It would be fair to say that my 3rd generation Apple TV has been driving my family mad! It all started with us losing the tiny remote control and having to buy another, and losing that one.
That is of course our fault, but does not warrant the frustration we have experienced since. The problem in a nutshell is AirPlay which has been the most inconsistent, most annoying and most pointless thing Apple ever made. I can pick up my iPhone and use the Remote app to control the TV one minute and then 5 minutes later, the app is telling me to set up home sharing. Other times it just does not work for any of us and re-inputting home sharing information, turning off the router and the Apple TV does not help either. We just sit there and end up watching some crap on terrestrial TV.
Last week I snapped when I tried programming a multi-remote to the Apple TV. It got three buttons in and then told me that it had already learnt that button so to try again. Next time it got one button in and the next four buttons until I gave up and decided to buy a classic Apple remote again. £19!
£19 for a remote that we would no doubt lose for a third time and so instead I picked up a 50% off Roku Streaming Stick for £14 to give that a go.
One week later and it is working perfectly; Netflix, Amazon Video, YouTube, BBC iPlayer etc etc. it all works and so does the Roku remote app which never loses the connection and does not experience the problems we do with AirPlay. I know for a fact that my router is not the problem and also know many people with a variety of routers who hate AirPlay with a passion because it is so unreliable. Sure, it works for some people which is great, but when it doesn’t it really is a pain in the backside.
I also like the Roku interface better because it is cleaner and everything works very efficiently. The remote is big enough not to lose so easily and the stick in the back of the TV is out of the way completely.
I thought that I needed the ability to send video from my iPhone to the Apple TV, but I can do that through the Roku and I have to say that my mind has been changed completely with regard to the Apple TV as a product, and all because of one small part of the setup.
To sum up, for the full price of £28, the Roku Streaming Stick is a bargain, a big one.