First Impressions of the New Apple TV

tvOS & Apple TV Apps

Well, I haven't played with it as much as I would like, but on first impressions it's pretty great! The remote at first is confusing. At one end it is smooth and the other end it is a mat finish. Naturally I assumed the smooth end was the touch surface... Wrong! The other end is the touch surface and this end is the moving end which clicks. Despite my automatic urge to double tap on everything instead of clicking the remote, once you get over this it's pretty smooth to use. Voiceover is sadly not customisable like it is on other devices, I seem to be stuck with English Daniel and can only customise speech speed and not much else. Typing is slow as you just have to swipe through to each letter and down for numbers, punctuation and to change to upper or lower case. The app store is still very limited but I have no doubt within months it will expand hugely! So far I've only downloaded youtube. I've also airplayed from youtube and music on my phone straight to the TV which is pretty sweet as the TV goes through a soundbar for better sound. The radio function doesn't seem to work. I'm guessing this is because like on iTunes this is no longer a free function without Apple Music which is a shame! Hoping for Tunein to release an app on the tv app store...

All in all, it's easy to use and I think the more apps that come out the more I'll use it! It's great to have such an accessible tv platform! I'll be interested to hear other people's thoughts if you want it or if you have it already...



Submitted by elliot2012 on Saturday, October 31, 2015

I found set up pretty easy, although like you kept double tapping the track pad at first! It is a shame you can't change the voice, I had to turn "use pitch" to off to stop Daniel sounding like he was about to throw up all the time.

Overall I think it's a great product with hopefully further updates to come. Not many apps are available yet but sure this will change over time. Would also like a Tune-in radio app and an Amazon Instant app, although that looks pretty unlikely.

The only apps I've downloaded so far are YouTube which seems to work really well and Netflix, which currently has a couple of issues, with currently no audio description option on there as on the previous Apple TV 3rd gen. Apparently they are working on an update to fix this though.

It would be great if Syri could also search and play music but again this might come in time.

Submitted by Nicolai Svendsen on Saturday, October 31, 2015

Club AppleVis Member


I'm still waiting on mine, but I will chime in and give my opinion on what has already been said here.

Given the currently horrible typing experience on the fourth generation AppleTV (at least you could go by rows on the old one), I'm convinced this has to be an oversight. That is a huge regression that it is a big grid of letters. I also find it curious that Apple has removed bluetooth keyboard support, at least, they have according to their support article on accessories. Of course, you could use the Remote app I'd assume, so that part of it isn't such a big deal.

I'm rather disappointed VoiceOVer doesn't have more settings, since it has plenty of power and storage to support such. It would be nice to be able to pick your own voice, but they could fix that in a future update I'm sure. They might just want something that works for now, but it doesn't seem like the 3rd generation has that many settings comparing with the 4th generation.

I'm sure that will probably change later on. As long as it works, that's all that matters, and I'm excited to try it. It should get here Wednesday at the latest if everything goes well. If I won't be watching a lot of TV, at least I can use it as a nice console. I however wish it supported more than two external controllers. iPhone isn't limited the same when it comes to MFi controllers, so I hope that changes.

Submitted by Toonhead on Saturday, October 31, 2015

According to anarticle posted on twitter last night, the apple remote app isn't compadible with the new Apple tv. The only way to change the voice seems to be to change your region, so unfortunately, only one voice per region. We Americans get Samantha, the british folks get Daniel, and I'm not sure what other voices are available. I'm also very disappointed at the lack of Bluetooth keyboard support. Typing on that remote would drive me round the bend. I think i'll stick with my 3rd gen apple tv for the moment and hopefully, some updates will come out soon. I do like the fact that the apple tv 4 has an app store, though. Nice touch but not sure if it's worth all the cash I'd spend for it, at least not yet.

Submitted by Joe on Saturday, October 31, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

I actually like it so far however Hulu is an accessible it does not speak at all. As far as speed of speech you actually can change this by using the rotor option and options it doesn't give you normal fast slow like before but if they do you go to the rotor you can actually change to speech and flick up making ago 70 75 80 etc.
I'm hoping that because it's so new things will improve over time. I would like to see you Siri when searching for a TV show say the name of the service instead of having to click on it and find out that way when you go left and right in between the options it is not tell you the service that it's going to stream from until you tell it to do so. That being said if you know the show that's on Hulu for example South Park you can do a search for Siri and get it to play that way just a shame you can't do anything in the app

Submitted by Megan on Saturday, October 31, 2015

There is a much easier, though less obvious, way to type on the new Apple TV. When you're in a text field, roter to direct touch and flick down to turn it on. Now you can slide your finger across the screen to advance like non voiceover users. The faster you slide, the faster the letters scroll. It takes a bit of practice but is definitely doable.

Submitted by Nicolai Svendsen on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

Very much appreciate the nice tips and tricks before I get mine. I was hoping Direct Touch would be an option.

I was hoping I could pick voices in a way that didn't require that I change my region, since it is the A8 chip with 64 bit architecture. I was mostly hoping to be able to choose Alex instead of Samantha, but maybe that'll be a thing of the future. Given the much bigger amount of storage compared with the previous generation, this little customization feels to me more like they wanted it to work first. Obviously, that's fine. It'll be interesting to see what happens next.

I'm pretty excited to get mine, even though I'm not currently subscribed to anything. But then, there will be apps.

Looking forward to hearing more experiences for sure.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Quick question first. Were other people able to enable VoiceOver during the setup process? I couldn't seem to do so, and was only able to switch on VoiceOver in Settings once the Apple TV was up and running, meaning sighted assistance is needed to set the new Apple TV up at the start. If this is the case then that's very disappointing, but please do tell me if I'm mistaken.
I'd agree with most of the above, and definitely think it has the potential to be a great device.
The lack of support for bluetooth keyboards and the remote app on iPhone is frustrating, but hopefully they'll fix that soon. Personally, I find the new on screen keyboard quicker to type on than the old grid layout though, which is something.
I like the new remote and the swipe gestures, definitely an improvement for me. I do keep forgetting I need to click the pad to select things though, a double tap just comes more naturally I guess... ah well :)
If you're in the wrong country (like me in Ireland) then you don't get Siri yet. So Apple, please please please sort this out soon!
There is a real lack of apps at the moment, but it's early days so that should improve.
The app store is pretty poor at showing you what is available right now, there is just a Featured tab, but no categories or charts or anything right now. Even YouTube doesn't show up in the Featured section, but is there if you go and search for it.
A little tip, if you go to the Purchased tab, you will see some apps that you already have on your iPhone or iPad. If developers have made their Apple TV app part of a universal app, then it'll show up in this tab. I found a few apps this way, including SpeedTest and Periscope.
I have already seen that we are going to encounter some of the same accessibility issues we do on iPhone. The TWIT app for example doesn't have VoiceOver labels on icons and buttons. So let the advocacy begin!

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Hey, the voice search will be enabled on apple music early next year from what I understand.

I was super keen until i found out that voice search doesn't work for music, I may as well just airplay to my 3rd gen and have the voice search function there.

It's like the apple watch for me, until the app store is populated with some really good apps which take advantage of the platform, I don't think I'll buy in, not yet anyway.

I'm shocked to hear that the bluetooth keyboard doesn't work with the 4th gen, this is a real step back by apple. I guess they may be afraid people will use the apple tv as a desktop replacement when apps give it that functionality? Really, with that power, you could do anything you do on a mac.

Finally, Yes, what is going on with Daniels voice, he sounds drunk.... You would have thought good old Al would have been available from the gate, but, eh... I think Apple has fumbled the ball a little with this one but, as we know, they'll firm it up soon.

Submitted by elliot2012 on Sunday, November 1, 2015

In reply to by Dave Nason

Hi Dave, I was able to turn voiceover on straight out of the box, just had to tripple click the menu button. Like you say the app store is pretty sparce at the moment but hopefully this will develop over time. Currently no Now TV or Podcasts app, but apparently the BBC have confirmed that an iPlayer app is coming...

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Sunday, November 1, 2015

If an iplayer app is coming out, I'm in! So easily swayed.

Submitted by chad on Sunday, November 1, 2015

hi is there a voiceover gesture guide for commands
trying to figure out how to scroll through letters faster like if i'm A and need to go to S its a long time to get there

Submitted by Joe on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

Triple tap of the menu button did turn on voiceover for me during set up! Can also use Siri to do so I do that a lot sometimes while using Periscope because I can't get voiceover to stop reading comments. Appears three finger gestures do not work or I'm not good at making them work.

Submitted by Joe on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

One thing I learned is while using the keyboard you can hit the play button and switch from lowercase to capital letters or so you don't have to go down and selected with the remote

Submitted by robdz on Sunday, November 1, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

As the subject says mine gets here tomorrow. Can probably set it up with minimal problems, but my question is, on Apple 3rd Gen we have espn, mlb tv, youtube etc. Are all these now apps to be downloaded? Hope Netflix fixes the audio description issue. What's the best way to search for apps? I assume you go to the search tab. Wish me luck, gonna need it.

Yes, all apps now have to be downloaded. Can search for apps in the app store although as mentioned above inputting text on the new apple tv can be a bit of a ball ache. Most apps you want maybe on the featured page of the app store though.

I too hope the Netflix audio description issue is sorted soon. Good luck

Submitted by Jennifer M. on Monday, November 2, 2015

I just purchased my new Apple TV tonight and set it up. It is definitely going to take some getting used to the new remote.
I noticed above that someone mentioned direct touch and being able to use it when trying to type something.
Where are some other areas on the new Apple TV that direct touch might be utilized?
I am hard of hearing as well as bind and I have found that voiceover seems to be louder than the speech of the show that I am watching.
Has anyone else noticed this?

Thank you

Submitted by Ray Williams on Monday, November 2, 2015

Purchased 2 32 Byte models on Saturday. My sighted son helped with setup. He placed my IPhone on top of the box and they sync'd user accounts. He helped with Netflix, Hulu and a couple of other registration issues. I am a man of little patience and he was willing to help.

ITunes Radio is under music across the top to the right. I dropped the subscription a while back and prefer Pandora, not in the app store - Yet.

I I have different apps available to me on these 2 devises?? 1 has Lifetime QVC, and several other apps I could care less about. But, they are there. Podcast was on neither?? I wand Applevis podcasts...

No Bluetooth key board Sucks {Technical term} and no optic stereo cable used to connect to second receiver.

Submitted by Jim D on Monday, November 2, 2015

I received my new Apple TV on Friday and have been learning about it over the weekend. Enabling Voiceover during setup worked right away, which was great. Also, the ability to place my iPhone 6 next to the TV and have WiFi and iTunes account info automatically transferred was nice.
As far as finding apps, I would echo the suggestion of an earlier commenter to check out the purchased tab of the app store. I did and found a number of apps which work well. These include MLB.TV, NFL and WhiteNoise. White Noise is a sound affects app to help people sleep which I had previously purchased on my iPhone. If you know an app is available for both the Apple TV and for iOS, just do your search on your phone/iPad. Once you have the app on your iOS device, you can download it to your Apple TV using the purchased tab. This will eliminate the need to search for an app using the keyboard on the new Apple TV.
One of the other issues I encountered was, by default, the Apple TV wants to control my actual television. As soon as I started using the Apple TV, the actual TV would be switched on. As I have the sound from the Apple TV routed to a receiver, many times I don't use the actual TV when I am using the Apple TV. I found the setting to change this under settings, Remotes and Devices. In this section, there are home theater controls. I was able to tell the Apple TV not to control my TV. I was also able to tell it I wanted the volume controls on my remote to control the volume of my receiver, which is a nice feature.
Now, for my wish list. Like others, I hope Netflix is able to incorporate audio described content in to there Apple TV app in the near future. Also, I would love it if TV OS gained support for refreshable Braille via Bluetooth. Wouldn't it be nice to mute the speech on your Apple TV and control things using a refreshable Braille display? I'm told TV OS is pretty similar to iOS, so I hope this is something that Apple can make happen in the not to distant future.
Overall, I really like the new Apple TV. I'm wondering if AppleVis is planning to include information about TV OS apps, similar to what is being done for Watch OS apps, on the site?

Submitted by Falco on Monday, November 2, 2015


Currently I have an apple tv 3 and I use it just sometimes. An upgrade will only be cool if the app market is big enough but more important are audiogames.... That wil give the device a good selling point for blind people....

Submitted by jrjolley (not verified) on Monday, November 2, 2015

I think the kid friendly software games would work great on it because they are all traditional games and ideal for the TV. I don't think many of the other games would work because the remote is really sensitive, even with the sensitivity turned right down to slow in settings. It'll be interesting to see what debs can do with the apps for us folks though that's for sure.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Monday, November 2, 2015

Apple tv and brail display is a wonderful idea, there is nothing more annoying than the sound of VO, even for me, god knows how it is for other people in the room,.

Again, I'd like routable audio for a bluetooth headset for Netflix descriptions, same reason.

If you'd don't mind me being blunt, what benefit do we really get as blind users from something which is designed to be a very visual interface? The value in it for me is being able to watch films with others but I can't imagine audio games would work very well and the rest of the apps are going to take advantage of a big screen, no use to us....

Still, would be interested to see how this could be harnessed for our entertainment.

Submitted by Jim D on Monday, November 2, 2015

Just found out that the Grubhub food delivery app is now available on AppleTV. Assuming it is accessible, one can now order dinner and a movie from the same device! How cool.

Submitted by chad on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

hi does anyone know how to delete apps i tried double tapping and holding but no luck

Submitted by Joe on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

You have to hold down on the button and then it will say moving application and lease and press the play button

Submitted by Matt on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I think it's a good thing for us to consider adding a tvOS category to AppleVis. It's always better to get a head of this while the number of apps is still small. On another note, hopefully Apple will improve The app store so discovery of new apps becomes easier.

Submitted by Lorna808 on Tuesday, November 3, 2015

I have been using it for Netflix now all weekend... It's pretty easy to find your way around. Still learning gestures. I've written guides for voiceover on OXS and IOS so I guess TVOS will be my next project. Noticed a previous comment about getting voiceover out of a different audio receiver other than the TV so others don't have to listen to it. I think it's a shame the box doesn't have a separate audio jack output like the airport. Not only for Voiceover but it would be useful to have optional output to another set of speakers. This could also allow Voiceover to be routed to a different output. I personally would put a headphone jack on the remote. If the technology could be designed so Voiceover could be transmitted back to the remote into earphones... This would mean you wouldn't need another Bluetooth device connected... I don't know, just my thought! Voiceover is much louder than Netflix content I have noticed this as someone else said. If anyone else discovers new gestures keep them coming.

Submitted by robdz on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Club AppleVis Member

Well setting it up was not a breeze. Found out that an IPhone 4S won't work. I didn't realize that. Oh well, we muddled through the setup manually. Most things are awesome, but some apps that worked well when they were stock on Apple TV 3rd Gen do not work as well as one would hope. Watch ESPN for example worked great on the previous Apple TV, but the app downloaded from the app store is a voiceover nightmare. None of the channels are identified, lots of 3 of 21, 4 of 21, which is not helpful. It also seems to put a huge strain on voiceover making it cut out and very sluggish. Youtube and Netflix work great as well as Home Sharing. All in all though, things will get better I hope. Very responsive because of the new under the hood power. A good investment, which I hope becomes better as app accessibility improves.

Submitted by Lorna808 on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Remember to always report voiceover trouble with specific apps to the app developer... We can't expect them to fix it if we don't tell them what's wrong.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I downloaded the NFL app on my AppleTV. I went to login and was instructed to go to on my phone or a computer, login, and enter the below activation code. Um, what activation code? Voiceover sure doesn't read any activation code. So my question is would this be an app-specific issue or a TV OS issue? Thanks.

Submitted by Jim D on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

I think this would probably be an app specific problem. I had to perform a similar procedure with the Youtube app. I was able to turn the roter to characters and flick down to read the characters one by one. Not being able to do this on the third gen Apple TV was one of my biggest frustrations, so its great to be able to read character by character when needed on the new model.
So, if the code for your app is visually appearing on screen and Voiceover isn't reading it, I would ask the app developer to fix this.

Submitted by Recovering Lawyer on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In reply to by Dave Nason

I was able to activate VoiceOver prior to setup. Not sure whether it came up automatically, since I had my TV on the wrong input setting at first, but somehow I brought it up and then was able to proceed through setup.

Submitted by sockhopsinger on Thursday, November 5, 2015

So one of the things that I really loved about the older AppleTV was the radio app that had the huge list of radio stations. Is that still present? Have I missed something, or is it gone in this new AppleTV? Thanks.

Submitted by Juliette on Friday, November 6, 2015

Well, I must admit I am sure I have missed something in my experiences with the new Apple TV so far. First, VoiceOver seems to be very sluggish in some apps when trying to navigate while playing a video. Second, where did the podcast client go? That was one of my favorite apps. I like that there is a rotor where you can quickly access speech rate so the normal speech doesn't sound so slow. I was hoping the Alex voice would be implemented or at least more of a choice of voices. I do have access to some podcasts though, because I downloaded the iBlink radio app from Serotek. Also, I like the fact that I can access the Apple Music service right from my Apple TV. I miss the bluetooth keyboard functionality, and I wish we had touch typing like we do on the iPhone. I do like the ability to use siri, and I look forward to future updates. Just wish VoiceOver would read all the access codes properly when trying to link for instance the NFL app with my online account. And I really wish VoiceOver wasn't so sluggish in certain instances when trying to flick around the screen in certain apps.

Submitted by John Diakogeorgiou on Friday, November 6, 2015

I was very impressed with the setup of the device. It was easy to get VoiceOver started and I really liked how it pulled my information from my Phone.
I am probably the only one who likes the way typing works. I will say thanks to the person who suggested that you can use the play button as a caps button. That will save time.
Although sparse, I like the way the app store has the apps categorized when you flick down.
I am having two problems though. The first is that although I enabled the sharing feature on my computer and on the Apple TV, It doesn't see my music.
I also have the same issue with pictures. I am not sure how to resolve this.
I did find some really nice accessible apps. The include WSJ Video and Roiters. They are both very accessible. I haven't tested any of the other tv apps yet because they need to be set up using a computer and I haven't had time.
I really hope that Apple is able to negotiate something with the channel providers so that we can get rid of cable.

Submitted by Lorna808 on Friday, November 6, 2015

To the person who asked about radio. It seems that, as with iTunes, radio was a free feature before Apple music came along. Since Apple music, radio has not been a free feature on iTunes. You have to be subscribed to use it. It would seem it is the same on Apple tv. This is a huge shame! The radio function with a big pro! However I'm sure an internet radio app like tunein will appear on the tv app store in time.

Submitted by Missy Hoppe on Friday, November 6, 2015

Hi, all! I've got 2 of the 4th gen Apple TV boxes, and on the whole, everything is awesome! I was able to contact Netflix and get audio description working, so no issues there. The only quibble I have at the moment is that they seem to have taken away the ability to use album cover art as a screen saver. On my 3rd gen Apple TV, I set my album art as the screen saver, and it also showed the album art while music was playing. Now, my only options are that new arial thing, which is showing all kinds of weird places even though I enabled location services, apple photos, or my photos. I don't take pictures, and am not sure how to add pictures that I've got stored elsewhere to ICloud so that the Apple TV can use them. So, given that those are my only 3 choices, I use arial for now, but I really hope they bring back the album art option. I'm thinking I might call Apple tonight and ask about it, just to make sure I'm not missing something. Apart from this small issue, though, I think the new Apple TV is a major improvement over the older version. I especially love the new remote.

Submitted by Jason on Friday, November 6, 2015

I just want to start by saying I appreciate everyone's comments as we are all learning a new product. It is a 1.0 release so obviously the bugs are there. But there are a few things I wanted to mention that I have discovered that I don't see mentioned here that may be useful to someone. First of all, I have an airport express hooked up to speakers and the apple tv allows you to route its audio output to an airplay device. Thus without any wires I can route the audio of the apple tv to the airport express. But what I find interesting is that the voiceover audio does not get routed. In my opinion this is awesome behavior because voiceover was always so much louder than the tv audio and so if you were really getting into a movie with louder volume and surround sound, etc. and then all the sudden voiceover blairs over the speaker it was unsettling. Now voiceover is always the volume of the actual tv speakers and the movie volume is controlled via the airplay device. It is similar to routing audio from your computer to a separate sound output device but have voiceover remain coming out of the computer speaker. pretty cool. Also, for those who were not aware, you can mute voiceover with a two finger single tap on the track nice. Trying to shut voiceover up on previous versions of the apple tv was so annoying. Apps are not yet that impressive but it is new. I can see so much potential in this platform that I am willing to wait until all the developers get on board. But there is now enough buy in with the IOS development community that it will not be long until we start seeing a flood of cool apps. But the story of Hulu concerns me ... we will have to keep on the developers to make sure they are aware of how important accessibility is on this platform as well. I agree that applevis should add an additional apps category for TV OS since we will have the same struggles here as in iphone/ipad/mac/watchOS.

Submitted by John Lipsey on Friday, November 6, 2015

Radio, where you can create custom stations based on artists/songs, should be available on the new Apple TV as far as I know. The section of iTunes that shows radio stations that stream online, is actually different. This section is called internet radio. It is available in iTunes, but may not actually have an app on the new TV. Also, neither internet radio or iTunes radio require you to subscribe to Apple Music. If you subscribe to Music, my understanding is that you get more kips on iTunes radio, but you can still use it without subscribing to music. Hope this is at least somewhat helpful.