The word “best” is never really an absolute in consumer tech since opinions, needs and wants vary so dramatically. When that word is tossed around to describe streaming media devices, it seems to be used to describe Amazon’s Fire TV devices more often than not. Streaming entertainment solutions like the Fire TV and Fire TV Stick are wildly popular options thanks largely to their ease of use, low cost and a wide range of functionality. In fact, they’re so popular that Amazon can’t even keep them in stock right now — new orders of either model won’t ship until February 23rd. If you want a Fire TV today, your only option is the Amazon Fire TV Gaming Edition, which bumps up the price from $79.99 to $129.99 and comes with a video game controller. Even at that elevated price point, however, it’s still more affordable than the entry-level Apple TV.
Apple TV is a good product that is highly regarded among owners, but the product has hardly lived up to the hype Apple tried to create during the most recent generation’s unveiling. To that end, Apple has hired the former head of Amazon’s Fire TV business to help take its own home entertainment product to the next level.
Apple dominates the smartphone market, having recaptured the No. 1 sales spot just this past quarter. Even while the company lagged behind Samsung in shipment volume, however, it still raked in the lion’s share of smartphone industry profits. In the tablet market, the iPad still has no equal. Tablet shipments are declining across the board but Apple’s iPad lineup is still the most desirable tablet series on the market, despite Microsoft’s recent efforts to turn Windows into a tablet platform. The Apple Watch is the only smartwatch in the world worth even discussing at this point, having catapulted Apple to the No. 2 position in global watch sales shortly after it was released. Mac computers are still beloved among users despite a continued decline across the PC market.
In all of these areas, Apple is a clear leader in either profits, revenue, shipments, customer satisfaction, product quality or some combination thereof. The Apple TV, however, has never quite lived up to its potential.
It’s a good product, of that there is no doubt. The tvOS interface is clean, the apps are smooth, the recent addition of Siri support makes interactions even better, and the overall user experience is a good one. But Apple never strives for “good,” and the company is now making moves to boost its Apple TV business. As reported by Bloomberg, the company has hired Timothy Twerdahl. Formerly the head of Amazon’s Fire TV unit following stints at Netflix and Roku, Twerdahl will be tasked with taking over the Apple TV business as Apple looks to become more competitive in the living room.
Pete Distad, who previously led Apple’s Apple TV unit, will reportedly move to a senior role on the team that manages deals with content providers, where he will report to Eddie Cue. Distad had previously been an SVP at Hulu in charge of content distribution.