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The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel has created the first truly interactive app for Apple TV. While, technically speaking, all channels on Apple TV are apps, they are all media players. The Weather Channel presents dynamic information based on user input.
Much like their website and mobile apps, users enter locations and can view current, hourly, 10-day, and video forecasts. One can set a home location, which is the default view. Users can add many locations, switching between them using the menu.
This app is very useful. The presentation is tidy and concise. As Apple TV evolves, I reach for my iPad less often. Now, after I have watched my morning news Podcasts (or Sky News on Apple TV), I get the weather forecast directly on Apple TV. It’s very convenient.
The video forecasts are only specific if you live in a large, urban area. For those located in smaller towns, the general video forecast is presented. The range of content is impressive — even international locations have full weather data. The Apple TV app is simply a client, pulling data from a central database, so you get the same content as the website or mobile app.
The absence of real-time maps is one limitation that will hopefully be remedied. Doppler radar is critical to figuring out where it’s raining. Their website has a future forecast map that predict and visualize where it will be raining in upcoming hours. This is great if you are planning outdoor activities and don’t want to get soaked!
As with their website, the Weather Channel Apple TV app does experience network issues. In just two days of usages, I’ve already received error messages that the Weather Channel is unavailable. I find this consistent with their website. Their backend seems to have problems and can’t cope with surges. It works well most of the time. If you experience a network glitch, try again in a few moments.
The Weather Channel features video clips and full-length programs, in addition to the weather data. Videos include updated forecasts and news, as well as documentaries about weather.
The Smithsonian Channel adds free non-fiction video content to Apple TV. The channel features science, nature, and history documentaries. Short clips comprise most of the content, with a small selection of full-length videos.
The channel doesn’t offer many of the features available to most Apple TV channels. There’s no search or menu options. The main screen with a grid of video icons is all you get. When you finish watching a clip, a new one is loaded. One can watch the Smithsonian Channel much like a standard TV channel. Just start one clip, and it will play continuously. (continue…)