First Apple TV 4 Reviews Hit the Web [Roundup]

Apple TV 4

The all-new Apple TV is just about to land in stores (at least in the US, but we certainly hope in Canada, too) on October 30, so the first reviews posted online have arrived right on time. Overall, reviewers seem to agree that the Apple TV 4 is the best set-top box you on the market right now, highlighting how helpful Siri can be and pointing to its potential for the future, thanks to tvOS and apps that are about to hit this platform.


I have no idea really whether Apple’s new Apple TV is better or worse than rivals like the Roku 4 and the Amazon Fire TV, but I think I can definitively say that it is far superior to the old Apple TV. It’s intuitive, uncomplicated, and — crucially — thoughtful. Is that a ridiculous thing to say about a set-top box? Probably. But it’s also true.


I’ve owned (and reviewed) every major (and most of the minor) set-top boxes on the market and most have their own attempt at universal search. The Apple TV experience is the best out of the box, hands-down.


Among vehicles for streaming video, the Apple TV is easily the most luxurious you can buy today. It delivers Netflix, Hulu, HBO, Showtime and the rest with more refinement than any of its direct competitors. Its speed and fluidity, its slick remote and its superb voice (er, Siri) search and command are enough to make it a no-brainer upgrade from the old Apple TV for plenty of buyers, especially those with large collections of TV shows, movies and music on iTunes, not to mention games.

The Wall Street Journal:

The Apple TV’s greatest edge is its remote control. That may sound trivial, but other efforts to make apps work on TVs have been comically complex. Most others require you to tap, tap, tap, up/down and left/right like on a directional pad. Chromecast makes you use a phone. The Apple TV gets the Internet TV remote right by reaching for the same touch-screen feeling that makes the iPhone intuitive to a 2-year-old. The new remote has a glass touchpad on one end that you swipe and tap around with your thumb as if it’s an iPhone. Without having to look down, you feel connected to what’s happening on the big screen.

USA Today:

*The user experience. Apple boasts the prettiest on-screen interface among the streaming devices that I’ve seen. It starts with stunning photographic screen-savers of major cities around the world and continues as you come across handsome movie and TV posters.

Yahoo Tech:

Setting up Apple TV is very cool if you have an iPhone: You just hold the phone near the box. Your WiFi network info, Apple name, and Apple password are transmitted magically to the Apple TV, so you don’t have to type it out.

New York Times:

While the Apple TV is my favorite all-around streaming device, there are some weaknesses. Setting it up can be tedious. When you install streaming apps like Hulu and Netflix from the App Store, you type in your login credentials by swiping left and right with the remote to select letters of the alphabet one at a time — you have no option to do this by speaking into the microphone or using a keyboard on a smartphone.

The Apple TV may also not be the best streaming device for everyone because of one missing feature: the ability to stream content available in Ultra HD 4K TV, the latest high-definition resolution supported by some of the newest TV sets.

Do you plan to purchase an Apple TV 4?

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  • Eric Godwin

    The question isn’t if it’s better than the old one.. the question is does it bring anything interesting to the Canadian streaming market. My current ATV is essentially only used for Netflix so I need something to justify the upgrade or it seems silly

  • It’s a great question… and it’s mine too.
    Does it bring more… I’m sure yes, but in Canada ? Not sure yet… So Siri search on Netflix… also on Hulu (not available in Canada), will it search on or Shomi ?

    And also for French Canada, Apple said Siri won’t be available yet.

  • Gary Bowen

    I imagine the Siri remote, and third party apps such as Plex will make it better. Depending on your point of view, it’s not an expensive upgrade. I’m very much looking forward to mine.

  • I’m still 50-50…
    I’m very happy with the last gen one! Perfect for streaming all my movies from my iMac (all my videos are in iTunes).

    But love the new tvOS for sure.
    I feel it’s still like the Watch, it’s like a 1st gen product who’s going to be much better with tvOS updates. I noticed most reviews are talking about it’s great, but not amazing… but open the door for even better stuff!

    I’m sure that i’ll end up in an Apple store Friday morning and buy one…. and after the question: 32 or 64? hummmm.

  • SF1234

    Does anyone know if you can watch US contents on this Apple TV using a DNS spoof? Also, what channels and apps does the ATV exclude in Canada?

  • Derek Kraneveldt

    Should be fine! I use Unblock-Us on the current one (and all of my other devices) with no issue. You should be able to set your region on the Apple TV to US, and then the US services will appear. Signing up for those services is another story altogether.

  • Derek Kraneveldt

    I mean the big new thing here is Apps. The Siri remote and UI are cool, but I doubt that many current owners would update based on that.

    I’m stoked for third part services, and for a native Plex app, but mostly to see what developers can do with the App Store on the device. Party games are going to be HUGE on this thing, as everybody already has a controller in their pocked, all of the time!

  • Tim Stewart

    Was the NYT reviewer reviewing the latest ATV? I’ve used my iphone’s remote app keyboard for a few OS revisions now on my ATV2 and 3. Perhaps he was using an android or Windows phone and did not want to use any 3rd party apps.

  • Parksy

    If they are a standalone service (ie. Hulu) it’s easy to sign up for them and use your Canadian credit card. If it’s a US network app (ie. CBS, ABC) they are nearly impossible to subscribe to unless you have a friend in the US who’s willing to share their cable subscription information.

  • Derek Kraneveldt

    That’s more what I was referring to. I sure hope that we see more a la carte services available in the future!

  • I think it’s quite possible that the Remote app for iPhone hasn’t been updated to be compatible with the new Apple TV 4 yet, which they would likely do tomorrow. It would suck if they removed that capability.

  • I think that would come in the form of apps. Now that CTV, Global, CBC, etc. are theoretically able to develop their own apps to bring their content directly to your TV screen, it could be more useful for you.

    That being said, I use my current one for YouTube, Trailers, iTunes rentals, Shomi, Red Bull TV and Vimeo, so I find plenty of use for it myself. I guess it depends on what you’re in to. Of course Hulu would be nice, but that’s a Hulu licensing issue, not an Apple TV issue.

  • I’m quite happy with the current Apple TV I have so I think I’m going to hold off for a bit and see what apps come out for the new one.

    One of my major reasons for not wanting to upgrade is that my Logitech Harmony remote wouldn’t work with it. I like having everything easily controllable from one remote and it would be annoying to have to go back to two remotes. Hopefully Logitech will release a new Harmony remote with a built-in mic that will be compatible with the new Apple TV.

  • Crosseyedmofo

    itll still work with the new apple tv… just not siri or the touch stuff

  • Do you know this for sure? The new remote is Bluetooth, so there’s a good chance the new Apple TV doesn’t have an IR sensor.

    Either way, one of the main reasons for getting the new Apple TV would be to try out Siri and the touch stuff, so if I can’t use that easily why would I upgrade?

  • Crosseyedmofo

    ive been modded because i included a link… anywhoo yeah spec page, IR is there

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Do you know if this issue would be the same for Getflix? Perhaps Roku 4 is the better way to go or is it just as hard to sign up for US services through them as well. I know you have to have a US iTunes account (which I have) it’s just the US credit card I don’t have.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Do you know if this issue would be the same for Getflix? Perhaps Roku 4 is the better way to go or is it just as hard to sign up for US services through them as well. I know you have to have a US iTunes account (which I have) it’s just the US credit card I don’t have but could try getting one from Costco lol.

  • Derek Kraneveldt

    Most of the services aren’t dependent on on the box actually. It’s actually having an account for the US services (Hulu, HBO Now, etc).

    I haven’t actually looked into Getflix as I’ve been very happy with Unblock-Us (they also have great tutorials on how to sign up for certain services).

    In any case, the box shouldn’t have much to do with it. The biggest factors are where the service thinks you’re located, and being able to sign up for said service.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Oh okay thanks. Getflix showed me how to change my DNS so right now I “appear” to live in the US but it’ll suck big time if I have to subscribe to ABC, NBC etc. I was hoping to cut the cord. Perhaps not as easy as I had anticipated. : (

  • aaloo

    Supposedly the remote app for iOS hasn’t been updated yet to be compatible with the new Apple TV.

  • Parksy

    you can use a Canadian credit card for most US purchases. Take the letters from your postal code (ie N6K 4V6 becomes 646) and then determine what 2 numbers you need to add for it to become a valid zip code. In this case, 64601 is located in Chillicothe Missouri. Use your address with this city, state and zip code and it will work.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Thank you so much Parksy for the info. I read that tutorial on Unblock-Us but I did not know a Canadian credit card would work for most purchases. I was under the impression that you either needed a US credit card or in the case of the US iTunes Store you needed a US credit card or US iTunes gift cards.

  • Parksy

    Due to foreign exchange you’ll pay more than the listed price but if you want something, it will work. I’ve found that in some cases (movies on iTunes), it can still be cheaper to buy it on the US store and pay exchange than it is to buy it on the Canadian store. I recently looked at a movie that was $21.99 CAD and $14.99 USD. After exchange the USD amount in CAD is $19.49 which is cheaper than buying it in the Canadian store.

  • 1His_Nibs1

    Thanks for all the info! : )

  • Derek Kraneveldt

    Definitely not as easy if you’re looking for the actual cable network services, unfortunately 🙁

  • Chizza Otto

    Hey CBS actually has all access, i don’t think you will get it live but they instantly put all the episodes and programs at the same time as aired..ABC you get most of the things the next day and you can watch for free without signing up.Cutting cord is still feasible.