for cable tv many years ago. Today Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. know who I am when I use their services, especially on mobile, so it’s no secret I prefer Star Trek to Star Wars (sorry David) and “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” is one of my favorite movies.

It does offer some features devices don’t, but so far that hasn’t been enough to justify a price that is 2 to 3 times that of its competition.