The Apple TV is a confusing product. Sure it is a capable and powerful device but what it occupies, or what void it fills, remains unclear.
For instance, exactly what type of customers is Apple trying to satisfy with the Apple TV line? Consumers with non-smart TVs in search of streaming devices can go for insanely cheap offerings by Roku and be happy. Those with a little more cash to spare can look at Google's latest 4K-capable Chromecast Ultra, meanwhile. There are loads of options. Most, if not all of them, are cheaper than Apple's box.
What Type Of Customer Is The Apple TV 4K For?
At this point, one can argue that the Apple TV is no more than a niche product for Apple loyalists. The newest model, packed with 4K and HDR capabilities, is a step forward. However, even with that big a step, Apple is still behind. Competing streaming set-top boxes have had 4K and/or HDR for quite some time now. Where Apple shines, however, is in its software, which bring clever development into the living room ecosystem.
Is it enough to call the Apple TV 4K a necessity? Here's what the critics are saying:
Apple TV 4K Review: Too Expensive?
The Verge was mixed on its review, though it gave merit to problems the Apple TV 4K solves.
"It is by far the closest thing to being a fully realized vision for the future of TV that exists," the review goes. "But because it's so ambitious, it's also the farthest away from the vision it's trying to achieve."
The Verge also criticized it for the lack of Disney-produced movies and 4K content on YouTube, even though the device supports 4K playback. But overall, the review seems to be hopeful that the device will get better with future updates.
"I am very confident Apple is going to figure this TV thing out. It's the only company that has the combination of power and care to actually do it."
CNET gave the device praise, but with caveats. It said Apple TV 4K has the "most polished streaming experience today" that's combined with the "best remote on the market." It also noted that while Apple automatically upscaling 1080p movies to 4K without any additional costs seriously undercuts competitors, 4K and HDR content remains scarce. In the end, its high price might be the deciding factor for most consumers.
"If you really want to save money, most 4K TVs have perfectly good on-board apps. And if you want to use an external streamer instead, the Roku is much cheaper."
Apple TV 4K Review: New Pricing Model For 4K Content Is Awesome
Pocket-lint was more positive of the device, highlighting Apple's decision to make 4K movies more affordable.
"That pricing approach isn't just about wooing new customers, but making your content accessible on all parts of the Apple ecosystem. Buy in 4K on your Apple TV and you'll still be able to watch it on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac in the relevant quality."
"This opens up a world of possibilities for those keen to expand their 4K library on the cheap."
Apple TV 4K starts at $179, launching Sept. 22.
What are your thoughts on the Apple TV 4K? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!