I have long been of the opinion that the Apple TV is a very underrated piece of technology. We bought the original one about 7 years ago, and then upgraded to the second edition when it was released. It’s a little box which connects via HDMI cable to your television and allows you to play any media purchased or rented via iTunes as well as a selection of streamed Internet content. For many people it is the cheapest way of adding “smart” functionality to your existing television.
We own an increasing number of devices on which we can watch Netflix – connected to our home television we have a Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii U, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV stick in addition to the Apple TV. Each of these have a Netflix app, but when we watch Netflix we always choose to watch it on the Apple TV. There’s just something about the Apple interface which is a better user experience, and I’m not sure I can put it adequately in to words.
There’s been speculation for a while that Apple would be bringing apps to the Apple TV, and quite honestly it has needed it. Ours is great for watching Netflix, NowTV and even Hopster for the kids, but it has long been a bugbear of mine that we couldn’t get BBC iPlayer on it. But is that about to change…?
At the latest Apple press event a couple of weeks ago the company announced the new iPad Pro, and the iPhone 6s. But to me the most exciting announcement was the new Apple TV. Finally this device is getting some love – Apple have written a new operating system, tvOS, and will be opening a new TV App Store. This Store will contain not only media streaming apps, but games as well. And that opens a whole new world of big screen gaming. I look at what Apple has achieved in the mobile gaming space with the iPhone and iPad, and I wonder what they can achieve with TV gaming.
The day after the Apple announcement, an Activision press release landed in my Inbox, announcing that they would be releasing 3 games on the Apple TV platform this Autumn. Their game Guitar Hero Live was demonstrated by Apple at the launch event, but in addition to that they confirmed they will also be releasing Geometry Wars 3: Dimensions Evolved and, the game the geekson can’t wait to play, Skylanders SuperChargers. It’s great to see big console games like this confirmed for the Apple TV, and it gives me hope that there will be a good range of games on the device when it launches or soon after.
I will buy the new Apple TV because I think it’s already a great media streaming device. But I’m very excited to see if it will become our next games console as well.