What is and what is the use of an Apple TV? — 2022

If we go back to the beginnings of Apple, we see how the company even had the word Computer in its name. And no, we are not going to analyze the history of Apple in this article, but rather we will remember in a certain way the trajectory of one of its products. The Apple Computer thing came to the fore that the company stopped being a computer-only company a long time ago and now has a wide range of products and services, including Apple TV, which we'll tell you more about below.

What is Apple TV

The Apple TV is a media player that must be connected to a television via HDMI cable. It is neither Apple's own television channel, nor an exclusive brand television or a channel tuner similar to those for DTT. It has its own software also designed by Apple itself and there are several models, although some have already been discontinued. They can be purchased both at the Apple Store and at some other electronics stores.

Apple TV models that exist

In 2006, and still with the legendary Steve Jobs at the helm, the first Apple TV was presented. Subsequently, various renewals of this were launched and although in essence it has not changed too much, it has been adapting to the new times with better resolutions each time. Currently we find two models of Apple TV in the company's catalog, although they are not really the only ones that have been manufactured. Here is the complete list of them:

Apple tv

Discontinued models

    Apple TV (1st generation):released in 2007. In 2015 it was declared obsolete without being able to get technical support. In 2018, this device was no longer allowed to access iTunes stores. Apple TV (2nd generation):released in 2010. It was declared obsolete in 2015, preventing technical support actions with it. Apple TV (3rd generation):released in 20212. This is a no longer for sale device and does not receive software updates, but continues to receive technical support if required. Apple TV 4K (2017):It was released in 2017, being the first to offer support for 4K resolutions. It is no longer for sale, but its software continues to be updated.

Models that are still selling

    Apple TV HD:It was launched in 2015 giving way to high definition content. In addition to being sold, you may still receive software updates. Apple TV 4K (2021):Launched in 2021, this device is the most recent and incorporates new features in terms of power and image compatibility with respect to its predecessor. Of course, you still get software updates.

Apple TV Differences

beware of confusion

Perhaps the nomenclature used by Apple in these cases is not the most appropriate to differentiate products, services and applications, since Apple TV can refer to several things:

    Apple TV (product):the physical device that we are talking about in this article and that serves as a multimedia player if it is connected to a monitor or television. Apple TV (app):is an app available on iOS, iPadOS, macOS and tvOS itself. In it we can find series, movies and documentaries from Apple's own services, either by subscription, rental or purchase, as well as synchronize content from Disney +, HBO and other platforms. Apple TV+ (service):this is Apple's streaming platform comparable to others like Netflix. It has one hundred percent exclusive content and is integrated into the aforementioned Apple TV application.

Apple TV+

How is your software, tvOS?

Just as an iPhone has iOS or a Mac has macOS, Apple TVs have tvOS as their operating system. Visually, it offers a very minimalist interface in the purest style of the company, making its handling intuitive as well. Visually, it is an application screen through which it is possible to scroll thanks to the command that is included with the device, although it is also possible to do it from the iPhone or iPad. It also has an app manager to open and close them quickly, as well as a control center where you can choose the audio sources, change users or put the computer to sleep.

Apple releases several updates per year. September is when the so-called large versions are released, such as tvOS 13, tvOS 14, tvOS 15... It is in these that most of the new features are incorporated, while the rest of the year we find intermediate versions (tvOS 14.1, tvOS 14.2 , tvOS 14.3…). We can even find three-digit versions that are also considered intermediate and in them there are usually no big news beyond performance improvements and bug fixes.

App Store tvOS Apple TV

Every year large versions are presented at Apple's WWDC , acronym in English for World Conference for Developers. However, it must be said that this is the software that Apple places the least emphasis on, since in the end Apple TV is not a mass product nor does it require great advances every year, so it is usual that they do not incorporate great news every year. year as if it happens in the other operating systems.

Main features of Apple TV

Let's go to the important thing, what can an Apple TV do for you? It has several possibilities and in the following sections we will tell you which are the most outstanding and that in the end they tip the balance when deciding if buying one of these devices is a good idea.

Series, movies, documentaries...

If the Apple TV is a media player, what less than being able to play the most popular media content? In full swing of streaming platforms, this device can be the main player of these if it is connected to a television. The main streaming platforms in the world have their application on this device. see Netflix, HBO, Disney+, Amazon Prime and more .

We can also find other more specialized platforms such as GuideDoc for documentary films or classic platforms such as YouTube . In specific cases such as Spain, applications from the main television channels are also available, such as Atresplayer (Atresmedia) or Mitele (Mediaset), through the official application of Radio Televisión Española with RTVE Play. All of them are available in the native tvOS App Store.

what is apple tv

And, of course, there is also the app that allows access to the content of Apple TV+. In fact, this device is the one chosen on many occasions to play this content due to the absence of an app for Windows, Android and many Smart TVs, despite the fact that in recent times more and more third-party televisions incorporate this application.

Allows you to play even with PlayStation and Xbox controllers

And although Apple does not intend for this device to compete with the game consoles that reign in the industry, the truth is that it is a more than interesting device for those who like casual games. In the App Store you can find games of all kinds of themes that can be played with the Apple TV remote itself or with numerous external controls, including those of the latest generations of PlayStation and Xbox.

Although if there is something at the end that stands out in relation to the games, that is Apple Arcade . This is the Californian company's subscription video game platform that offers more than a hundred exclusive titles that are fully playable on this device, with game synchronization with iPhone, iPad and Mac. Any title that is on this platform can be download without problem on the Apple TV, being able to also use the aforementioned external controls.

Other Apple TV features

In addition, other functions must be highlighted, such as the possibility of view your Mac, iPhone, or iPad screen on TV thanks to AirPlay, the system with which Apple connects its devices to each other. This is extremely useful in many cases, such as being able to have a second screen while you work with the Mac or see the photos taken with your iPhone on the big screen.

apple tv screen sharing

This device also stands out for its dimensions, which make it a tremendously portable device. Logically not to take it to the street, but maybe if you travel and want to take with you a device to connect to the television to enjoy your favorite series. Although we must highlight something that, despite seeming obvious, is very important: requires Wi-Fi connection for the vast majority of applications.

As in other Apple devices, Siri It's also present on Apple TV, making browsing or searching easier with it. It can be invoked from one of the buttons on the remote itself, which is not called Siri Remote for nothing. Although the possibility of being able to operate the device from the iPhone with the official app called Remote, which will also help you to be faster typing instead of having to do it from the Apple TV remote.

Weak points of Apple TV

There are certain shortcomings that, despite the fact that they can be more or less compensated with their virtues, mean that this device cannot be considered perfect. Some of the most noted and that you are probably most interested in knowing are these:

    Does not include reader of any kind, something expected in this type of device. Now, if you imagined that it was going to have a CD and/or DVD reader, you should get rid of the idea because it doesn't incorporate it (it never did). It does not have an app to manage filesof iCloud Drive and other clouds as it happens in other Apple devices. Yes, there are apps that in the end allow you to access content on the network, but it is not a cloud app as such and as one would expect. Of course, from the Photos app you can play videos and photos from the reel of the iPhone and iPad. Does not allow app downloads outside the App Store, something that already happens in all Apple operating systems except macOS. Therefore, any application or game that you want to install must be in the official store of the company. You don't have a web browser, something that at a given moment could be very useful and that is a common function in Smart TVs and other similar devices. Not even in the App Store are there options. Non-free multimedia content. In other words, while there are very popular apps like YouTube with free content, there are other platforms like Netflix, HBO Max or Apple TV+ itself that require a subscription. Although in this case, this is a lack that is very obvious and that other devices have in the same way.

That said, we insist again on what might not be decisive. After all, Apple TVs have many other interesting functions, but you should know that regardless of them, the previously shown deficiencies will always be there.