Last month, Apple executives spent more than a half hour on stage talking about the new Apple TV.
They talked about how the small black box, which plugs into your TV to and allows you to stream movies, music, TV shows, and more, from the internet to your TV, is powered by a new operating system called tvOS.
They demonstrated how Siri, Apple’s virtual personal assistant, plays an integral role in the Apple TV. And they showed off how you can use the new remote control, which has a touchpad and sensors built into it, as a gamepad.
But they left out one of the best features of the new device — the ability to watch a movie or TV show, or play video games, without disturbing other people around you.
The new Apple TV, which finally went on sale in Apple Stores on Friday ($US149 for the 32-gigabyte model, $US199 for the 64-gigabyte model), allows you to connect wireless headphones to it via Bluetooth. So instead of hearing the sound from whatever movie or TV show you’re watching, or whatever game you’re playing, from the TV’s speakers, you’ll hear it in the headphones.
The Roku 3 and 4, the two higher-end streaming boxes from Roku, have headphone jacks on their remote controls, which allow you to watch privately. I have the Roku 3 and use this feature all the time — it’s great if you live in a small apartment with another person, like I do, and one has to work while the other wants to watch something on Netflix.
I wrote last month that it was because of this feature that the remote on the Roku 3 and 4 had a key advantage over the new Apple TV’s remote.
Yes, you can’t use any pair of regular old headphones with the new Apple TV — they have to pair wirelessly via Bluetooth. But it still seems like a great feature.
We haven’t had a chance to try how well it works on the new device, but when we do, we’ll be sure to share our impressions.
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