My Apple TV is old and a pain to use these days; the software is noticeably slow compared to any other device I use, starting a streaming seems to take forever and the remote is completely unintuitive (and gets lost far too easily).
I cannot blame the product itself due to the age, but when considering what to replace it with the options are stark. Do I buy an Apple TV 4K for £169 or an Amazon Fire Tv Stick 4K for £49.99? That is quite a gap, but when Prime Day appeared and the Fire Stick dropped down to £26.99 I decided to try the latter option because Apple TV+ is now supported.
A few days later and the Fire TV Stick interface is used 95% of the time on my TV. It has taken over the Samsung smart TV interface which has always felt ‘not quite good enough’ and it plays all of my Apple TV content and streams perfectly every single time.
With support for YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, Apple Music, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV+, BBC iPlayer, a big selection of apps and games, gaming controller support and so much more it is hard to fault for the price. Throw in the Alexa remote control feature, which for example lets you just say a film name and it will find the best platform it is available on, and you have a winner which covers every single base.
Then consider Dolby Atmos Audio support, Up to 4K Ultra HD with support for HDR, HDR 10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision and a remote control that is completely intuitive and I feel like my £26.99 was a very small price to pay for what I got.
And then I look at the Apple TV 4K for 6 times the Prime Day price and I scratch my head at the pricing, and I start to believe that this is an example where when Apple opens up it loses.
I would get some features not available elsewhere such as High Frame Rate HDR, colour calibration and Fitness+ support, but to be honest the first two would barely be noticeable in the real world and the third can be used on other devices anyway (and also mirrored from an iPhone using the Replica app).
The remote control is touted by Apple as running circles around other remotes, but with Siri inside it immediately falls behind because Alexa is better. It simply is better.
It is not often that Apple makes a product that is so completely out of line in terms of pricing against the competition, but the current Apple TV is surely the perfect example. It literally offers nothing tangible compared to other, much cheaper, products and it is an outlier in the Apple product range.
I often tout the value in the iPhone, the Apple Watch and the Macs, and even in an Apple One subscription, but I cannot get close to recommending a new Apple TV.
And if I forget that the hugely expensive Apple TV exists, I have to give credit to Amazon because the Fire TV Stick 4K Ultra HD is just superb. It makes me think about other hardware options if Apple was to open up iMessage and the Apple Watch to other products and it makes me think twice about the hold the company has on me.