Is the New Apple TV a Video Streaming Game Changer?

One of the most intriguing product announcements during Apple’s recent iPhone 6 event covered the new Apple TV box and platform. With a new operating system, called tvOS, apps and games are now a big part of a system that formerly concentrated on video streaming.

Apple’s move is aimed at attracting developers to port high-end video games to the device, trying to steal casual gaming fans from the PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, and Nintendo Wii U platforms. If you decide to get an Apple TV or upgrade your current model, you’ll now have more uses for your Internet bandwidth. Let’s take a closer look.

Apple TV box

Notable Features of the New Apple TV

For users more interested in video streaming than gameplay, the most significant new feature of the Apple TV is its Siri remote control. Now you can talk to your TV in a similar manner as your late model iPhone. For gamers, the Siri remote is also used for video game action, providing touch and accelerometer functionality, along with a standard gaming controller (available as an extra). So, anyone used to a PS4 or Xbox 360 will feel right at home.

The new Apple TV does come at a higher price — either $149 (32GB) or $199 (64GB). In addition to the memory used for storage, the device now features 2GB of RAM compared to 512MB in earlier models. When combined with the faster A8 processor, users can expect a smoother on-screen interface.  Better streaming performance is also promised provided your Internet speed is up to snuff.

Video Game System to Challenge Sony and Microsoft

With the new tvOS and support for a standard video game controller, Apple looks to challenge a gaming market dominated by Sony and Microsoft. Launch titles for the new Apple TV include Rayman Adventures, Guitar Hero Live and the space shooter Galaxy on Fire — Manticore Rising. All that being said, these titles are not really different than the level of games available for the iPad and iPhone. In addition, Apple’s requirement to support the Siri control, even if the user owns a standard video game controller, might scare away some developers and hardcore video game players.

Other apps include Airbnb (the real estate rental service), Apple Music, and the ability to view photos and play music from your iTunes library. Since Apple is strongly courting developers for tvOS, expect more apps to arrive after the Apple TV launches.

If you already own a multitude of Apple products, possibly even an earlier model of the Apple TV, the added voice control and more powerful tech specs make the new Apple TV a smart purchase. Casual gamers looking to join the growing ranks of cord-cutters might also consider the device. The Apple TV is expected to hit the market sometime in October.