Apple TV VS PS4, how the PS4 become the hub of our living room

I've been a fan of the Apple TV for about 6 years and having iOS devices around the house with the introduction of AirPlay it became our go to device for any streaming that we did the TV. For context before going on let me tell you that I have a GEN 2 Apple TV that has served us well and it's probably the most long lived Apple product that we own.

As a gamer I've always also had a console sitting under the TV, in my case it's always been the Sony Playstation. This was always an easy choice for me being a Gran Turismo fanboy but more on that another day.

Since the launch of the PS4 Sony have been consistently providing good updates and when the latest inclusion of Spotify came along I suddenly realised what a big part of our home life the PS4 had become. We have gone away from using the Apple TV (aside from bought content) for most of the things we do now

  • Spotify; not available on Apple TV, we used to AirPlay but a native app is a better experience
  • Amazon Prime; As a prime member we get all their streaming content, the app works well on PS4 and isn't available on Apple TV
  • Netflix; this is available on both Apple TV and PS4, both offer a good experience but I've found (don't ask me why) that the streaming works better on the PS4
  • YouTube; The experience on Apple TV is a terrible one, if I want to stream YouTube to the TV I take it from the iPad via AirPlay but since the PS4 has a great YouTube app then I don't use the Apple TV for this anymore

When I sat down and thought about it the only thing that I now use the Apple TV for is accessing movies and TV we have purchased via iTunes (still my preferred way to purchase films) and watching podcasts, although I've even started to do this via the PS4 and YouTube app.

The only downside to using the PS4 so far is the fact we have to use the controller, I don't know why Sony dumped the Blu-ray controller that was so good on the PS3. I can use the PS4 controller no problems but the non gamers in the family struggle with it.

This shift in device use has changed my view on WWDC in relation to the rumours of an updated Apple TV, I am left wondering what it would take for me to upgrade our GEN 2.

  • Homekit; this support could be good if I had smart home devices, not currently got any so more of a future wish
  • Added content; I'm in the UK, we don't even have iTunes Radio yet - enough said
  • SDK; Apps would be interesting but I don't see a use case outside of what I have already in the PS4 or my MacBook Pro

So (for now) depending on your budget the PS4 is a better device (for me) to get me the content I want where I want it, but remember there is a big price gap here (£59 for the Apple TV vs £299 for the PS4) it also depends on how hooked you are into iOS, although aside from AirPlay I see very little that would compel someone to purchase an Apple TV.

Having now also read up on Amazon Fire TV Stick and Chromecast it's going to be a very competitive time to do business in this space for Apple, I'm looking forward to how they are going to be hitting back.