The Apple TV is a handy device to have in your home entertainment setup, as AirPlay is a Godsend for iOS users, but the apps on the Apple TV consistently disappoint and aren’t what most users expect out of Apple’s easy-to-use mantra.
The Apple TV’s user interface is expected to get a slight refresh come fall, complete with new iOS 7-esque icons that are flatter and simpler than the current bubbly design. However, whether or not the iOS update will come with feature improvements is still up in the air. Either way, the Apple TV’s selection of apps needs help.
As a product of Apple’s, the Apple TV is supposed to be an easy-to-use streaming box that allows users to navigate menus quickly and easily, but the third-party apps available on the Apple TV device are far from that.
One of the biggest culprits is the Netflix Apple TV app. While it recently gained a new icon logo and the ability to automatically play the next episode in line without any user interaction, the app still has some major flaws, including making your way through menus and watching what you want to watch. The process is mind-boggling and quite ridiculous.
To give you an example, I’ll show you the steps and the menus I had to go through in order to access my Netflix queue (called “My List”) and begin watching an episode of Family Guy. You’d think that since Family Guy is saved to My List, it would be easier to access, but it really isn’t. Here’s how the process goes.
First, we start off at the home screen of the Apple TV and select the Netflix app:
Once the Netflix app launches, I need to select the profile that I want to sign into:
Next, I select My List from the Netflix main menu:
I scroll over to Family Guy and select it:
The app should take me directly to the season that I left off from last time. Indeed it does, complete with a list of episodes to select from:
I then select an episode and it takes me to the detailed page of that specific episode:
I then press Play and the episode finally begins playing:
After opening the Netflix app, I had to go through five different menu screens before I could start playing an episode that I had saved to My List. Technically, saving shows and movies to your queue should allow you to access them quicker and start playing them sooner, but that’s not really the case on the Apple TV.
Of course, this is just one example of a poorly-designed Apple TV app. The Hulu Plus app is just as awful, taking forever for menus to load. Plus, searching for a TV show is insanely slow and you can’t rewind during a show in the Hulu Plus app on the Apple TV, which just doesn’t make any sense at all.
What boggles my mind even more is that Netflix’s popular auto-play feature that it’s had on its web interface for quite a while now just now made it to the Apple TV, which is perhaps a device that needed the feature the most.
Granted, none of this is necessarily Apple’s fault, as the responsibility obviously lies with Netflix, but it’s disappointing to see a television streaming device being equipped with a less-than-mediocre Netflix app.
Apple is rumored to be working on a complete overhaul of the Apple TV, which is currently rumored for a release in 2015, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that Apple will revamp the entire user interface and introduce all-new redesigned apps, which has me worried that a crappy Netflix experience is here to stay for a while.