The new Apple TV: What it gets right and wrong

Apple first tried to revolutionize television back in 2007 with its first-generation Apple TV. It never quite took off the way the company had hoped. Three years later, Apple introduced its second-generation microconsole to underwhelming sales. Two years after that, Apple tried again with its third-generation box, and although closer to what the company was originally aiming for, it still wasn't quite up to par with consumer demands.

Now, Apple is confident with its fourth-generation Apple TV that this will be the entertainment-heavy digital media box that will lead many users to finally cut their ties with traditional cable television. With a completely redesigned user interface, a vast improvement on the remote and fully integrated Siri capabilities, Apple may have finally nailed its interactive home entertainment center.

Three members of Polygon's team spent quite a bit of time with the new microconsole to try out a variety of different apps available on the system. Although there was a ubiquitous admiration for how well various streaming apps — like Netflix — worked on the device, some enjoyed the selection of apps more than others.

In order to give a well-rounded, in-depth look at the new Apple TV, the piece will be split into five different section that focus on the new hardware, the Siri remote, Apple's user interface overhall, gaming and entertainment. Each section will then be broken down into three different parts, highlighting opinions from executive editor Brian Crecente, senior reporter Dave Tach and entertainment reporter Julia Alexander.

The Apple TV is currently available to purchase in over 80 countries. This is our official overview of Apple's newest hardware.

The Apple TV's new hardware design

Julia Alexander

The fourth-generation Apple TV is small, square and sleek. It doesn't look out of place sitting beside your television, and it doesn't beg for attention as a part of your home entertainment setup in the same way a traditional cable box does. There's not much to explore on it, either. There aren't any buttons allocated for volume control or power, and all the ports are located on the back of the box, making it pretty easy to hide cables. Apple doesn't want to make its new microconsole the focus of your room, but rather almost hide it completely from view. It isn't about what the machine looks like, but what it can do.

It isn't about what the machine looks like, but what it can do.

Apple's done everything in its power to make the new TV as simple for people to use as it possibly could, and that includes setting up the hardware. There are two options: a traditional manual setup, or, if you have an iPhone with the latest software update, you can just hold your phone up to the box and it will extract all the information it needs. Either way, the process takes mere minutes and is relatively painless.

Dave Tach

The new Apple TV is a bit bigger than its predecessor, both in terms of the actual box and the new Siri remote.

The former is a non-issue. Like a video game console, the shape of the box is less important than the pretty things it makes on your TV. But to a longtime Apple TV owner, it does look a bit strange, if only because it looks, well, too tall. It's not, of course. I have no doubt that I'll get used to it.

The beefed-up Siri remote is a welcome improvement in many ways that we'll discuss later. But just from a physical point of view, it's a benefit. If the Apple TV is like a console, then the Siri remote is like a controller, and Apple's redesign is a more solid, more capable physical specimen. It eschews the cold metal minimalism of its predecessor for more useful buttons, and as a one-stop shop for controlling your devices, it's far less likely to bury itself in couch cushions.

Brian Crecente

For something so forward-thinking, the new Apple TV is easily lost in the depths of an entertainment center. And no wonder: It's a less than 4-inch-by-4-inch puck of plastic that's easy to hold in the palm of your hand. This isn't something designed to stand out or show off; it's meant to fit in next to your cable box and Fire TV and Roku, and, if Apple gets everything right, replace them.

There's a single, simple, tiny LED light on the front of the box, designed to signify when the device is awake. (You can only turn it off by unplugging it.) The back has a power plug and ports for USB-C, HDMI and Ethernet.

Setting up the Apple TV is super easy, especially if you have another iOS device. When you touch the device to the Apple TV, it extracts all of your settings, including your Wi-Fi password, directly into the box.

The voice-enabled Siri remote and its touchpad

Julia Alexander

The new Apple TV remote is fun. It also works like a charm and is elegantly designed, but above all else, it's a ton of fun. The remote fits perfectly in your hand, and it's just the right balance of heavy and light to make holding it not feel like a drag. Whether you're holding onto it while watching a movie on Netflix or actively using it while playing one of the many games available through the App Store, the remote never feels like a nuisance.

The bottom half of the remote is made of a glossy black plastic not dissimilar to the feel of an iPhone screen, while the top half is made up of matte black plastic outfitted with touch technology that you'll use for scrolling. Unlike with other Apple devices, including the iPhone 6S, it never felt like I was stretching to move my thumb around the remote. The top half, which is also clickable, is big enough that you can keep the remote wrapped in the palm of your hand and comfortably use your thumb on the touchpad to scroll.

There are also five buttons present smack dab in the middle of the remote, and each one is incredibly useful. The Menu button acts like a back button when navigating through various apps on the TV without exiting the app completely. To get back to the home screen, there's a Home button located directly to the right of the Menu button, and clicking it twice will bring you to the very top of your home page. Directly below the Home button is a lengthy volume button, and beside that is the Play/Pause button.

The most important button on the remote, however, is the one that activates Siri. Apple spent quite a bit of time integrating Siri into the latest Apple TV and in doing so, created one of the device's most useful tools.

The remote also works pretty well as a controller when playing games. Although there are moments when it's clear that a game was designed for a larger, fully operable gamepad, the remote is more than fine for simple mobile games like Crossy Road or titles with limited finger movement like Breakfinity.

Dave Tach

The Siri remote is an enormous improvement over Apple's previous remote for several reasons.

Apple's old remote was a textbook example of minimalism gone awry. It had the least amount of buttons possible, and based on my observations when handing it to friends and family over the years, its sparseness caused some confusion.

The new Apple TV's Siri remote acknowledges that it's better to do more than control the set-top box. It includes a Menu button, for navigating back one level of UI hierarchy. It also includes a Home button that will instantly take you back to the Apple TV's default UI, just like on an iPad or iPhone.

Apple was also smart to add volume controls. The last Apple TV remote didn't include those controls, which meant that you always needed two remotes with you — one to control the Apple TV and one to control your TV or receiver's volume. Coupled with the Apple TV's HDMI-CEC capabilities, which allow it to automatically turn on your receiver and TV when it wakes from sleep, it's a no-brainer improvement.

There's also a Play/Pause button. It was on the old Apple TV. It's on the new Apple TV. Its functionality is as obvious as the reason for its inclusion.

The only other obvious physical button on the new remote gives it its name. The dedicated Siri button allows you to access Apple's digital assistant. Like on iOS devices, talking to Siri tends to let you get things done faster than navigating and typing would. Want to find HBO's The Leftovers? When I held down the Siri button and said, "find the leftovers," my Apple TV searched for the series and displayed a screen that told me I could buy it through iTunes or watch it on HBO Now. In a clever bit of industrial design, the Siri button is the only one with a concave surface, which implies that it wants to be pressed and held.

In a clever bit of industrial design, the Siri button is the only one with a concave surface, which implies that it wants to be pressed and held.

The search is impressive, for sure, but so is Apple's handling. It didn't push me to iTunes. It knew I had HBO Now installed, and it told me The Leftovers was available there. Better: Clicking on the HBO Now button not only launched the app, but took me directly to the show within it. I appreciate that kind of agnosticism.

The real star of the Siri remote, though, is its top third, which is a glass trackpad, a navigational innovation that makes every other remote I've held since last Friday feel about as advanced as a cassette player. I haven't felt that way since I got my Xbox One, and having to press pause on a remote instead of just talking to the device that was running Netflix seemed silly.

The trackpad is textured to give it a tactile feel and differentiate it from the smooth glass bottom of the remote. It offers a little resistance, which feels good, too. And Apple fine-tuned the hell out of the swipes, making navigation a breeze. If you've ever used the Remote app for iOS with an Apple TV, you know the constant imprecision it delivered. The Siri remote's touchpad is nothing like that.

It's not all roses and sunshine, though. Several days into using the Siri remote, I still find myself picking it up upside down. I'm not used to identifying the remote's orientation by touch yet. I suspect Apple wants me to understand my orientation by feel, knowing that the textured glass is up top. But the remote isn't asymmetrical, and I've accidentally pressed the wrong button several times when grabbing the remote without looking at it — you know, the way people grab remotes.

My other gripe: It's not great at rejecting accidental touches. It made me realize that I take these for granted on trackpads and my iOS devices. The Siri remote is too eager to accept my input as I brush it when picking it up. It's never a major pain to correct, but it feels like an unnecessary one.

Brian Crecente

The new Siri remote strikes just the right balance between an over-the-top, forward-looking controller and something too anchored to the past to be useful.

The controller's touchpad is perfect for mimicking the feel of using a standard iOS device, and the buttons capture the feel of a standard television remote.

The addition of Siri voice control is fantastic, though at launch those deep search functions can only be performed with a number of apps. That means the Apple TV still isn't able to perform the sort of universal searches one has come to expect from the company's iOS devices.

The Apple TV's iOS-like user interface

Julia Alexander

Apple's user interface isn't abysmal, but it isn't fantastic, either. It's adequate, mediocre at best. The problem is that the company has relied so heavily on its standard interface across devices like iPhones and iPads that when it tries to mirror the design but take away the direct touch capability, the UI isn't as easy to navigate.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of the early Wii navigation, although with far fewer cursor issues.

It's important to note that there isn't anything specifically wrong with the user interface. The apps are all large enough that you don't have to squint while navigating, and it's easy enough to move around within the actual operating software. But the major issue is that navigating without using Siri gets annoying and frustrating pretty fast — even more so if you have to look something up by typing.

It actually reminds me quite a bit of the early Wii navigation, although with far fewer cursor issues. On both devices, navigating the UI gets tedious quickly, and makes spending more time on it somewhat of a chore when you're not actually watching a movie or playing a game.

The actual apps themselves are, for the most part, well-crafted — especially the upgraded Netflix app. Scrolling through titles is easier than it's ever been, and being able to control the speed at which you scroll is incredibly useful. Even then, however, it's hard not to just hold down the microphone button and ask Siri to navigate the system for you.

Still, these are all minor issues and it should be said that the UI on the fourth-generation Apple TV far surpasses any of the previous models. It is an overall improvement, but it's not quite where it should be for flawless user activity just yet.

Dave Tach

The new Apple TV's user interface is a fantastic innovation in a couple of ways, even though it's pretty clearly a work in progress.

It isn't quite 3D, but it's filled with adorable, subtle parallax effects that mirror your actions on the Siri remote's touchpad. It's all swipe-based now, and those animations take that into account. It's the most fun I've had tinkering with an operating system in years.

The Siri remote

I find myself just navigating to the Home screen, hovering over an icon and moving my thumb in a slight circle. On my TV, the icon twists and turns ever so slightly, while global lighting effects mirror the placement of my thumb.

It's pure and classic Apple design, created to reinforce the intimate interaction between hardware and software. It'd be easy to dismiss as worthless Apple eye candy. And it's not necessary, in the strictest sense, but its subtleties make interaction understandable. They make me want to turn the damn thing on and see what I can do.

I know I'm talking about a set-top box here, and that makes me feel a little silly. But like Sheetz, a gas station chain with unreasonably good food, I think it's sometimes OK to be impressed by kind of silly things.

The only problem that I have with the Apple TV's software at this point is that it seems a bit unstable, occasionally.

I've spent many hours playing around with it since last Friday, and though it's been mostly solid, I've experienced a few random crashes — maybe five. Three of them happened while I was gaming, the rest while I was browsing other apps. Most just booted me back to the Home screen, where I started up the app and was back within seconds. That dulls the pain. Two of the crashes brought the console to its knees and forced it to restart. It wasn't a long process to get back up and running — maybe 10-15 seconds — and it didn't happen often, but it did happen enough to mention.

Brian Crecente

In some ways, the Apple TV suffers from some of the same issues that the Xbox One did at launch: It's a device with a UI that leans heavily on voice commands to really work.

The Home screen does have, as Dave noted, some really neat parallax effects. On top of that, the massive box at the top of your Home view is populated by whichever of the row of five apps you are highlighting at the time. Sometimes that means just a big ad for the app, but sometimes, as with iTunes Movies, it shows your recent purchases and top movies. That's a really nice touch, though not yet utilized by a lot of apps.

But the further you scroll down your Home page, the more you realize the problem. This is an endless stream of apps arranged in rows of five — in the order in which you installed them (unless you manually move them around). There's no way to quickly rearrange the view, or folders in which to drop, for instance, all of your games. That leads to an unwieldy homepage experience.

Unfortunately, the current state of the App Store isn't so great, either. Instead of delivering an experience like what you get on your iPhone or iPad, the store currently only allows you to browse apps that are featured or shown in the top charts. The chart breakdowns include just three options: top paid, top free and top grossing. There is no way to look at categories; instead, you have to search by word, by typing your search in the search box.

And that brings us to the Siri voice search. While you can use Siri to search for movies and television shows, currently that's all it supports. That means no App Store or Apple Music searches. And even within the movie and TV searches, there are limitations based on what the app developers have decided to include, so many of the entertainment apps don't yet support Siri.

Gaming on the Apple TV

Julia Alexander

Apple TV is not going to replace your Xbox One or your PlayStation 4, but chances are you already knew that. Nor, however, does Apple want to. Apple TV wants to be a fully equipped entertainment system, and that includes offering games for its users. The best use for gaming I found with the new Apple TV was downloading a ton of party games and leaving it on while I had friends over.

One of the games that I downloaded immediately was Quiplash. Being able to play a few rounds of pretty simple, self-explanatory, funny games with friends is where the Apple TV succeeds as a gaming microconsole. The selection of launch games is pretty impressive, but this will never be a console that you'll turn to for a night of heavy gaming.

Gaming almost feels like an afterthought for the Apple TV, behind streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu. Apple TV has the potential to be a decent gaming console, but it's not there just yet.

Dave Tach

First things first: The new Apple TV isn't a video game console, but don't let that fool you.

Just like it did with the iPad and iPhone, Apple built hardware and coded a software ecosystem to run on it that enables third-party apps. Some of those apps are games.

So, Apple TV isn't a console. It's a piece of hardware that also plays games. And just like on Apple's smartphones and tablets, some of those games are darned impressive.

Apple's approach is, in effect, the opposite of Microsoft, Nintendo and Sony's. Those companies create video game systems first that also run apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

It's a matter of perspective, then, but that perspective is important. It will influence what comes to the hardware. If consumers come to think of the fourth-generation Apple TV as a viable gaming platform, that should convince developers to spend the time creating games for it. And if Apple TV owners are willing to spend money to play games on the machine, then tvOS can become a financially viable ecosystem.

So, yes, gaming may become an important part of the new Apple TV. In fact, you could argue that it already is, given that, as of this writing, half of the top 10 paid apps in the tvOS App Store are games. When the devices started shipping last Friday and the tvOS App Store went live, games took a prominent place on the new set-top box. Launch the App Store, and the second section of horizontal apps displayed is called What to Play, and it's filled with curated games — Gorgeous Games focuses on graphics, Start Your Engines! on racing games and More Games to Explore on ... well, everything else. Those are immensely useful in these early days, because there's no games hub in the iOS App Store.

Apple could add it, though. The Top Charts section of the store just went live on Tuesday. The Top Grossing Apps portion of that chart is seven-tenths games.

There is another way to discover games, too, and it was great fun bumping into it. The first time I navigated to the Purchased section of the App Store, I found several games I already owned. I bought or downloaded them on my iOS device, and their Apple TV versions were available free of charge. I hadn't played Canabalt in years, for example, but I was suddenly super into the biggest version I'd ever seen.

The games section of the App Store has ballooned since last Friday, when it felt kind of like a ghost town. It doesn't feel sparse anymore.

So how do games play on the Apple TV? Surprisingly well.

Apple's decision to require that every developer make their games playable with the Siri remote was worrisome. Even Apple's developer documentation admits that the "remote has the limited capability to act as a game controller." Apple is correct. It's not a controller, by most standards.

Then again, a lot of the games available on the new Apple TV don't really need a controller. Alto's Adventure, a gorgeous and well-received endless snowboarding game, is little more than a supersized version of what's been available on iOS for several months. But as pretty and popular as it is, it doesn't require much from its players. On iOS, it's all about pressing on the screen to jump and holding to do some tricks. That maps perfectly to the Siri remote's touchpad. It might lose a bit of precision, given that you have to press and click the touchpad to jump, but that's a minor difference fairly easy adjusted to.

Games that appeared elsewhere make up a good portion of the App Store today, and they translate well to the Siri controller. But what about the third-party controllers that Apple allows games to use?

We purchased the SteelSeries Nimbus, Apple's poster child for Apple TV controllers. We covered the controller in our extensive guide to Apple TV and iOS gamepads. Suffice it to say here that it looks and feels more or less like the PS4 and Xbox One controllers had a baby with the Wii U Pro Controller. It feels good, not weird or cheap.

It feels good, not weird or cheap.

To its credit, Apple made setup and use incredibly simple. You pair the device and others like it through Bluetooth in the Apple TV's menu. It has an on/off switch. Turn it off to save battery. Turn it on at any point — including while you're in a game that you're controlling with the Siri remote — and the Apple TV will detect it, pair it and allow you to start using it immediately. That's a pretty good way to mitigate the hassle of a third-party add-on.

How useful is a third-party controller? It depends on the game, really — and my mood. Supergiant Games' Transistor is available on the Apple TV, and creative director Greg Kasavin told Polygon that the plan was always to support the Siri remote. And it works surprisingly well, controlling the protagonist's movements with the touchpad. There are even design concessions that appear only when using the Siri controller, to compensate for its relative lack of precision.


Plug in a controller, and you get more fine-grained control, exactly as you'd expect on a console or PC. I was surprised to find that I didn't really have a preference. Sometimes, it's nice to sit back and control an entire game with your thumb. Sometimes, when I might be feeling shamefully a little lazy, the controller on the other side of the room doesn't offer so much benefit that I need to get up.

That is, perhaps, the most surprising thing about gaming on Apple TV: The Siri remote works really well. It's not ideal. I wouldn't choose it by default over a controller in most circumstances, but even in these early days, developers seem to have a good grasp of its capabilities, and they're building and modifying their games around them.

There's another category of games that aren't really available on the Apple TV so far: those you'd expect to find on a console, not a mobile device. Of the games we've played, Rayman Adventures perhaps comes closest.

If you've played any of the Rayman mobile games in the last few years, you'll know exactly how it works. The titular character runs on his own, and it's your job to flick and swipe to jump and attack. It sounds like a terrible way to control a game, but it works really well for Rayman. Connect a controller while you're playing, and Rayman Adventures transforms into a fully formed platformer with direct control over its main character. Like Transistor, it feels like two games packaged as one.

There are more of these games coming to the new Apple TV, and we'll continue our coverage as we get our hands on Disney Infinity 3.0, Guitar Hero Live and Skylanders Superchargers. Based on what we've seen so far, we'd be surprised if the Apple TV wasn't able to do them justice. But, of course, that remains to be seen.

It is a surprisingly powerful little hockey puck, this new Apple TV.

It is a surprisingly powerful little hockey puck, this new Apple TV. Could it pull off the next Call of Duty at 1080p and 60 frames per second? Probably not. But what it could pull off would probably surprise you. And, besides, it's not a machine designed for Call of Duty, and its success doesn't rest upon that.

The new Apple TV may not be a gaming console, but don't underestimate it. Free-to-play gameplay hooks aside, Rayman Adventures looked indistinguishable from the last Rayman game I played on consoles. The Apple TV isn't designed to replace your PS4 or Xbox One. But it's more than capable of delivering different types of games. What types and how they control is yet to be determined. It's clear, though, that this box has power and potential.

Nevertheless, gaming is not the Apple TV's primary function, and Apple never pretended that it was. When evaluating the gaming capabilities of the just-released fourth-generation Apple TV, it's helpful to keep that in mind: Games are but one component of a device that, as Apple CEO Tim Cook said at its September unveiling, epitomizes Apple's belief that apps are the future of TV.

After spending a few days with the new Apple TV, I'm inclined to agree.

Brian Crecente

I've been surprised by how good some of the new designed-for-Apple-TV games are. Galaxy on Fire: Manticore Rising, for instance, is a space combat shooter that does an amazing job of delivering a fun first-person experience, all without the need of a dedicated gaming controller.

It's definitely still the early days for Apple TV gaming, and one thing that iOS and Apple Watch game development has shown is that the experiences that become breakout hits are the ones designed specifically for the system.

I don't see the Apple TV replacing your PS4 or Xbox One anytime soon, but it excels at delivering the sort of experiences you might want to play while waiting for a show to start or killing time.

The Apple TV's entertainment options

Julia Alexander

It's clear that creating a fully interactive home entertainment experience is what Apple was aiming for, and when it comes to most of its streaming apps, the company has gone above and beyond. The selection of streaming apps, including Netflix, Hulu and Showtime, means that cutting the cable cord has never been easier, and with the newly integrated Siri technology, it's never been better.

Netflix, for example, is unbelievably fast. It's almost ridiculously fast.

One of the more noticeable improvements on the new Apple TV is speed. Netflix, for example, is unbelievably fast. It's almost ridiculously fast. Between my PS4, Wii U, Chromecast, Roku and MacBook, the Apple TV is by far the fastest device I have ever used for Netflix streaming. It takes seconds for the app to open, and when you finally decide on a title to watch, it loads in a snap. The experience is similar in the Hulu and HBO Now apps. Apple wanted to make the entertainment side of things as smooth as possible for people to enjoy, as the focus of its new microconsole, and the speed certainly helps make the transition from any other device to Apple TV rather seamless.

The other really cool thing about the entertainment apps available is just how well they work with Siri. You'll never have to physically rewind or fast-forward again (although if you do, it's very easy to do with the new Apple TV remote), and you'll never have to search for a title from the menu screen if you know what you're looking for. When I was watching Archer while testing the Netflix app, I simply held down the microphone button and asked Siri to switch over to 30 Rock. It took Siri all of three seconds, and not once did we have to return to the menu.

Unfortunately, aside from the streaming apps, there's very little Apple TV offers from an entertainment perspective. Sure, there are dozens of apps available to download, but none of them are interesting outside of a few fitness and shopping channel apps. While that's disappointing, the sheer improvements to the streaming side of things and the total ease of using the microconsole to watch all of the shows and movies you want completely makes up for it.

This is a box designed to replace cable, and it's ideal for anyone looking to get rid of their cable subscription once and for all, but it's not perfect. There's still a lack of 24-hour news services that some may want and, of course, there are still tons of shows that simply aren't available through streaming services that someone may not want to spend money on in the iTunes Store.

Still, for someone who already just spends most of their time using Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and Showtime's streaming services to watch all of their favorite shows, the Apple TV is an excellent little machine.

Dave Tach

Above any other feature, the one that impresses me most is the Apple TV's ability to fast-forward and rewind through video. It is, without hyperbole, the best scrubbing experience I've had since my family's TV room drawers were filled with VHS tapes. There's no DVD player, no Blu-ray player, no video game console, no set-top box that does it this well.

There's no DVD player, no Blu-ray player, no video game console, no set-top box that does it this well.

No surprise: Apple uses a combination of hardware and software to make it possible. If you tap (not click) the trackpad while playing a video, it'll bring up a timeline at the bottom of the screen. A vertical line intersecting the timeline shows the video's current position (say, 2:04), and at the very right of the horizontal timeline, you'll see the time remaining in the video (say, -1:01:58). Slide your finger left or right, and two things happen: the vertical line begins to move, and a picture-in-picture-like thumbnail appears centered above the vertical line.

There's a surprising amount of granularity available as you slide or even rotate your thumb on the touchpad, fingerprint at the police station style. Swipe slowly, and you can navigate second by second, all the while using the thumbnail as a visual guide. Flick left or right, and the playhead will fly in that direction with inertia, eventually slowing down and stopping.

Another smart trick: As you're flinging the playhead around, the Apple TV shows a small vertical line that tells you where you were when you began flicking. If you decide you don't want to fast-forward or rewind, you can always navigate back to that line. And it's magnetized. Slow down near it, and it'll suck the playhead in and let you resume where you left off by clicking the touchpad.

It is a monumental improvement over the last Apple TV and the best way to scrub video I've seen in, well, decades.

My biggest surprise for entertainment apps like HBO Now and Netflix was how much of an improvement the new Apple TV's ability to multitask delivered.

On the old Apple TV, when I launched an app, it took over the screen. When I left an app, so did its memory of my last visit. tvOS behaves like iOS now, which means that apps can save their state when I leave.

Imagine watching a show on Netflix, going back to the Home screen at any random point while watching, opening the App Store, downloading an app and then returning to Netflix. When you do, it'll pick up where you left off. It seems like an obvious move, and certainly other boxes that play Netflix have this capability. That Apple has caught up makes switching apps so much less painless.

Brian Crecente

My biggest frustration with Apple TV is the same one I have for just about every streaming media box: Nothing seems to deliver the full experience. And you can't blame Apple for that.

I found most of the major networks offered full, free (if you have cable) apps for Apple TV. Many of those even included a live television option. Also, Netflix is on there. Hulu is on there. And there's HBO and Showtime. But Amazon Prime doesn't have an app, and no surprise — why would Amazon make an app for a direct competitor?

The problem is that, at least for me, this is a box that has to serve one of two purposes: provide access to everything that my cable box doesn't, or replace my cable box. Apple TV doesn't do either in terms of entertainment. Sure, the new Apple TV just launched, so maybe that will change. But for now, I feel like Apple released another streaming box in a crowded market with a lot of potential but little to currently help it stand out.

Evolution, but not yet revolution

The fourth-generation Apple TV is the company's best version yet, but there are still some flaws that need to be addressed. Despite Apple's best efforts, this probably isn't going to replace traditional television anytime soon, but it's certainly on the path toward doing just that.

This isn't a gaming console. It's not even a home movie theater. It's an interactive entertainment experience that wants to change how people view what television could be. Apps may be the future of television, as Tim Cook said during his keynote, but that means more developers are going to have to work closely with Apple to create specific apps for the system. Because while Apple TV isn't quite ready to replace traditional cable boxes, becoming a hub for streaming apps will replace other devices and dongles like the Roku and Chromecast.

There are still some areas that Apple needs to work on, as we pointed out, including the user interface and ensuring that all the apps are fully functional. For those interested in picking it up, however, strictly for having all streaming services on one platform and being able to play casual games on the side with friends, the new Apple TV isn't a bad starting place at $149.