As with most members of the modern human race, we watch television. Yes, television has changed since the early days of my generation. I remember black and white television, three and a half channels, and tricks to adjust the antenna so the picture would improve. Thankfully, those days are gone.
These days we still have television OTA (over the air) but most of us rely on a heady mix of cable TV’s 200 or so channels, YouTube’s millions of channels, and online videos too numerous to mention. Then, there’s Apple TV to help tame the fragmentation.
Does it work?
No. Yes, Apple TV, when set up with all the right apps, and a login to a cable TV provider, becomes a single source for almost everything you want to watch; YouTube, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and dozens of network TV apps, all available through a single interface, and most of it on demand.
What’s not to like?
Apple TV is a fragmented monster; a app designed to do everything except what customers really want and need.
On my cable TV remote I can jump from one channel to another by pressing the channel number. If I can’t remember the number, there are channel guides. Our cable TV provider, Spectrum, also places most HD video channels together, so navigation is even easier than entering a channel number.
Apple TV cannot match that, even with Siri.
The problem becomes obvious when you first use it. You have to navigate through a bunch of apps as network channels, then navigate through a bunch of shows and movies on the channel app. It takes forever to find something to watch.
Worse, there is no DVR capability. We get that from Spectrum; the option to record a bunch of TV shows, movies, or whatever– at the same time; and then play them back whenever and wherever.
Of course, all that comes with a price. Cable TV ain’t free. But when you add up all the streaming TV networks and channels, well, that ain’t free, either. No, I don’t yearn for the good old days with three channels and an antenna. YouTube TV is better than that era.
The problem has to do with all the choices, many with overlapping TV shows or networks, and an interface for navigation that makes cable TV navigation look like child’s play (it is).
Television is a fragmented monster these days. Apple TV just brings that fragmentation to a single location.