The Apple TV 4K is bad, really bad

I purchased an Apple TV 4K last week as I needed one for a freelance article and was expecting an experience that was better than the previous Apple TV or my smart TV, because after all I spent £179 on it.

The design is nice and of course so is the unboxing experience, but there are some problems-

Apps like Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime take a LONG time to start streaming any film or TV episode, and the apps themselves take a long time to start up.

Siri through the remote is poor and rather inaccurate, just like it is on the iPhone or anywhere else.

The remote is fiddly to use and not friendly in the hand in any way.

My Samsung smart TV does everything much, much quicker and remarkably has a more natural interface.

Overall performance of the Apple TV is slow and it all feels dated in almost every area.

For £179 it is poor value indeed and most definitely not recommended. One day Apple will get the TV stuff right, one day…

BritBox is not a Netflix rival

The BBC and ITV’s newly announced BritBox – a joint streaming service – is a bizarre example of British broadcasters deciding “to work together in the national interest”, to borrow a phrase currently popular in Westminster.

Facing potentially ruinous competition from US streaming giants, led by Netflix and Amazon Prime, Britain’s oldest broadcasters are trying to claim a Blighty stake in the increasingly global, but largely American-financed, TV market. The venture submerges (if not necessarily suspending) decades of rivalry between the BBC and ITV so intense that both sides keep their schedules secret until the last minute to avoid giving the other any advantage… More here.

I understand why these two broadcasters see the need to do something about the changing ways we consume content, but there are significant problems ahead.

The first two I see are that it will be tiny in comparison to the current big boys and the second is the fact that we in the UK have to pay a licence fee to watch TV and to get the BBC without adverts. So, we pay for the BBC content to be made already so how likely is it that people will want to pay again for the same content?

You’re probably watching Netflix on a TV

Netflix says 70 percent of its streams end up on connected TVs instead of phones, tablets or PCs.

That number isn’t a shock — Netflix has been clear about the importance of TVs for a long time, and it’s why the company has spent a lot of energy working out integration deals with pay TV distributors like Comcast and Sky — but it’s a good reminder that not everything is moving to the phone… More at recode.

I would agree with that, but say that in our house the number is likely 95% on the TV. Maybe dumb TV screens will follow with everything streamed from our portable devices.

Amazon Prime comes to Apple TV, a little too late

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As announced in the Amazon Prime Video iOS app release notes, the Apple TV Amazon Prime Video app is now rolling out. The release notes say users have to download a separate tvOS app, which apparently will work on the third-generation Apple TV as well… More here.

I was looking forward to this and then we made the error of buying a bigger smart TV from Samsung. The way it integrates Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube and so much more highlights just how far behind Apple TV is for the price. Mine hasn’t been plugged in for months.

How Netflix works

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Netflix literally ushered in a revolution around ten years ago by rewriting the applications that run the entire service to fit into a microservices architecture — which means that each application, or microservice’s code and resources are its very own. It will not share any of it with any other app by nature. And when two applications do need to talk to each other, they use an application programming interface (API) — a tightly-controlled set of rules that both programs can handle. Developers can now make many changes, small or huge, to each application as long as they ensure that it plays well with the API. And since the one program knows the other’s API properly, no change will break the exchange of information… More here.

Very interesting.

Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video

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Wanted to make this throwaway account after yesterday’s debacle. I saw many people get upset so I wanted to issue this warning: do not expect Amazon to launch before October 26th. The app is done, and has been done for months already. However there are a lot of politics going on beyond my pay grade that are pushing the launch back. And just to clarify, October 26 is the earliest I would expect it. Launch could be pushed well into November… More at The Loop.

I think Apple needs Amazon more than Amazon needs Apple in this instance.

How Wimbledon helped Britain beat the Germans to colour TV

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Among his duties in 1967 was bringing colour TV to Britain on a tight timescale, and he had some extra motivation – beating West Germany to it.

“I heard the West Germans were doing it and I discovered that they were planning to launch it very close to when we were,” reveals Attenborough in this week’s issue of Radio Times magazine. “But what I couldn’t do [in that amount of time] was to start a complete kind of service. The best that I could do would be to have what I called a piebald service, so there was some colour every night, but the whole service wasn’t in colour.” More at The Radio Times.

That man can do no wrong in my eyes.

The Moon Landing Using Thousands of NASA Photos

Motion Designer Christian worked with his brother and Composer Wolfgang for 18 months on this shortfilm. The foundation were thousands original NASA photographies, taken from the Astronauts during the Apollo Missions, which were released in September 2015. It is an animated collage using different techniques to bring the stills to life.

Stunning. Simply stunning.