10 Apple TV accessories to consider when buying Apple's new streaming box
New Apple TV Accessories
The new Apple TV is almost here. Shipments for the highly anticipated streaming box go out on October 30 from Apple stores, and will arrive in big box retailers as early as November 2.
With all the hype around Apple's new-and-improved plastic, however, the small details have been lost in the shuffle.
We know that the new Apple TV has a new remote with a built-in microphone, Siri support and the sensors needed for motion-controlled gaming, but did you know that there seriously is a $14.99 (£11/AU$19) remote loop that goes along with it?
We know that it's going to cost ($149 and $199 pricing for the 32GB and 64GB versions in the US respectively, £129 and £169 in the UK, while in Australia the cost is AU$269 and AU$349 for the different versions), but not a single person I've talked to knows that it won't come with an HDMI cable.
That's where our guide to the new Apple TV accessories come in. Each one can either protect your gear to stream on for another day or vastly improve your experience with Apple's new plastic box of the future.
Here's everything you're going to need - or at least want to consider - on Day 1.
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1. An MFI wireless game controller
Apple is taking gaming seriously on its new streaming system. It wants its users to partake in games in a new way now that the Apple TV's operating system is open to third-party developers.
You can expect dozens of games to come out in the next week, and while they might be playable with the standard new Apple TV remote, they'll be even better with an MFI controller.
The two Apple-approved controllers heading into the new Apple TV's launch are the Xbox One-esque SteelSeries Nimbus Wireless Gaming Controller (US/UK/AU) and pocket-sized SteelSeries Stratus Wireless Gaming Controller (US/UK/AU).
2. Remote Loop
But, while we're on the subject of games and the new Apple TV remote, let's spend a minute talking about the slightly over-priced Remote Loop Apple is selling.
The Remote Loop does exactly what you'd expect: It attaches to the bottom of the remote and loops around you or, more likely, your child's wrist.
We've all heard plenty of stories about the Wiimote going through someone's TV during a particularly intense match of Wii Sports, so there is some practicality in investing in a loop. What makes this one a tough sell, though, is its $14.99 (£11/AU$19) price point. (US/UK/AU)
3. Remote Sleeve
OK, the new Apple TV might be a little more than you wanted to spend on a new streaming system. (Especially when you consider the Chromecast 2 only costs $35/£30/AU$49.)
What's the main culprit behind the premium plastic? The new remote.
Alone, the Siri Remote sells on Apple's website for $79 (£65/AU$129). That's approximately half the cost of a brand new box.
Should you feel like your new pad might experience some turbulence in the near future due to pint-sized humans, animals or destructive party guests, consider picking up a rubberized remote sleeve. (Our pick is the Survivor Play Case by Griffin.)
4. An HDMI cable (yes, seriously)
There's no bigger disappointment on a big launch day than getting home after waiting all day to pick up that one item you've been eyeing for months, only to open it up and see that it's missing something as basic as an HDMI cable.
Don't let yourself fall victim to this when you get your new Apple TV.
Units are being shipped and sold without an HDMI cable, which means you'll have to buy a cord if you don't have one lying around. Cheap options include the AmazonBasics HDMI cable from the eponymous etailer or Dynex HDMI cable from Best Buy.
5. A remote stand
Keeping in mind how much an extra Siri Remote will cost you, it might not be a bad idea to consider a remote stand to keep your key to the entertainment kingdom from falling between the cushions.
The Siri Remote stands I've seen so far come in two flavors: standard and charging. The former might blend in a bit more with your home decor (check out this walnut stand for the Siri Remote) while the latter is good for keeping the remote juiced up between binge-watching sessions.
If you're leaning towards the latter, check out Twelve South's HiRise for iPhone & iPad, which accomplishes the function of a charger with the form anyone can appreciate.
6. Bluetooth Keyboard
I've heard differing reports on this but, as far as I can tell from the specs, standard Bluetooth will in fact be supported on the new Apple TV. Which means, unless you have some sort of aversion to typing faster or enjoy the methodically slow pace of entering each letter individually, you'll be able connect a standard Bluetooth keyboard to the Apple TV.
Some good recommendations for wireless keyboards are anyone of Logitech's K-series of keyboards (especially consider the K810) or, if you're looking to stay within the family, Apple's Magic Keyboard (US/UK/AU).
7. Guitar Hero Live
Don't call it a comeback, but it looks like Guitar Hero has come out of its five-year hiatus to release a new game, and a new peripheral, to rally the legion of music-loving gamers once more.
The iOS version of Guitar Hero Live hit the app store earlier this week (as well as PS4 and Xbox One), meaning it should be available on Apple TV on Day 1 soon after you pull your system out of the box.
If you've played previous entries you'll notice that the frets look a little different this time around, and while it might take a few riffs to adjust to two rows of buttons, you'll be rocking out like the old days faster than you can say ZZ Top. (US/UK/AU)
8. Skylanders Superchargers
If you have a little one running around at home and you don't mind sharing the screen with them, consider picking up the Skylanders Superchargers starter kit. (US/UK/AU) In more or less words the game resembles old PlayStation-era platformers like Crash Bandicoot or Spyro the Dragon. Your pint-sized human being will be tasked to save villagers and stop the impending enslavement of all of Skyland. (Get used to the word, as you will hear "Skylander" or one of its variations close to two dozen times in the first hour of the game.)
Instead of one eponymous hero like Crash or Spyro, however, Skylanders has a dozen-or-so characters to choose from and are sold as small miniatures that store save data and experience you collect over the course of the game. Part Pokemon, part platformer, Skylanders is a solid introduction into video games and easily one of the best games overall on the new Apple TV.
9. A subscription to Netflix
The plethora of new games and apps could easily entertain you for a few days but, at some point, you'll eventually want your new video streaming device to … you know, stream video.
And when you do you'll probably want to have a subscription to Netflix - the best and brightest video streaming service on the planet.
Netflix offers tons of TV shows and movies, as well as some award-winning original programming, all for $7.99 (£6.99/AU$8.99).
10. Apple Music subscription
This pick is a bit of a preemptive one. We know that Siri on the new Apple TV doesn't quite know as much about music as she does about movies but, according to a new report, she will by early 2016.
When the software update comes in a few months you'll be able to ask Siri to play songs on Apple Music, find similar artists and essentially have her DJ for you while you kick back and relax.
While that update is still TBD, you can always use an Apple Music subscription on any one of your iDevices or using your remote (a.k.a. the old fashioned way) in the new Apple TV's iTunes app.