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The one thing missing from the Apple TV 4K experience While the Siri remote looks pretty cool, there's just one thing it's missing...

Week 143.0 — 20th July '20

We still use our 3rd generation Apple TV, almost every day. It's in our bedroom and works just fine for watching things on Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Prime but it's no match for the Apple TV 4K which powers our living room.

There is one feature though that Apple dropped, that I really wish they hadn't.

We use a Logitech Harmony 650e universal remote to tie all of our devices together. Whether we use this and press the 'down' button or we use the Siri remote and gesture down, you're presented with info about the current show you're watching and the ability to change audio and subtitle settings. If you press 'up' or swipe up, you get the track which shows you how far into the video you are and how long you have left.

Going left or right just rewinds or fast forwards. With the Siri remote (or app on your iPhone), you can scrub across pretty fast but as we don't use the Siri remote and you're phone requires a few steps to you get to the right interface, it can be pretty painful trying to move back and forth.

The 3rd generation Apple TV did the same when you pressed 'up', but pressing 'down' would bring you a timeline that let you quickly jump through the video by dividing the track into small sections. The number and size of the sections is dependent on the length of the video and is still my preferred way of moving through videos.

While the Apple TV might be how we consume around 50% of our TV content, our setup is a little complicated thanks to our satellite DVR, an amplifier and a Blu-Ray player. The Logitech remote is without doubt the best way to work with everything.

The Siri remote is really nice and can control the volume, but it's fragile so it's not the type of thing we would trust our young kids with at the moment, no matter how smart it is. I also don't always find that it works the way I want it to. There are gestures for showing the timeline but they don't always work for me. It has some version of Force Touch, so I'm not sure why they didn't make use of that for bringing up additional info and settings. Long pressing on their previous remote was exactly how you did it.

So, that's the one thing I would change about the Apple TV 4K experience, I'd bring back the ability to quickly jump through sections of the video you're watching without the need for the Siri remote or an iOS device.

Might be worth mentioning we have also got a NOW TV Smart Stick and have begrudgingly used the Smart TV interfaces from Samsung, LG and Philips. They all suck. Of the 4, the NOW TV one (based on Roku) is better than it was, but there are no Amazon apps and all of the above take time to connect to the internet once the TV is powered on. Both versions of the Apple TV just work the second they're turned on.

Our TV isn't exactly new, and over the past year a lot of TVs now come with a version of the Apple TV experience built in, so you get the benefits of AirPlay and mirroring and I assume the 'always ready' capability so that's good but they're still not even as good as the previous generation Apple TV which is 8 years old, let alone the latest and greatest.

If you're in the market for an all-in-one, I would highly recommend the Logitech one we have, not only does it handle multiple remotes, it's highly customisable and has a screen that makes it easy to have more complex functions.

Alternatively, for simpler setups (TV + DVR for example), then the One For All Zapper+ is really nice too. It's very simple to use, can be customised with a bit of effort. This is the remote we actually use for our 3rd generation Apple TV and the TV itself. But if that's too complicated for your needs then they do an even more minimalistic version called the Zapper.

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Quick links and commentary on interesting articles, videos and more throughout the week.

  1. 143.1 – Monday
    1. "Woke" trailer Hulu on youtube.com
    2. Coffee coloured atmosphere of Jupiter @nasa on instagram.com
    3. "The Sunlit Night" trailer Quiver Distribution on trailers.apple.com
  2. 143.2 – Tuesday
    1. Churchill's legacy leaves Indians questioning his hero status bbc.co.uk
    2. Viral: The 5G Conspiracy Theory BBC on youtube.com
    3. Polestar 2 real world first drive CarPervert on youtube.com
  3. 143.3 – Wednesday
    1. Function101 offering alternative Apple TV remote control macrumors.com
    2. Mind Bending Puzzle   $69 Torched Products on shop.coolmaterial.com
  4. 143.6 – Saturday
    1. "Connected" trailer Netflix on youtube.com

Jump to notable items for Week #142, Week #144 , view the notable archive or my favourites.

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