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Reviews of Android TV launcher after Google added ads to the homescreen (play.google.com)
709 points by pizza 3 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 498 comments

I ran into this last week on my nvidia shield. Here's a summary of the workaround I found (apologies for not having the specific package names offhand):

1. Install a new launcher from play store (I found one called "Basic Launcher" that matches the aesthetics of the default one). This doesn't solve the problem though, because Google disabled changing the default launcher for some user hostile reason, until you delete the existing launcher.

2. Enable development mode by tapping on the build number in settings

3. Connect an adb shell to your device

4. Remove the built in launcher

5. Reboot, select basic launcher when prompted

I own a few android TV devices, have recommended them to people in the past, and won't be purchasing another. I think what happened here should be illegal and shame on whoever worked on this.

Uninstalling didn't seem to work for me after reboot. If that doesn't work for you, try disabling it:

1. Install your new launcher through play store. (I used the Basic Launcher as well).

2. Settings -> Device Preferences -> About. Scroll to "Build" and click on it until it pops up that you are a developer (it will give you a countdown)

3. Settings -> Device Preferences -> Developer options (this was just unlocked in step 2) -> Network debugging (this will let you use adb)

4. Install adb (platform tools) on your computer.

5. adb connect <ip address of your shield>

6. adb shell pm disable-user --user 0 com.google.android.tvlauncher

7. adb shell reboot

Should find yourself in the launcher you installed Note, I also stopped the google launcher (cleared data/reset defaults)/tested the new launcher in the middle. So if these steps don't seem to work, before doing step 5 try doing those and then retry.

You're a lifesaver. Wasn't able to get the 3rd party launcher going by default. Thanks!

This has been infuriating. It's even more pushy now that I do not log into a Google Account on the Nvidia Shield because it requires giving Nvidia full account access.

I have a Google notification that I cannot dismiss and 3 buttons on my App menu that all take me to the Play Store that I cannot remove. I'm livid.

This should be illegal and I'm frankly worried about Google's future if this is the kind of shit that they need to pull to continue to profit. Some of the brightest sw eng's around yet they do this shit rather than innovate. Lazy

>I manged to remove them...you go to All apps..scroll down to "Show system apps"...Android TV Home...Force stop... Uninstall updates => You will have old Home Screen


I looked through this thread when searching for a workaround but this method didn't work for me (2019 Shield TV Pro), I had to swap the launcher.

Uninstalling the update also didn't work for me using my 2015 Shield.

This worked for me at first now I have the new UI no matter what state the actual app is in

Wouldn't that mean you had an insecure device?

I'm really tired of companies hiding behind "security" when it comes to ruining my experience every time I get an update.

If they want me to be secure, package essential security updates into seperate downloads.

I consider updates that break workflow or violate privacy to be security risks in themselves.

The big issue with major OS updates for me is that the security updates are bundled with the feature updates. That's why updating Android on my old phone stopped being feasable, when the increased performance requirements caused it to remain persistently hot and unresponsive.

Not just the security updates, but also things like APIs that prevent some applications from being compatible. Still, I have to wonder how much of a tradeoff would be possible when all the code is managed together, and the security and feature updates would be interwoven in the same repo. There is only so much manpower available to keep maintaining every version of each update.

New in iOS 14/15:

> Software Updates

> iOS now offers a choice between two software update versions in the Settings app. You can update to the latest version of iOS 15 as soon as it’s released for the latest features and most complete set of security updates. Or continue on iOS 14 and still get important security updates until you’re ready to upgrade to the next major version.


Apple, the antithesis of user choice, is even now offering an option between upgrading and getting security updates.

Apple is better in some choices vs others, and has been for a while.

To be clear Android the operating system offers targeted security updates. The device manufactures prefers to package them with feature updates. I guess it doesn’t matter for users.

Aren't many core components now taken care of by the Google Play Services library that's updated separately to avoid carriers and manufacturers from delaying critical security updates because they need to package and test these with all their bloatware crap?

Play services do not get just security updates, that’s true. It’s pretty hard to not have that up to date on an Android phone anyway.

Are you afraid of someone remotely pushing an update that pushes ads disguised as content to your device?

> Wouldn't that mean you had an insecure device?

So you mean ads are increasing security ?

Not automatically.

So many updates these days have nothing to do with security, just with "feautes" nobody asked for apart from random product manager who needs his paycheck.

Everything's a tradeoff.

Ads are bad behavior they are protecting themselves from.

It's just the home screen so it shouldn't be that much of a security hole. If it were the OS it'd be a bigger concern.

At first, I thought nVidia had done this, and I was cursing their name. After some searching, I discovered this is actually the stock launcher from Google instead.

nVidia should absolutely get ahead of this to preserve their own reputation.

That's Nvidia's choice to use default launcher. It's not like Google does not allow their partners to adapt OS. I agree about blaming Google first, but it's device from Nvidia, customer will not research where each particular application or part came from. If battery will blow up, nobody will blame some nameless chinese factory.

I absolutely blame Nvidia for this. I fully expect ads on my $25 Fire Stick. It's part of the bargain with Amazon. There is no way there should be ads on a $150-200 device, especially when they have been added in well after purchase.

Regardless of where they choose to lay blame, if Nvidia doesn't fix this I am done with their devices when it's time to replace them.

My $2000 top of the line Samsung tv is filled with ads. I assume LGs running android tv also got hit. Those TVs go up $3700 for their largest consumer OlED panel.

There have been complaints about these Google Launcher ads with Sony TVs for months. It's the reason why I didn't update to Android 9 and disabled all automatic updates.

Sony's "smart" TVs all come with Android TV (now called Google TV). Their top of the line OLED TV Sony Z9J starts at $8,000 in 75" and costs $10,000 in 85".

LG TV don't run Android TV. They run WebOS. So they probably have not been getting those ads.

You mean, they should put in their own adds as well ? ;-)

(I mean, their reputation in some circless is AFAIK quite bad - 500+ MB drivers requiring registration on windows, lack of cooperation on Linux drivers, nerfing of some of their GPUs for shady reasons, attempts to buy ARM, etc.)

Do you know of any Android TV / smart tv box which has a USB port?

I am currently building a magic mirror like smart map. Basically, the goal is to have a big touchscreen with Google maps or Google earth running.

For touch screen support I bought a cheap USB infrared frame. I have tested it with the USB C port of my Android phone and it works well, but I have sadly not found any Android TV box which has an USB port.

I used to put Xibo on crappy boxes like this one here for work. They never had the same internals, even if I used the same supplier. They usually thought they were a phone when you dug into their software.


I believe many that use usb for power, like Google's, are real ports that can be split with a hub.

That's correct. The Chromecast w/ Google TV works with the same USB-C hub I use with my MacBook Pro and Nintendo Switch.

Oh wow, that is news to me. That would be what I'm looking for! Thanks

The very first one, ADT-1, does have a USB port. I have one, but it's a prototype kind of thing and Google never really sold these to the general public. I got mine at Google I/O. That said, you could probably find them on ebay.

> Do you know of any Android TV / smart tv box which has a USB port?

Build your own with a Raspberry Pi. The new ones pack quite some heat in terms of performance.

Unfortunately I don't think Android is officially available for the Raspberry Pi.. But what I did to test my frame was installing Android x86 on a NUC. The reason why I want Android is because the Google Maps and Google Earth apps there already provide the touch experience I want.

I think the new nvidia stick has a USB port if you disassemble it a tiny bit.

Check out the formuler boxes, the gtv is android certified

Anyone try LineageOS on a Shield? I'm guessing everything is missing. I'm not sure if that's bad, but I'd missing being able to Chromecast to it.

I was really disappointed to find the same problems with tvOS having moved from a pair of Shields.

The ads hadn’t rolled out yet on Shield when I moved over but for some reason I just assumed Apple wouldn’t be shilling ads at me constantly for services I don’t have, or trying to sell me content I already have access to.

More fool me. Fire TV is worse, but I’ve heard Roku is much the same.

The Smart TV ecosystem is rot all over.

Can you be more specific? I have multiple Apple TV STBs and don't see what you're describing.

They’re probably talking about the Apple TV App on tvOS, which searches services you don’t necessarily have. You can get rid of it though, so I don’t know what the big deal is.

You can get rid of it - for now. That's what the whole thread is about: there weren't ads until there were.

Years ago, the App Store also used to not show ads.

Exactly - it’s identical to the problem in this thread.

Google TV launcher == Apple TV app on tvOS

You can remove the Google TV launcher but with it huge amounts of device functionality (including search). Same as for the TV app.

Literally zero difference other than the customary Apple free pass they always get.

On Roku, not sure of the others, standard router-level adblock worked.

I am hopeful that now that the FTC has a pro-consumer Chair that some of these anti-consumer acts will be curtailed.

I would also argue that some of these bad acts could be considered to be false / deceptive trade practices under the various state laws (in the U.S. at least). For example, some people would never have bought a FireTV cube for streaming video if Amazon had revealed that they would be adding advertisements to the consumer's video-viewing experience.

But: how much incentive is there for individuals to file a small claims suit against Amazon for a $79 device? Generally speaking you might get treble damages but not much more unless you've had actual damages.

And although class action suits are frustrating and should be "fixed" so that those harmed get the bulk of the proceeds (i.e. it's not okay that consumers receive discount coupons or $10 checks while plaintiff's counsel receives a disproportionally huge payday) this is one thing we've lost by generally not allowing class actions.

David v. Goliath is not as effective as 15,000 Davids v. Goliath.

Not to even mention the mandatory arbitration imposed on consumers (which do sometimes carve out the ability to file in small claims court).

We have cultivated, or at least allowed, a very anti-consumer bias to take hold in U.S. law.

The worst part is that google is abusing its power to limit people choices. They are enforcing terms on their phone partners that if they want Android (their only choice), they have to not use Fire OS or other Android forks on any device they make. You can read more here - https://www.protocol.com/google-android-amazon-fire-tv

The fact that they use the monopoly power on the phone to force Manufacturers to use Android TV is insane to me. The fact that they then quickly made the experience extremely anti consumer is a playbook monopoly play.

Don’t be evil?

... evil is what we say is evil.

That's the context - they can't do evil, by definition! (By circular definition, sure.)

> mandatory arbitration

Actually, mandatory arbitration can massively backfire, and the ad change seems like a compelling case.

Example: https://www.vox.com/2020/2/12/21133486/doordash-workers-10-m...

Yes -- thanks for pointing this out.

Unfortunately I have seen recently some arbitration clauses now include language saying, for example, that arbitration costs will be shared equally(!) or otherwise limiting their use by consumers.

However, the more that these mandatory arbitration clauses limit consumer rights the more likely that they will be found to be unenforceable. This is one reason that you'll often find that contracts with mandatory arbitration will have a clause specifying that in the event the arbitration clause is unenforceable that the rest of the agreement still stands.

The MegaCorps add this clause because they know that they are pushing the boundaries of what will be allowed by the courts.

Historically arbitration was intended to be a solution for parties of comparable bargaining power (e.g. MegaCorpABC vs MegaCorpXYZ) but instead are increasingly used by MegaCorp vs LittleConsumer.

Does anybody in the U.S. have a credit card that doesn't impose mandatory arbitration? Not that I've seen.

This is a topic that deserves much more news coverage. Most consumers have no clue how mandatory arbitration is being used against them.

And that's before we even consider their more egregious use in, for example, employment agreements as was the case in the article you've shared.

I bought a FireStick 4k to connect to my monitor since most services won't steam 4k to the PC. Have been very disappointed that the whole experience seems to be geared around promoting content instead of allowing me to interact with the content I HAVE ALREADY PAID FOR.

> And although class action suits are frustrating and should be "fixed" so that those harmed get the bulk of the proceeds (i.e. it's not okay that consumers receive discount coupons or $10 checks while plaintiff's counsel receives a disproportionally huge payday)

I don't understand why most people have a problem with this. It's the company that sold you the $79 product that cheated you. Be upset with them.

Personally, I don't care if I get $0 out of a class action lawsuit. I've already been cheated out of my money, so my main concern is punishing the company that ripped me off so they don't do it again.

Class action lawyers get a lot of hate, but those firms are fronting a ton of money and taking a ton of (monetary) risk by litigating on behalf of the class. They deserve a big reward when they win.

If you want to change the system, impose MASSIVE penalties on the companies that are cheating consumers. Make them pay 3-5x the going rate for the plaintiff's lawyers PLUS 100% refunds to all the customers that got ripped off.

Then the shenanigans will stop.

there's nothing wrong with ads on stuff like this; televisions aren't sacred ground.

There's nothing wrong with it, if you are told about this up front and it's part of your purchasing calculation.

Retroactively adding ads to an ad-free device after the customer has purchased it, sometimes buying it specifically to avoid competing devices with ads, is inexcusable bullshit.

If you subscribe to cable/satellite television, you expect there to be advertising. I'm not certain, but i suspect the agreement you sign while signing up for cable or streaming services, would include some sort of advertising clause.

Ie, u less a service explicitly promotes am ad-free experience, there should be no expectations of such.

I guess I can come to your house tomorrow and paint some ads on the walls, or were you promised an ad free experience?

How about their car’s infotainment system? Can we start showing them ads when stopped at a light or were they promised an ad free experience there as well?

You’re late to the game, Ford is working on that already.

I mean, it's been the new hotness at gas stations for a minute now. Which is something childhood me never would have expected.

"Once screens and connectivity costs fall below a threshold, advertising is guaranteed to follow."

This isn't about a service, it's about devices. The Google TV launcher is the de-facto UI for Android TV devices (like my Nexus Player, which is...7 YEARS OLD and now gets ads) and Google/Android TV-powered TVs, which are made by a bunch of different manufacturers. While my Nexus Player is rooted and I could theoretically install a different launcher, many of these TVs can't be modified. So if you purchased a TV thinking that it's smart capabilities were like a dumb OS UI into services like Netflix or Hulu (which may or may not have ads in their service agreement, as you point out), now they're getting pushed Amazon Fire-esque ads that prioritize spending money with Google from the UI over the services that you want to use.

There is a huge problem with selling something and then making it worse after people buy it.

Super wrong. Google sold one product then removed functionality after sale. That's very illegal.

A good parallel is the recent Peloton Treadmill update (as a result of the CPSC suit). You used to be able to use the treadmill without video content, it worked as a treadmill; you only had to pay for a subscription if you wanted Peloton content on the screen. This seems fairly obvious to anyone buying the device, and makes sense. I buy a treadmill, I can use the treadmill forever, but if i want content, I pay a monthly fee.

When they push a software update that makes the treadmill unusable without the subscription, now you're tied to not only paying for the service (at whatever price they decide that week), but you're also tied to the company itself continuing to exist and OFFER content.

A bunch of lawsuits have been filed, I'm sure it'll be reverted to 'the way it was' soon. (I honestly believe it was a largely clumsy move in trying to quickly tie a PIN code to the software to keep kids/unauthorized users from turning it on).

But it's a parallel here. My Google TV device might show ads on the TV network, but you pay for the device to not get ads on the home screen like the awful Fire Stick I have. (every time you hit 'play' to try to unpause a program, you are actually hitting 'play' on the terrible ad they gave you).

A lot of "innovation" in consumer tech is really just turning previously-standalone devices into subscription platforms and/or billboards. I'm sure the engineers who build these are proud of their contributions to society.

This is a bad take on Peloton. Peloton made it subscription only because the default user experience had bad design in that treadmills can be pin locked only if the customer is subscribed. In order to compensate for the bad design peloton has offered 3 months of subscription for free and has promised to add the pin lock feature to non subscribers soon.

Not that I agree with anything Peloton has done in this situation, but you make it sound much worse than it already is.

How is it a bad take on Peloton? If anything, your comment is more critical ("default user experience had bad design"). It seems clear to me that they'll end up replacing it with a pin lock that works even without a subscription, but it was probably easier to quickly implement in existing code that required a subscription. And, now that I re-read your comment, you say the same thing -- "has promised to add the pin lock feature to non subscribers soon".

I don't see how a single word of my comment makes it sound much worse than it is. I pointed out what they did as a result of CPSC, and indicated that they'll likely reverse course, which you confirmed.

I'm not super well-versed in how it works at the moment. I've got a Tread, but can't use it due to knee surgery, so I've been watching the CPSC uproar / PIN requirement from afar, and generally think it's pretty silly.

If I know about it, then yes. Like Amazon putting ads on their Kindle lock screens unless you pay an extra $20.

I bought my Shield as a premium device, not expecting the launcher to change substantially - much less to put ads on the screen.

Nothing wrong. But I and many others have migrated away from google products because of actions like this.

The constant bombardment of expectations that you'll spend more money is normalized, but it is not ok.

Of course it is not. We shall have ads, microfones and cameras everywhere.

I hate to be that guy, but this is exactly why I happily paid for an Apple TV. Yes, it’s $100 more than basic streaming sticks, but I have never had to worry about ads suddenly appearing after an update. This whole space is a race to the bottom with sticks being sold at or below cost because you are the product. For example, Vizio revealing in their first quarterly report as a public company that they get nearly as much revenue from selling ads and viewer usage data than from selling physical televisions.


A smooth, clean ad-free experience is certainly worth the extra price if you can afford it.

>> but I have never had to worry about ads suddenly appearing after an update

The problem is that Android TV users used to think the exact same thing. It's even said in the reviews explicitly by some people. I don't and I won't trust a corporation, be it Apple or Google, to not do something in a future update - if it works fine right now then unfortunately that has to be good enough.

Not all companies are equal.

Some make money by selling things so they have an incentive to keep happy customers. Some companies don’t.

Of course. But companies change all the time - today Apple is very privacy focused and we can reasonably say they wouldn't do such a thing. Can you absolutely guarantee that they won't in 2 years? In 5? in 10? What if the CEO changes and they think that ad-derived value is the best thing ever?

Like, this isn't meant to be a post against Apple btw. Just that I don't see a point in saying "company X did a bad thing, that's why I buy company Y, they would never do this!" - they don't right now, that's what counts. But for the future? Who knows.

We have to make reasonable assumptions when making purchasing decisions. Just because something could happen does not make it a likely thing to happen and assuming that any company is equally likely to start serving advertisements on their devices is unreasonable and foolish.

While people may not have had the foresight to know that Google would be adding advertisements to their tv box, the behavior itself isn't unexpected given that Google is an advertising company. For Apple the behavior is both unexpected and disincentivized by the brand they've built for themselves.

I could die tomorrow but living my life under that impression would be foolish.

Apple subjects its users to entirely different type of abuse: purposeful incompatibility and vendor lock-in on every imaginable level from cable connectors to keyboard layouts. You always have to go all in to their ecosystem and pay a 50% premium on everything just for the Apple logo.

I guess it's a choice of if you want to bend over at the checkout or at home when you have started using the product.

> Apple subjects its users to entirely different type of abuse: purposeful incompatibility and vendor lock-in on every imaginable level from cable connectors to keyboard layouts.

By cable connectors I'm assuming you are mostly referring to the lightning connector, which came before USB-C was an option. I actually still think it's a better connector than USB-C, but the advantages of adopting USB-C at this point heavily outweigh the merits of keeping it. Still, Apple doesn't shy away from adopting new standards that it thinks it's better. They famously ditched their own serial connector (ADB) for USB in the iMac.

I have no clue what you meany by keyboard layout or how Apple in any way locks someone into a specific keyboard layout.

> You always have to go all in to their ecosystem

Why do you have to go all in on their ecosystem again? There are plenty of people with airpods or an iPad without any other Apple device and are perfectly happy with just that. Apple puts a lot of effort into creating an attractive ecosystem because their business is in selling hardware.

> pay a 50% premium on everything just for the Apple logo.

... And for the software, the ecosystem, the hardware, and a lot of other factors. I find it extremely weird that you say this in the same sentence that you mention the ecosystem. Beyond that, it's not even true? What devices cost 50% more when compared against comparable options from other manufacturers?

> I guess it's a choice of if you want to bend over at the checkout or at home when you have started using the product.

You're making of choice of paying for higher quality hardware that isn't subsidized or lower quality hardware that is. The biggest slap in the face here is for people that bought premium Android TV devices like the Nvidia Shield and still have to put up with this bullshit from Google.

The future is uncertain, that is life. But while a company is privacy focussed, reward that behaviour so they (or their new competitors for when they stop supporting privacy it) know people vote with wallets.

Of course I can’t guarantee it, no one can.

But it’s more likely if a company’s business model doesn’t involve ads vs does.

Past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance, but it’s the best we got.

To paraphrase: "Some people commit crimes, there is nothing stopping other people committing crimes in the future; therefore everyone is a criminal."


I recently bought my first Apple TV after dumping our Virgin Media cable box. I still have an ancient 1080p LG smart TV that that the smart features are effectively unusable on. I’ll never buy a smart TV again if I can help it.

I’ve always used my PS4 for streaming services but the bloody thing was so loud. I’ve replaced the PS4 with a PS5 but it doesn’t have the national broadcaster’s crappy app and we wanted to keep access to these channels.

I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the Apple TV. It surfaces shows across my streaming apps without pushing TV+ in your face. It integrates beautifully with the Apple ecosystem, I can ask Siri on any device to play $show on Disney+ in the living room and it just works.

I’ve heard how bad the old remote was but the new one is really nice. I’ve paired my dualshock 4 controller to it for Apple Arcade and it works great.

The Apple TV is a device that doesn’t get much attention but I think it’s really impressive.

Yeah, Apple products have a reputation as “luxury” products, but the value is solid. For instance, with few exceptions, their phones receive updates for at least 6 years after release. Cheap android phones will be lucky to see 2 and even Samsung only does like 4 (and that’s recent… before it was 3). The iPhone 4S was updated for 93 months, almost 8 years.

I generally prefer more open ecosystems, but Apple has built a pretty strong reputation for not just being an ad company and for making solid products that are supported much longer than competitor devices.

Also all manufacturers which are not tracking Google's updates in a monthly interval are essentially worthless from a security perspective. Nobody needs to care about the latest Android version, which is only bringing marginal improvements amyway.

A correction - the article says Visio makes almost as much profits on ads and data ($38M) as hardware ($48M). In my view, the surprising thing here is how little money the hardware business makes. TVs are a low-margin product, so the revenues there are certainly higher. Visio sold 7 million TVs last year, and TVs last some years, so I’d estimate they have an install base of tens of millions and are making about $1 per TV per year in ads and data, which is obviously less than a TV costs. My takeaway is that this is a terrible business to be in, given that a leading brand is making so little per TV.

You can't really compare headline profits without seeing the full breakdown of revenue and expenses that led to those results.

For example Visio's hardware side could be reinvesting vast sums of revenue back into TV R&D. Or they could have invested in upstream component manufacturers. Maybe they spent a large amount on recruiting new staff. All those expenses are deducted before profit.

Meanwhile the ad division might have made no investments for the future and took the tax-inefficient choice to show a large profit instead.

Yeah sadly the Nvidia Shield is in the same ballpark when it comes down to the price. I have both an Apple TV 4K and an Nvidia Shield. I bought the shield when Apple had no 4K device as an alternative to get 4K HDR on Netflix. But I decided to shell out money again for an AppleTV 4K because they offered better support for HDR in movies and the general support to adopt features like Dolby Athmos is way faster on Apple. With Nvidia one had to be lucky to be in a partnership group as they were with the HDR adoption on Netflix. My PS4 was not able to play the content in HDR at the time since the Netflix app needed and update. It took nearly 6 more month.

I didn’t update the shield in quite some time as most new features are of no interest to me. And from the looks of it that won’t happen anytime soon. It’s worse enough that google did the same with the YouTube app …

I just realized that android tv and Nvidia shield experience are two different things. So it did and auto update. Bloody …

I hate to be that guy (no I don't) but this is why I just plugged one of the spare outputs on my PC into the TV with a 20ft HDMI extension cable and use a bluetooth keyboard/mouse to open movies from the living room.

That’s really a solo person solution. Anyone with a family in the house will need better, and anyone with family elsewhere can’t exactly recommend such a kludge without opening up a ton of support issues.

In that case just get a cheap computer (that's all these set top boxes are anyway) to keep in the living room.

So now I can’t use my computer when my kids watch tv?

Xorg supports multi headed setups. I don't personally do that since there are only two people in my house but you should be able to set it up pretty easily.

Can you sideload? Is there NewPipe? Pass. No ads but no choice. It solves one issue but creates another.

Yeah i agree, s-tube and newpipe are really great and you’d never get that on an apple tv.

Would’ve gone for an apple tv otherwise

Same. If Apple opened up their devices I'd switch everything over in a heartbeat.

I totally agree. I can't imagine paying the price of a premium laptop for a phone without newpipe.

Indeed. It's hard to sympathize with people upset about ads when they bought a platform made by an ad company. The outcome was obvious here.

This is pretty unsympathetic, and tacitly assumes that everyone has an understanding of the tech ecosystem.

The majority of people on the planet have phones running an OS made by the same ad company, and they'd be rightfully pissed if their home screens were suddenly was dominated by ads.

I bought a Sony TV, not a Google one. I would have expected Sony to disallow this somehow.

As far as I understand Googles Play Store comes with a viral license that forces preferential treatment for Google services on all Android devices made by a manufacturer unless they are sold in a country where that kind of anti competitive behavior is not tolerated. Basically Sonys choice is let Google rape its customers or kill all its Android based products over night.

I didn't realize nVidia was an ad company. Their business model sure has changed.

Apple products are luxury items for the vast majority of people in the world.

You know what else can give you a smooth, ad-free experience and freedom? Any cheap mini-pc with Kodi installed.

Yeah, but can it do that out-of-the-box with zero effort for the rest of my family? Sadly, no.

Futzing with Kodi updates, patches, updates to the OS, drivers, etc is all way too much to be considered ’smooth’ for most.

We've got a RPi running https://osmc.tv/ (based around Kodi) - other than pressing yes to install updates every so often it hasn't needed touching. There might even be an auto update at 1am type option.

It only gets used for local media + radio, twitch and youtube streams though - I don't know about other services.

Oh, yes, the old America's motto: "Give me convenience or give me death!"

Joking aside, there is not much futzing around to do if you just go with LibreElec, and you can even buy pre-installed boxes nowadays.

Does it support Full HD (at least) streaming from Netfilx and / or Prime?

My setup is like GP's, ie I play the videos on the computer, but what bothers me personally is that I have to boot windows to get the high quality streaming.

I've looked specifically at Kodi maybe a year ago and it didn't seem to support this. I'm OK with tinkering if I know it's actually possible to get this working.

The only service I subscribe to is njalla VPN, which I can then use to download any movie or TV show I want, in whatever quality I want and I get to keep it for as long as I want... can't get any smoother than that.

I'm not that big of a movie / tv show fan, I mostly watch while eating or when winding down for the day, so I rarely look for something specific. I'm very happy with Prime Video's offer, which is basically free for me, since I had already subscribed to Amazon Prime for regular shopping.

For my use, this is much less friction than any searching and waiting around for torrents or whatever to download.

There's also the discoverability factor. Not following current movies / shows, I don't necessarily know what shows exist. So browsing through random lists and then checking if they're available to download from enough people that it won't take a week is way too much work when all I want is to mindlessly watch something right now.

Kodi has add-ons (e.g Quasar or Elementum) that provide this ability to browse popular/new movie shows and lets you download a torrent and watch it as a stream. Your waiting time depends only on how many seeders are available, which means that popular files are basically instant.

Apple TV is ad free so long as you don’t count the un-dismissable 1p promos for Apple TV+ trials and Apple Arcade trials.

The Nvidia Shield Pro is more expensive than the Apple TV...

Unfortunately Apple TV remotes are a nightmare to use. The touch UX is an absolute pain.

On the Apple TV 2021 4K's remote you can disable the touch and just use the buttons, like I have done. Works a treat.

Use your phone as the remote. I agree the ones they ship are dreadful.

The new one is great - your complaint is an old one.

Yep. But can we expect everyone to spend $$$ to upgrade their Apple TV boxes for this or can we be allowed to complain a little when we bought the old device for Christmas last year?

PS: I don't actually complain :-) I'm a recent convert and compared to Chromecast I find Apple TV a massive upgrade.

Just use the TV remote and hdmi cec.

The 2nd generation Siri remote adds click support back in again.

I think this would be a great time for Apple to release an actual TV. I know of no major TV brand that doesn't employ some kind of tracking or advertisement. Even LG has devolved into that pit.

I love my Apple TV but the Shield is my go to player simply for the audio passthrough of audio formats such as TrueHD and DTS-HD which last time I checked are not supported by the Apple TV!

Yea I have Apple everything except for this one Shield Pro because the audio quality (esp Atmos) is clearly better than AppleTV. Even my wife who really doesn’t care about audio notices.

Apple TV shows Apple TV+ ads on the homescreen. The big difference is that Android TV lets you replace the launcher entirely, while Apple TV leaves you to Apple's whims.

The one thing I like about Google's now many-years obsolete "do no evil" slogan is that it shows how it is impossible for companies to not eventually become "evil" once that's their only open easy revenue stream.

Without debating what "evil" really means in this context, in the early days of a company there are plenty of ways to grow without being actively user hostile. Once those avenues are thoroughly maxed out, any company that is basically only measured by growth (i.e. every public company) will have to slide more and more into things that only boost revenue to the detriment of users.

I mean, this change is so blatantly abusive and user hostile, and something that never would have been greenlit in, say, the 00s, just shows how far Google has decayed.

This assumes being evil is free. Google, Facebook etc are trading long term value for short term gains.

DuckDuckGo users are funding ddg’s growth and R&D which makes it a better product over time. Google essentially converted some minimal short term gains into an existential threat. Assuming they become widely known as the worse search engine it’s extremely difficult to regain users.

Facebook bought out several competitors, but Facebook.com for example has serious issues with younger demographics. At this point any platform they don’t buy risks killing the company.

> Once those avenues are thoroughly maxed out, any company that is basically only measured by growth […] will have to slide more and more into things that only boost revenue to the detriment of users.

In this case, the law or regulation is supposed to step in. The problem is that the law pretty much stopped advancing when it comes to the digital world, at least when it benefits the consumer.

The law is advancing at it's usual pace. Some highlights include the Magna Carta in 1215, the Constitution in 1787, the Emancipation in 1863, the 19th Amendment in 1920, the Civil Rights Act of 1964...if anything, progress is happening more quickly now than ever.

It's just that culture/society/law change far slower than technology. Most US Senators are over 65, with associated world-views and educations more than half a century old. A quarter century ago, neither smart TVs, targeted ads, nor Google itself existed.

Children today are warned about Internet tracking tools, privacy management, they're aware of the creepy omnipresent big brother nature of tech, perhaps in 2080 Congress will be ready to address these issues.

> it is impossible for companies to not eventually become "evil" once that's their only open easy revenue stream.

Google doesn’t lack revenue streams, it just wants to maximise all of them ans make new ones. It’s the constant desire for growth and the mantra that ‘standing still is going baxkwards’ that I find repulsive.

Another one of Google’s tenets that have been forgotten is focus on the user. First it meant just focus on the user, then it became well we are focusing on the user when we do deceptive ads because then they get other services for free, then it was completely forgotten.

I think there was a time when Apple was screwing up for a while and just making things shittier with new releases that Android actually was better. That time is now gone.

Edit: the iPhone keyboard really hates swearing though.

> Edit: the iPhone keyboard really hates swearing though.

Lack of 3rd party keyboards was one of the things that kept me from using iPhones for a long time but these days I wonder why do anyone keep the original one?

I was stupid,just switched and the new one is a lot better. How come the stock keyboard is so much worse?

Thanks for the tip! Which one do you use BTW?

Happy to help :-)

I'm using SwiftKey - but I only type with it, I don't swipe. Also they are slowly introducing more bugs but it is still usable.

You then, which did you end up with?

Also SwiftKey.

If history has taught us anything: this will blow over in a few weeks or months and everyone will get used to it in the end. The small percentage of users who (sometimes only temporarily) stop using the service is offset by the new income and the majority of users do not care.

If history taught us anything it’s that people will move to less friction platform. I was long time Google, but over the last few years I’ve almost migrated completely to Apple. I know a lot of developers in my field (video games) that have done the same. Google is using its size and reach to fill my products with ads. I’m not an ad id and I want to be treated as such. Also, why is android such a bad development platform? Android is the worst part of mobile development and I’m glad I left it for good.

I remember when moving to Linux in 2010 (then Mac) being surprised that:

- There were practically no ads, and especially no ads with easy traps such as “You have a virus, install this to remove it”.

- There were no OEM drivers, and thus no Askbar, the 404 pages were really 404s, and the Search on Google bar really went to Google.com. That was new for me, coming from Windows.

- If there were ads, on Mac, they were for higher-class products, not fast food.

People joke about the 20% to 100% higher cost of Apple products, but being away from the grandma/noobs ecosystem has no price. Corollary: Grandmas and noobs endure an obnoxious OS experience, because advertisers know that a lot of them will click on traps like “Error 404. Enter your credit card to view content” (or, today, “Want in on the Bitcoin experience?”).

Same here, although my reasons were a bit more mixed.

My wife and I went from flagship Android phones (latest and greatest Samsung or Sonys) to mid-range iPhones (XR) over the last few years and it feels like a massive improvement.

I'm not going back anytime soon and next week two more of my kids are getting (refurbished) iPhone 8 to replace their aging Samsung Galaxy S7 and Huawei <something I can't remember>.

I'd love to move to Apple, but muscle memory is a real PITA. I just can't seem to overcome that obstacle, no matter how small. I always seem to find my way back to 'good old' Android/Windows. It's almost like an abusive relationship.

tvOS has the same problem I’m afraid.

Which problem? Because there aren't ads on the home screen, or even in the Apple TV app (other than promos for TV shows, but that's like...why you're there).

You’re wrong and they’re ads.

If I’m on the home screen and I want to search across apps (a core feature) I’m routed through the TV app, which will try to make me buy new services or pay fees to watch content I already have access to on Netflix.

It will also mix in banners for shows/movies I don’t have access to without paying additional fees, and doesn’t allow a way to disable this.

This is exactly the problem people are having with the new Google TV app.

Don’t want Google ads? Cool, uninstall the Google TV launcher and remove massive amounts of functionality you already paid for (including universal search) and crack on with a terrible experience.

Don’t want Apple ads? Cool, move the TV app to your junk folder and remove massive amounts of functionality you already paid for (including universal search) and crack on with a terrible experience.

Even Prime video has a free to me button.

The ATV is not a subsidised device, this is shameless gouging and Apple again get a pass on here that other companies are (rightly) dragged for just because they’re Apple.

You’re wrong and confused on the Apple TV. There were is a home bar on tvOS, apps in this bar directly represent the ads you’ll see. If you highlight tv then you get ads for shows in that app. Likewise, highlighting the App Store shows ads for popular apps and services. You can remove any of these apps from that bar.


Others in this thread have already spoken about getting ads for Peacock, Disney+ and Hulu even though they don’t have the services installed, let alone in the app bar.

Today I tried to continue watching a show I’ve been watching for a month and Apple wanted me to pay money just because it’s on Netflix. No mention whatsoever that it’s on Netflix or even a banner to read “content from other services may not appear in this app”.

Sure I can check Netflix separately, but that means that if I want to use the most popular streaming service in the world on this device reliably then I no longer have a universal search feature.

It’s crazy that the experience is this bad and no-one is willing to point it out.

I don’t have this experience and I’ve pointed out you can tailor your experience in tvOS. Ads are pulled from the app highlighted. If you put apps on the home bar that aren’t the tv app, App Store, iTunes, iMovie, etc you won’t get ads. How is that so hard to understand?

Please see posts above and elsewhere in the thread.

Services are advertised regardless of what’s in the App Bar.

Shows are advertised on services that aren’t even installed, even if they’re on Netflix and Netflix is installed.

Movies that are on Netflix are shown as iTunes rentals for additional fees, with no message to the user that they can watch it on Netflix.

I asked if you know of a toggle to switch these of, I’ve been unable to find anything to suggest such an option exists either on my device or via Google.

I like a lot of what they make, but tvOS is just bad in it’s current state.

And that’s a feature that makes sense promote tv shows on your tv device. Most/all of the promoted shows are from apps already installed. Like the Disney+ Promo for Raya. I already had Disney+, so it was more of a hey watch this new content you’re already paying for.

I only have Hulu installed, and it's the only paid streaming service I use. I'm getting ads for peakcock and disney+ too.

Is the App Store, iTunes, iMovie, or tv+ highlighted? Because that’s how ads work on Apple tv

This ^^

Why am I getting ads for services I don’t have, and why can’t I switch them off if I want to?

With ads that I can easily go into settings to turn off?

That’s the problem people are upset about is this is forced upon you with zero realistic alternatives. Apple puts it into the settings whereas you have to use adb to forcefully swap the launcher. That’s a pretty bog difference c

Where can I switch ATV ads off in the settings?

I also assumed it would be there, but unless I’m missing it, the option to disable those ads doesn’t exist.

I use tvOS everyday and it’s not the same.

Previously, I bought Pixel devices with confidence in Google's stewardship and taste. Now that Google has injected ads into a $200 device I bought a year ago, I can only assume that all Google products will eventually have ads. Why would I ever buy another pixel phone? $699+ for a phone that will some day have ads on its home screen? No thanks.

Nova Launcher has always been good. However, that still leaves Android Settings.

> this will blow over in a few weeks or months and everyone will get used to it in the end.

After seeing screen after screen of one-star reviews, I'm not sure this one will just blow over. People are very, very unhappy with the update.

It's a bit skewed since it's a default system installed app and people generally aren't going to rate it unless they are unhappy but hopefully it doesn't blow over. I agree that there are a lot of people who are unhappy (including myself).

History teaches us that HN readers are generally quite caring of these sort of intrusions into their previous "just right" setups and don't tend to just let it ride.

Yep, 16 new libreelec installs will appear, and thousands of google tvs will be sold in the meantime.

That is kind of a twist on the old "nobody ever got fired for using IBM" idea regarding marketplace saturation: "nobody ever complained about Google"?

I mean.. honestly, if I had to set up some "media device" for a relative, I'd pick google over anything else... usually it just works, it's simple, if something doesn't work, "it's googles fault", if something isn't supported, again, googles fault. ...basically same as with IBM.

At home... libreelec. +importing ipvt playlists... +epg, which gets banned by the telco, and then reappears somewhere else. +subtitle services. +this and that plugin.

Keyword “HN Readers”, not users. I’d be surprised if even 1% of all Android TV users were HN Readers.

> I’d be surprised if even 1% of all Android TV users were HN Readers.

Remove some magnitudes, and then some more.

That misconstrues my comment: I believe that HN readers (and users) care about topics like this over the long haul and don't tend to just let intrusions like Google's slide by without opprobrium. Thus, to me, the parent comment doesn't wash.

Or, as Google is simply dialing it to 10 now, it will then dial this down to 5 post reactions and people will be okay with this eventually, unfortunately.

When instead it should not have been done at the first place.

As is with everything like the uproar Facebook as had with their changes. They even admit it with "we will not apply these changes for now" becauae they know it will die out.

That's why we need alternatives.

They will ratchet, small step at a time. Not sure how the rope snapping will look like...

It's not a service like a subscription. It's the driver for a suite of hardware products that Google intentionally broke after the return window.

I have a Shield TV and I really despise this change. I bought a device that did NOT show ads on the home screen, now it does. How is that not... it just should NOT be allowed.

Show me ads in YouTube, show me ads in whatever other app, but not my home screen. There's a difference. The home screen is MINE, not Google's.

Google will chock this up to "staying" competitive. The Fire TV and Samsung Smart TVs have had ads on the menu for a while now. Ads on the home screen takes it further. If this was nipped in the bud, it would not have made it this far.

People are slowly realizing these commissions don't care about consumers, just making it seem they do.

> The home screen is MINE, not Google's.

Android is owned by Alphabet (or Google if you prefer) and you decided to buy a device that runs their OS with their services that are not open source. You probably didn't even pay for the OS. What makes you think it is yours?

TIL I should create my own operating system from scratch if I don't want advertisements on my smart television.

And people wonder why Congress wants to break up FAANG

> What makes you think it is yours?

That we paid for it in the store?

Nowhere did it say "free OS included" so it is entirely reasonable to think that some of the price was for the included OS and software at the time which has now been substantially degraded.

Where does the "ad invasion" end?

Smart toasters that force you to watch ads before getting your toast in the morning?

Smart windows that display ads that block your view of your backyard?

Smart paints that display ads on your bedroom walls?

Smart shower-heads that play jingles as you wash yourself?

Smart brain implants that directly induce subconscious desire to buy certain products and services?

Is there some kind of limit at which we value the right to personal privacy and the right to peace-of-mind over the right to advertise?

- "Smart" alarm clock requires micropayment to use snooze.

And they say:

"Why not? We indicated in the TOS (on page 4) our ability to 'modify the program as needed to better support our customers or our services.'

"Also please note that our TOS, which incorporates our Privacy Policy, allows us to sell your wake-up time to third parties in real-time.

"And before you say you never agreed to our TOS, we say you did when you plugged the SuperSmartestAlarm into a power outlet (as clearly indicated on page 22 of the aforementioned TOS, which can be conveniently viewed in a 6" x 2" frame with vertical and horizontal scrollbars)."

[Since this is too close to the truth to be obvious satire: no, this is not happening AFAIK (right now).]

They wouldn't need to bury that in the TOS; they'd make it a feature: "Our innovative pay-to-snooze feature helps you get up earlier by penalizing you for hitting the snooze button"

That's already a feature on some smartphone alarms. However, it requires opt-in and usual payment verification - if I want to spend my money on snooze, and specifically authorize this, there's no problem at all.

A quick search found this article in the marketing press:


It's from 2018, and no progress has been mad on this wonderous world for ad-subsidized fridges that I know of. Still, it's clear people are thinking along these lines.

And I remain adamant that any appliance I own like this must not have wifi or bluetooth functionality. After my TV started showing ads when I switched inputs, I'm done giving these people an inch.

Maybe not at home, but this was just at HN frontpage: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27636773

Amazon devices give wifi to each others even if they belong to the neighbor. Next posh thing will be Faraday enclosures for fridges.

There has to be a point where so many things are so heavily encumbered with ads that that there isn't actually a product left to sell any more, it's just a material vehicle for delivering more adverts. And things don't work well because all they're designed for is displaying ads. And the ads themselves are just ads for more ads.

And the wealthy will get their peace of mind as they buy out of the system while continuing to preside over and profit from it. It's just going to become another thing that poor people have to live with; subservience to the corporate overlords.

There was one startup that I met a few years ago that focused on enabling IoT on 'dumb' devices. Their first product some sort of plug for ceiling fans that allowed people to turn on & off / control the ceiling fan with their smartphone. The product also required a $5/month subscription service.

I remember asking the CEO why would someone pay $5/month just to control their fan and he basically responded that the idea seems ludicrous and this point in time, but eventually people will catch on, and then he made an allusion to Microsoft Office and how that it's becoming a subscription product despite initially being one-off purchase 15 years ago.

I think you're overestimating the degree to which useless subscriptions are sustainable. I just moved and am about to purchase something identical to what you're describing[1], and it's a one-time purchase, as expected.

[1] https://sensibo.com/?device=m&campaignID=12697870451

If it has a cloud dependency, you can be confident that the system it controls will probably outlive the service's free lifetime.

If you're willing to do some technical work, there is fantastic open source tooling in this space. Then you'll have a setup that isn't affected by the business desires or financial problems of others. As a bonus, you get better latency over lan.


Oh agreed, I haven't yet purchased the unit because it's on my todo list to look into options that don't have external deps. Historically, I have a strong preference for removing unnecessary servers in favor of using dynamic DNS with a device on my home network.

My only point was that even this server-based system is already selling without a subscription, and as you point out, the off-ramp to a system with no cloud dependency is pretty clear for those who want to avoid subscriptions (or dependencies in general).

Thanks for the pointer!

Are you sure it will stay a one-time purchase? Given the post topic, your confidence seems ironic. In a few years' time, you might start seeing ads in the associated app...

I think you've misunderstood both my comment and the one I was responding to. Neither of us mentioned ads?

I was pointing out that even the parent comment's very example of a slow slide towards universal subscriptions that add no value didn't hold. It was framed as "I have inside knowledge of this nascent product category and its capture by useless subscriptions", while in reality this is already a market category that exists without any such issues.

This bizarre wild-eyed fearmongering about insane, lose-lose, somehow-inescapable business models is HN's version of QAnon.

Isn't the answer to just buy a product explicitly marketed as ad-free? I used to watch enough YouTube that it was worth it for me to pay $10/mo to disable ads (and stream music). It never occurred to me that I was owed as a human right limitless free content with no implicit or explicit cost.

Similarly, if ads partially fund a toaster, just....pay more for the toaster without ads? The expansion of ads to every product category doesn't warrant the assumption that it will _consume_ every product category, leaving no ad-free alternatives.

Except no ad-free service remains ad-free forever. Sooner or later, subscriber growth slows down, and the standard playbook to continue to grow revenue is:

(a) introduce new products that require additional subscriptions (but eventually the company runs out of new products to introduce),

(b) raise subscription fees a tiny little bit every year (but there's a limit to how much any company can do that without angering customers too much), and

(c) break existing ad-free plans into new tiers of service, some or all of which have... ads.

> Except no ad-free service remains ad-free forever.

None of the examples you gave (toasters, windows, paint, and shower-heads) are services. I used YouTube (a service) as an example, because we're not in a world where products are overrun with ads the way services are, but my point was that even the service market has started to offer alternatives to ads.

The idea that the market will bear every product getting service-ized but somehow not offer any ad-free versions is nonsensical, at least in the steady state.

YouTube has tons of product placement withim videos themself so ad-free service you pais dor barely remove half od the ads.

Aside from not being true in general (none of the videos I watch have product placement/sponsorships), this is completely irrelevant. We're discussing the YouTube content delivery service, not the manner in which the content is funded, in exactly the same way that "the movies you're watching already have product placement" would be completely irrelevant to the discussion on this thread about ads in the interface through which you watch the movie.

Tangential, but you reminded me of it: it's truly fascinating how incredibly brain-damaging discussion of ads seem to be. Every single thread I've ever read on the topic is full of non sequiturs, nonsensical analogues, glaring logical inconsistencies, etc. The only other topic I can think of that makes people similarly insane is airlines (cf my "why should I pay taxes" uncle complaining about airlines no longer requiring other passengers to pay for transporting his suitcases).

That's great, until they stop making the ad free version. It's like TVs, there are no high end ad free TVs now.

Interesting, I did some quick Googling and was able to find a good handful of 2020 models with no ads, but none for 2021. I'll take your word for it that they don't exist, but the fact that this is the first year where that appears to be the case is not strong evidence to me that this is the steady-state of the TV market.

You make a good point that it might not be the steady state of the display market, but I think it is for the majority of TVs today.

As alternatives, you can buy commercial displays that are effectively TVs (with HDMI in), however they lag in specs and lack some features. You can also buy hospitality versions of TVs as 'dumb' TVs for a similar price, but these also tend to have lower specs. You can buy large format computer monitors (55" is about the highest I've seen) but they are substantially more expensive (roughly 3x more expensive) and typically use DisplayPort instead of HDMI.

I only learned about the options because I'm looking to replace my 2013 Plasma TV that has a power supply problem.

Good to know, thanks. I was actually going to buy a TV a couple of weeks ago, but ended up deciding to make my large monitor do double-duty instead of stuffing another screen into my "cozy" new place in Manhattan. It's good to know that I dodged a bullet: it's easy enough for me to avoid ads that when I do come across them, I find them pretty jarring.

It will never end so long as consumers will keep buying the products. In other words, it will never end, period.

> Smart toasters that force you to watch ads before getting your toast in the morning?

Adverts scorched into your toast. I sort of want this.

But your DRM encumbered butter won't spread over the scorch marks, as that would be considered to be ad-blocking tech.

Adverts specifically, or just being able to scorch any design into your toast? The later sure would be neat and novel, my nephew gets a kick out of pancakes that look like his favorite cartoon characters.

But adverts on my breakfast? Dear god please no.

> Is there some kind of limit at which we value the right to personal privacy and the right to peace-of-mind over the right to advertise?

Who's "we"? The advertising companies? Then no.

Smart wallet, with smart money - google know better how to spend them.

Smart condom with smart lubricant - pay as you use.

Smart pants - ads on ass, smart farts.

Personally, I would never buy a "smart" anything besides the phone itself.

Such a high % of the population is clinically addicted to the phone though I can't blame anyone who makes a product to cater to these addicts.

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook - we power their abuses with our money. Just stop buying their trash. Support open hardware, free and open source software.

People bought devices that did not show the ads. Now Google has forced those ads onto those devices. So, hindsight being 20/20, this is yet another abuse.

After a certain point, you have to start noticing patterns.

You're not wrong, but what should be the narrative to any future devices like this is:

"They change it after selling it to you for the worse, don't buy their products."

When that becomes the reputation the problem will solve itself when they stop selling them from bad reputation.

It's still vandalistic destruction of property Google doesn't own. Google and their hardware partners owe refunds to all these customers.

I'm sympathetic to the idea that there are implicit expectations during a purchase that shouldn't ideally be violated. But I'm curious if you truly believe this, or if it's just hyperbole.

In this "fully my property, not a service I'm using" framework, would an update that patches a security vulnerability be "altruism"? Would refusal on Google's part to patch vulnerabilities be a completely acceptable refusal to futz with someone's property?

This is a serious question; my perspective is that "I thought I was buying unchanging property" is disingenuous unless you're similarly surprised by app updates and maintenance (let alone feature development). The expectation of these updates makes it pretty clear to me that this resembles a service more than a static product that Google has ability to "vandalize" (or responsibility to maintain).

They should be legally required to supply security patches and legally required not to reduce the functionality of the device.

If they can't do that, then they need to stay out of the space.

And how much billions is the marketing budget to get that narrative successful ? /s

mostly memes

Talking specifically of TV experience the Shield has been the best streaming device on the market. Working out of the box and putting away the tinkering and manual config of the common HTPC. NVIDIA has brought updates and support to old Shield devices with the almost same support as Apple devices. It is disappointing NVIDIA does not own their own OS as Apple and Shield loyal users are affected of Google anti-consumer behaviour.

Very difficult to do when it comes to entertainment. Almost all streaming services have locked down DRM that makes running open source software very difficult.

(I know someone will say “just pirate it then!” but even putting moral obligations aside that’s still not realistic for the average viewer)

I don’t believe there is any coherent moral argument against piracy in the face of such hostile tactics from media companies.

Of course there is. Pirating streaming media isn’t like stealing bread to feed your starving family, it’s entirely optional. If you don’t agree with the terms of service (i.e. DRM) then don’t use the service. Deciding on your own terms of service is just entitlement. I personally don’t care either way but you can’t say there is no argument against it.

Stealing bread actually deprives someone else of a scarce resource, but the marginal cost of making a digital copy of a TV show is ~zero. So you’re right - it is quite different. Stealing bread is much worse than copying a digital file.

Stealing bread to feed your family when the alternative is starving is not the same as watching Game of Thrones.

You both argue around the question: how does the unlicensed reproduction of media morally compare to stealing.

Argument 1: Sufficiently severe benefits should mitigate the moral fault in theft.

Argument 2: Sufficiently small damage should mitigate the moral fault in theft.

You both seem to at least implicitly agree that both is theft, which would be a traditional point of disagreement in the debate.

I commented because I think one and two might be structurally the same argument: It's a consequentialist idea of utility thresholds.

A key disagreement would be whether there are thresholds that make the quantitative difference in utility a qualitative difference. Think hunger on one side and unquantifiable small loss in profits on the other side.

I’m actually arguing from a slightly different consequentialist position; I don’t think intellectual property law in general is socially efficient. You have to consider whether the (putative) benefit of IP-based R&D funding exceeds the loss associated with the introduction of artificial scarcity, social cost of IP enforcement, etc. For something like rocket engines or metallurgy, I would say “maybe”. For the latest Star Wars spinoff, I would say “strong no”.

Even for rocket engines or whatever, it’s not clear if the patent system is still producing acceptable returns.

Then why do public libraries exist? Reading a book is optional. Artists who make TV and movies gain nothing from google being hostile to the people trying to view their work. It’s the publishers and middlemen that are doing this.

I don’t understand the logic here. Libraries pay money for the media they lend out so how is it comparable?

You don't need a justification (like feeding your family) for something that isn't unethical in the first place.

Even if Widevine itself is not open source, there are lots of legal streaming add-ons for Kodi. For example I use Disney+, Netflix and Prime with Kodi on a Le Potato (same SoC as Amazon Fire Stick). Right now it's an old, formerly analog TV, but when I change it I will just buy a 43" monitor.

Kodi+Jellyfin is amazing, I'll never use closed source stuff on my TV again.

The new Apple TV 4K is a absolutely better than any of the high end android tv devices. I’ve been through them all (at considerable expense) and am now totally happy on the new apple tv

After a few weeks of my 3 year old Android TV having ads and having choppy animations, I bought the new Apple TV. In the last month we haven't watched anything on the base Android TV interface. Apple TV is smoother, easier to find what we want, and interfaces for HBO Max look better.

This is supporting my believe that expensive (durable) goods like TVs, cars, and appliances should have an external control hardware for their smarts that can be upgraded every few years. This would allow the good to last 10+ years without a crappy experience after the first 2 years.

Cars yes please. I remember when people bought aftermarket car stereos, was great. I really dont like today's integrated entertainment, they dont work that will and in 10 years will look terrible.

I have an Apple TV and I want to like it, but the remote is utter garbage. Every time I so much as brush against it, it does some weird shit, like pause playback, go into fast forward, change the program or whatever... so then there's a mad scramble "where's that fucking remote?" as I try to figure out what appendage touched it so I can find it and undo whatever it decided to do. I'm afraid to stretch my legs or arms for fear of breaking playback.

Amazon got their remote right. Everything is an actual BUTTON and there aren't too many of them. Absolutely no complaints with that.

I also loathed those remotes but bit the bullet and bought the new ones. Am very happy with it and haven’t experienced any of the issues with the old one.

Apple updates the remote in the most recent Apple TV model, and it’s backwards compatible and sold separately.

This $10 replacement GE remote is somehow 500x better. My Apple TV experience was dramatically improved.


Argh. Some of us just hate this traditional controller design. It’s huge but the buttons are small, wiggly, there are too many and it gets dirty as hell. I’d rather use a PlayStation controller as remote, all you needs is two buttons and a directional pad anyway.

The latest version of the Apple remote has ditched the touch pad, and has buttons again.

Your cries have been heard. You want one these:


I tried moving my Apple TV to another room and relying upon "Chromecast with Google TV" on the main set. Not only is the device laggy, but everything just looks worse. It claims to support HDR, 4:2:2, etc, but the end result is that I immediately found the experience far inferior.

Add that the AppleTV has long had sound synchronization, now it has automatic color correction as well.

It's a very nice device. The remote was absolutely trash before -- good god I hate that remote -- but the new one looks significantly improved. And you can connect a controller to it and play a pretty wide variety of fairly decent games if you want, which is an experience that I imagine will improve over time.

It's nearly perfect now that they've fixed the remote, and absolutely the device to beat at the moment.

Most of the "channel" apps are also very nice, the exception being Amazon's clunky Prime Video app. The Plex client is quite good too.

> Most of the "channel" apps are also very nice, the exception being Amazon's clunky Prime Video app.

To be fair, I've not seen any other platform where Prime Video's interface isn't terrible, and that's including Fire-whatevers. Been that way for years. I guess it's working OK for them, since they don't seem inclined to fix it. In particular, they probably regard making it hard to tell whether something's free-with-Prime or pay-per-view until the moment you choose whether to play it, as a feature.

If you want an app that supports Plex/Emby/Jellyfin as well as direct network storage, Infuse is unbeatable in my opinion.

The plex client is rock solid

I bought an Nvidia Shield because the Plex client can switch the display's refresh rate to match the content (no judder for 24p content). Based on [1], it sounds like that should be possible with the Apple TV, too. Can anyone confirm if this works well?

[1] https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208288

I can't confirm with Plex specifically, but I can tell you content matching is an OS-level feature, not specific to apps. It works for the apps I've tried.

Thanks. I'm going to give the Apple TV a shot. If frame rate matching works well in other apps, it will probably be good in Plex, too.

Apple tv has plex?!! I'm getting one!

Basically every streaming device has a Plex app: https://www.plex.tv/apps-devices/

Would use of an Android phone have any cause for frustration with an Apple TV? I'd assume not but I've never used one.

Not really, you lose the remote app on your phone, which is useful to enter passwords, but using the voice dictation to enter a password a character at a time works surprisingly well.

You'd also not have airplay and mirroring. That might be a bigger deal for some, but for me, it's a feature I basically never use.

The YouTube apps on Android and iOS support streaming to the Apple TV YouTube app, which seems to be the bulk of what my guests and I want to actually stream. If you have a local media library, or tend to want to stream your computer screen to your TV for unsupported media/sources (or for plain mirroring), lack of AirPlay might be more important to you.

You won't be able to use your phone as a remote, or to enter passwords, but other than that, there would be no frustration.

You will not be able to mirror your phone screen or cast anything from YouTube or any other cast supported app.

If it’s like the older Apple TV’s no. It comes with its own remote, the only iPhone integration is that your phone becomes an extra remote should the original be lost or broken

It works with a lot of TV remotes, I rarely use the Apple one.

No, Apple TV doesn't require any other Apple devices. It will prompt you for an iCloud account during setup, but you can create a free one or just not have one.

I guess you would not be able to stream your display to the Apple TV, and you would not be able to use your phone for keyboard input, and probably more. Just get an iPhone already!

I've been looking into getting one, but my one hangup is still the lack of audio passthrough support. I have some UHD disks that I've digitized and without passthrough, the Atmos metadata will be lost on playback.

I found this: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT204069

Is there something I'm missing?

Can you watch porn on that? Can you stream random online media? Really curious, I do things on my TV I don't see working in a typical apple eco system

You can AirPlay whatever you'd like from your iOS, iPadOS, or macOS device.

at least Sky in the UK explicitly block you from using airplay when the app is running. They detect airplay in use and overlay a gray box on the content. I’ve seen no work around for this and suspect it’s a sign of things to come for other broadcasters and media houses.

Which do not have porn apps either. But I can over complicate everything by streaming my safari session I guess?

I guess safari supports porn

You can Airplay any video content from the web, or mirror the screen.

So I use another device to browse and the TV only for watching. I get it, sounds annoying just to enjoy some porn

There’s always infuse player and plex, into which you could place whichever pornography your heart desires.

You can install VLC and enter arbitrary stream URLs to watch.

You can also use Plex to access a media server with whatever you want to put on it.

So no porn streaming at all?

Does VLC on Apple TV support all VLC codecs?

Sorry I don't know what you specifically mean by "porn streaming" are you talking about a dedicated app for a specific streaming service?

If so, I highly doubt Apple would allow those on their platform but I've never actually checked. There are semi-sketchy IPTV clients that you can use to watch what seems to be unofficial streaming services, so perhaps those can also be used to watch what you want?

As for VLC, it's open source I encourage you to do your own research as I can't answer your codecs question with confidence.

Well if I watch porn I don't download it and watch it later, but open some place app or website and browse videos on my TV to fap to comfortably from my couch.

To be fair my question is already answered, no porn support. You need a another device to stream from.

Is the Apple TV better than the Nvidia Shield? I bought one of the tubes and that thing is slick as hell.

I have the tube sitting right beside my new Apple TV right now. No comparison to me. Apple TV is smoother, voice input is way ahead, and the Dolby stuff is way better than the Nividia processing

Interesting, thanks!

How does the upscaling on apple tv compare to Nvidia shield's ai upscaling?

It appears to be quite a bit better. I had been considering upgrading my TV while on the NVIDIA, but haven't considered it since moving to the new Apple TV

At least in one user's opinion, it's superior: https://www.reddit.com/r/appletv/comments/ijjgms/apple_tv_4k...

Does it support AI-Upscale?

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