Here's my Cord Cutters review on the new Apple TV:
I was fortunate to receive the 4th-generation Apple TV on Friday, October 30th (Launch Day) because I had pre-ordered the unit earlier in the week.
I've been a long-time Apple TV user since 2011 with the 2nd-generation units. When I was "Cord Borrower", the Apple TV worked great because I had all the credentials for things we watched such as Watch ESPN, Watch ABC, Disney Junior and Disney XD. I was also a long-time Netflix and recent Hulu subscriber.
Over the next several years, Apple was seemingly unable to keep up with competition from Roku, Amazon, Google and others. Last year, I bought several Roku's as well as subscription to SlingTV because I did eventually lose my Cord Borrowing capability.
What are my impressions of the 4th-generation Apple TV?
Apple has done a lot of "catch up" with its competitors and maybe even surpassed in one area (Apps).
First of all, the interface has been refreshed and it's much brighter and usable. The remote is also much improved with glass trackpad and gyroscopic controls. Using the new interface and remote has "luxurious" feel as icons seem to float in space as you pass over them.
Secondly, the Siri functionality in the remote works remarkably well but limited to certain services such as Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now and iTunes. I was able to ask her "What's the weather today?" and she pulled up local weather in my area for today. I asked her "Play Gilmore Girls" and she pulled up selections from iTunes and Netflix.
Thirdly, I'm impressed with the tvOS App ecosystem so far. The old Apple TV didn't have any App Store and Apple pushed only certain Apps or Channels over time. The new Apple TV has its own tvOS App ecosystem for Apps and Games. When you setup your new Apple TV, it only includes its own default Apps such as Movies and Music. You have to download each App that you want to use such as Netflix or Hulu. Netflix and Hulu now both share the same interface as Roku and other platforms for consistent user interface. Noticeably missing was Dish Network's SlingTV which we pay $25 for Best of Live and Kids TV Packages.
Fourthly, Apps and Games seem very polished at launch. They offer simple games such as CrossyRoad and Sago Mini's Fairy Tale (my daughter's favorite) to full-fledged titles such as Asphalt 8 and Guitar Hero Live. Beat Sports uses the gyroscopic control in the Siri Remote for gameplay (aka similar to Wii controller). Almost all games can be used with Siri Remote but many offer additional functionality with mFi Game Controller. I purchased SteelSeries Nimbus (full-sized) Bluetooth Controller. Playing game like Asphalt 8, Breakneck or Xenowerk is much better experience with the Nimbus Controller.
There are also several Apps that take advantage of large screen and interface such as AirBnB, Gilt and Zillow. Some apps have interactive elements to just watching such as pulling sports stats and watching multiple games on MLB.tv App or the option to buy and browse in QVC App.
Overall, I'm very happy with the new Apple TV but there are some glaring omissions such as SlingTV and Pandora Apps. Siri functionality is promising but still limited to few apps. I'm hoping these issues will be ironed out with future fixes and apps.