Despite the latest facelifts that the Cupertino company has seen fit to carry out at the hardware level on Apple TV, it has become an excessively niche device, whose software lacks any advantage over its competitors and that therefore, it has become very unattractive to developers.
Thus, Apple TV has become a development wasteland, seeing itself clearly surpassed by operating systems integrated into Smart TVs such as Tizen or webOS. Apple knows that its multimedia center is in terminal phase, and does absolutely nothing to remedy it.
Rise and fall of a device like no other
Apple did what it did best, over time, even though the Apple TV has been with us since 2007, it wasn’t until the fourth-generation Apple TV, released in 2017 and integrating tvOS, a variant of iOS focused entirely on entertainment, that marked a before and after for a device that was beginning to be extremely attractive to the majority of Apple users.
However, The real break with the past was the launch of the Apple TV 4K in 2017, a device that mounted nothing more and nothing less than the A10X Fusion processor. with 64-bit architecture. This Apple TV was capable of offering content in 4K resolution and with a high dynamic range (HDR and Dolby Vision), as well as crowning the experience with next-generation digital sound (Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital Plus 7.1.
Many iOS users around the world had their mouths watering, the time had come to banish tedious Smart TVs, to take a quality step up from Amazon’s unintuitive Fire TV, to play high-quality content and why not? Enjoy endless content thanks to tvOS, a variant of iOS that would push developers to create content for the Apple TV. Or at least that was what we imagined.
The (old) advantages of having an Apple TV
If you had an Apple developed environment at home, having an Apple TV was a host of advantages: You could enjoy AirPlay 2, which allowed you to stream all kinds of content in real time, whether it was from applications like Netflix or directly from the gallery of your iOS or iPadOS devices; Apple TV doubles as a device hub for your Apple HomeKit system; A visual environment and a clearly superior user interface in terms of quality and design than that offered by any alternative; Performance and features that made consuming media especially enjoyable; The Siri Remote offers a feeling of quality compared to the alternatives typical of television; The ability to consume 4K and HDR content in apps like Netflix, Prime Video, and other video providers; Endless apps of all kinds…
This is the same frame from “Nope” on Movistar+, overexposed, the first on Apple TV (tvOS) and the second on Tizen OS.
The development of tvOS is stagnant, it is unfortunate that Apps like Prime Video or M+ do not have HDR or Dolby Atmos. pic.twitter.com/Z6qAX7LxsS
– Miguel Hernandez (@Miguel_h91) May 12, 2023
However, with the passage of time these advantages have been diluted notably, some are due to Apple itself, which has integrated AirPlay into most Samsung televisions, taking away one of its star functions exclusively from Apple TV.
But the big blow for Apple TV has been development. World-renowned applications such as Movistar+ offer their content in HD resolution and with Machiavellian 5.1 sound, while in operating systems such as Tizen (Samsung Smart TV), we can enjoy the same content in 4K HDR Dolby Amos, the comparisons are hateful.
They no longer bet on Apple TV
The thing is not just about Movistar+, we have numerous applications from other providers that offer unpleasant differences, some do without Dolby Atmos, others offer traditional HDR instead of Dolby Vision, or do not even reach HDR10.
All this is easy to verify, black “screenshots” are increasingly common on televisions with HDR technology while you use your Apple TV. This is mainly because the app’s menus and functionalities are running in SD format, while when entering the content, the Apple TV detects it as HDR content and amplifies the signal from the HDMI cable, producing that annoying display.
This could be understandable, if it weren’t for the fact that this screenshot occurs every time you change the video on YouTube, every time you change the movie on the HBO and Movistar+ home screen, every time you enter and exit certain applications…
It is nothing but a sample of the contempt for the development in tvOS, offering “muddle through” products, because let’s face it, the market is in Tizen and webOS, and I don’t blame them for that.
It’s a shame, because Apple TV is a powerful device, capable of running almost any type of content and application, but there are few apps that maintain the level, such as Disney+ and Apple TV+, where you won’t find development differences between different platforms, but of course, what are we to expect from such similar companies?
However, this inevitably hurts Apple TV users myself included, and believe me if I assure you that I would rather continue using my Apple TV 4K than the embarrassing operating system that Samsung calls Tizen, which is ad-supported (even on a €3,000+ TV), suffers from constant lag, and a user interface that would make a goat vomit.
Check it out for yourself
Be that as it may, everything that I tell you here is not an opinion, it is documented, and if you want to observe it for yourselves, You simply have to enter an application such as YouTube, Movistar + or HBO and press the “Options” button on your Samsung TV, to quickly navigate to the image mode and observe that indeed, the review does not appear “HDR” in almost no application. That the image mode selector shows the small text “HDR” indicates that the signal it is reproducing is of high dynamic range.
The same happens if you press the “i” button when you play the content, there you will discover that although Dolby Atmos content is offered to you, the reality is that most of these movies are running in Dolby 5.1 PCM, the most basic.
Things have to change a lot in a short period of time so that Apple does not end up burying the Apple TV.