apple tv accessibility: is there hope?

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

Just wondering what you all think in regards to the gradual decline over the past couple years of accessibility for the apple tv? Do you think there's hope that accessibility of this device will be brought back to what it once was? Do you think eventually we as the blind comunity will be forced to go with another streaming device?
Here are my thoughts, do to the decline of accessibility on the apple tv especially in TvOs14 I don't have confidents and predict that TvOs 15 may be worse. In fact whenever I have called the apple accessibility line regarding accessibility issues with the apple tv the reps I have gotten have very low knowledge of this product. I also think that the apple tv will eventually become a paperweight for not only the apple blind comunity but the regular apple comunity as well. They haven't updated this device since something like 2018 right? while the fire stick gets an update every year. perhaps it may be do to a lot of the apple comunity or at least most friends that I know stream tv on their phones/IPads



Submitted by FatElvis04 on Saturday, February 20, 2021

I just use my phone usually since I can't see the screen either way, but my sighted wife uses it all the time and loves it. Personally, I was just never a fan of how VoiceOver on it worked.

As for device updates, it's the kind of device that probably doesn't need to be updated often. I mean, there really isn't much in the way of hardware improvements you can make for a device like that with a more specific use case than, say, an iPad.

Submitted by captianbubble on Saturday, February 20, 2021

In my opinion, I just wanted something that word be convenient when I am not using my phone. I love the Apple TV, and I do not have any issues after getting a brand new one. It works well for me for what I want.
Personally speaking, I love the Siri remote and voiceover works well for me.
As long as I don’t play games, which I don’t want, it’s my go to place for all my streaming apps.

Submitted by Aymeric on Saturday, February 20, 2021

I do not understand your complaints. I use the Apple TV 4K with VoiceOver, run the latest version of TVOS and it works just fine. This is my only streaming device actually and I use it all the time, and I'm subscribed to many SVOD services such as Netflix or Amazon Prime, Starzplay etc... If there are problems, they are less due to TVOS than to developers who do not do their job properly. So, I'm quite happy with Apple TV and I do not see what could be done better, at least on Apple's side. As for developers, well, that's an ongoing and everlasting fight.

Submitted by Brian Giles on Sunday, February 21, 2021

I'm also curious about how accessibility has supposedly declined on the Apple TV. I don't have one, but wouldn't the accessibility be as good as or better than the built-in screen reader on most smart tv's?

As for the Apple TV box itself, what else can they really add to it? I've read speculation that Apple may release a new one with more focus on gaming which wouldn't really do much for us. There are also some people who think the Apple TV hardware is no longer necessary since most of the new smart TV's and third party streamers now have the Apple TV app and support air play.

It will be interesting to see what happens this year. I don't have a TV right now, but am considering getting one. But since I would probably pick up a newer smart TV, why pay the extra $150 or $200 for the Apple TV box? Unless of course VoiceOver and tvos are easier to use.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, February 21, 2021

The rotor doesn't work. There are unlabelled buttons, for example holding menu to sleep. Swiping is inconsistent. Controls are inconsistent from app to app which, despite what others might say, is down to apple. Finding audio description is confusing from app to app... And the list goes on. I agree that it is the best streaming box on the market, but it is also at least three times the price of the equivalent fire stick. For that price I expect perfection.

I love the up next top bar, and I'm a massive fan of infuse, so it does have things going for it, but development, as on the Mac for VoiceOver, seems to have stalled and stagnated.

Going forward, I believe the Apple TV will become a games console which, despite my fervent hopes for accessible games, will probably not really matter to us. We might get a better remote, something many have been crying out for but, unless there is a huge overhaul of TV OS as a whole, I can't see any of these issues being addressed. I think the accessibility team is simply over stretched with all the product lines that are coming out. If I could airplay Atmos to my Samsung TV, I'd probably not use my Apple TV. The whole concept seems dated now and I think apple are very aware of such hardware's inevitable obsolescence.

Submitted by roman on Sunday, February 21, 2021

You should thankfull to apple for thir accessibility. I am using the Samsung TV and they have a horrible screen reader. It does not support every apps witch we can run, Netflix is good but not best. and the voice is terible.

Submitted by Deon588 on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

I think Apple TV is more accessible than any other media player. One thing that caught me by surprise a few months ago was that after an update navigate by touch didn't work at all. I found the solution somewhere online (had to tap three times with two fingers to get it to work). Other than that i'm not aware of any issues...

Submitted by joshl on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Seconding OP's post. My Apple TV has been progressively less accessible. Apps that i used to be able to operate, like ESPN and youtubetv, now perform erratically. I can't consistently navigate any app. Others no longer have labled elements. Finally, I cannot use VO and the hardware remote at all. I can only use the remot app on my phone. Very disappointing.