Michael Antonoff

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Michael Antonoff  |  Feb 09, 2016  |  13 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $149 (32 GB), $199 (62 GB)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Touch surface remote
Dedicated App Store
Snazzy photo slide shows
Minus
Arduous ID and password entries
Weak implementation of Siri
Lacks 4K video support

THE VERDICT
Apple TV Gen 4 brings a better remote to the table but fails to soar above other top streaming devices.

When Apple TV debuted in 2007, dozens of rival media receivers were already in place. At a time when TVs were too dumb to do their own streaming, Apple TV came along mainly to benefit iTunes users. Since then, other media players have come and gone, but Apple has persevered. The company recently shipped Gen 4.

What’s different in 2016 is that most consumers now own a smart TV, media receiver, game console, or Blu-ray player connected to the Internet. Unless Gen 4 can deliver a richer experience over other Internet appliances, notably the Roku 4 Streaming Player (see review, this issue), Apple TV will be a tough sell.

Michael Antonoff  |  Dec 16, 2015  |  2 comments
Back in 2001 when the M.I.T. Media Lab unveiled a demo about social media and TV, it presaged greater things to come. At the bottom of the TV screen, viewers’ live comments appeared for all to see, demonstrating the potential of instant feedback shareable by everyone. My eyes opened wide as I experienced the idea of social media at a time when tweets were still for the birds and Facebook wouldn’t launch for another three years.

Michael Antonoff  |  Dec 14, 2015  |  1 comments
Successive Thursday night offerings in December of live musicals to the home were as different as could be: The Wiz featured a big cast and attracted an audience of millions through its broadcast on NBC; Daddy Long Legs was performed by two actors and seen by thousands via the Internet. Yet it was Daddy that made history as the first off-Broadway show streamed live from New York.
Michael Antonoff  |  Oct 28, 2015  |  3 comments
Techno-lust rises during the holidays, especially for action cams that take selfie-friendly video to a whole new level. Driving my hormones this season is the V.360º, a wireless camera with companion apps for Android and iOS devices. Though its manufacturer, VSN Mobil, likens the cylindrical cam to a 9-ounce can of Red Bull, the immersible camera captures a 360-degree view—8MP photos and 6480 x 1080 video—without stitching.

Michael Antonoff  |  Oct 26, 2015  |  6 comments
TiVo users have been aware for years that the company had found another revenue stream by selling banners that superimpose themselves on paused programs. Click the Select button on the TiVo remote and a previously downloaded commercial plays. But when is an ad superimposed on a paused show wildly inappropriate?
Michael Antonoff  |  Oct 07, 2015  |  4 comments
I was skeptical that Apple’s all-you-can-queue subscription plan, Apple Music, would cause me to abandon online services like Spotify that also boasted 30 million songs. Not an Apple acolyte, I use a Windows computer and an Android smartphone. I boycotted buying anything from iTunes when a $50 credit in my account was hacked and Apple refused to restore it the second time it happened. But I also own an iPod touch, two iPads, and an Apple TV, and the iTunes Store on my PC continued to be the place for sampling free music—typically after discovering the songs on radio stations streamed on iTunes.
Michael Antonoff  |  Sep 16, 2015  |  10 comments
With the small screen going mobile, TV networks are chasing viewers. The number of people who subscribe to Comcast’s Internet service surpassed its video subscribers for the first time this year. As the owner of NBC, Comcast is likely hearing, “Philadelphia, we have a problem.”
Michael Antonoff  |  Aug 12, 2015  |  1 comments
When the IMDb turns 25 in October, both its database and popularity will have multiplied exponentially. The IMDb consumer site (imdb.com) currently lists more than 3 million movies and TV shows and more than 6 million cast and crew members. It has a combined Web and mobile audience exceeding 200 million unique monthly visitors.
Michael Antonoff  |  Jul 06, 2015  |  3 comments
Arguably the leading premium channel for movies and original series, HBO adds $23.24 to my monthly cable bill. I get six HBO channels, though they mostly repeat the same shows ad nauseam. Linear redundancy has been a waste of cable bandwidth since the DVR landed, but it’s become even more outmoded in the age of high-def broadband and on-demand viewing.

Refusing to pony up for unbreakable packages to get the few programs they’d watch, younger viewers have been cutting the cord on cable TV...

Michael Antonoff  |  Jun 08, 2015  |  1 comments
Paul McCartney and Candlestick Park are more likely to be linked to endings (the last Beatles concert, 1966; the last big gig at the Stick, 2014) than new beginnings. But thanks to an innovative app that incorporates a 360-degree perspective from the stage of McCartney’s performance of “Live and Let Die” at the San Francisco ballpark, the man and place will now be coupled to the birth of an exciting way for everybody to enjoy music like never before.

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