Five Things We Don't Really Like About Apple TV

Five Things We Don't Really Like About Apple TV

Apple recently released an upgrade to their $99 set top box called the Apple TV. It now supports 1080p video which is a good thing. An Apple TV is a hockey puck-sized device similar in size to other set-top boxes like the Roku or Western Digital's WD TV. While we think set-top boxes like the Apple TV deliver a lot of content to your TV set for a reasonable price, we have some issues with the AppleTV for the following reasons:

Where Are the Apps?

While the Apple TV does allow you to run a number of built-in apps, it doesn't offer the ability to run apps from the app store. Wouldn't it be nice if you could access the Apple App Store, download a free game and play it on the big screen? We guess you'll have to wait for the rumored Apple-branded HDTV set that may make the scene in 2013.
Movies and TV Shows Are Pricey
With an Apple TV you're pretty much limited to what you can "buy" in iTunes. Not that there isn't a generous amount of programming available, it just costs you a few bucks every time you want to watch something. Although Apple offers most of the popular movies you'll have to pay $5 to rent an HD version or $20 to buy the 1080p version. Of course, Netflix is available if you have a subscription but you won't find Amazon or Blockbuster on Apple TV.
Where's Hulu?

Although there are plenty of TV shows to watch on an Apple TV, Hulu, the biggest player in streaming shows is nowhere to be found. Hulu has become one of the more popular places to get the latest shows and programming. It's available on just about every other streaming box from Blu-ray players to connected TVs. Why doesn't Apple offer it? There are rumors that Hulu may offer an AirPlay "enabled" version of its app which theoretically be able to send Hulu content through an Apple TV to your HDTV set.
AirPlay is a Proprietary Sharing Protocol
Airplay allows you to display content from devices like MacBooks, iPhones, and iPads on your HDTV set through your AppleTV using a sharing protocol called AirPlay. It's a very useful feature but there is also another industry sharing protocol called DLNA which is supported by all the major consumer electronics manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, Western Digital and others.
No Third Party Channels
If you have a Roku box you may have come across third party directories like rokuguide.com which lists hundreds of third party channels, many for free that provide all kinds of interesting programming. These third party channels have helped grow the Roku ecosystem and made Roku a very attractive device.
Own a Bunch of Set-top Boxes
For less than $200 you can buy an Apple TV, a Roku or WD box and an HDMI switcher so you can have the best of all the set-top worlds. On the other hand you may just want to buy a connected Blu-ray player for under $100 that offers most of the streaming content you'll want to watch.

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