Movie Reviews Make All The Difference For Apple TV

I fondly remember the days I would head down to the local Blockbuster to rent a few movies. Those days are clearly over, I eventually just started buying movies on demand from Comcast.

I’ve learned over time, though, to keep my laptop or phone handy while picking out those movies. Comcast gives a little bit of information about the movies, but nothing from users or professional critics. Since they occasionally push sub par stuff onto their lists, presumably because they’re being paid to promote it, it’s worth it to check it out on IMDB, Rotten Tomatoes or Metacritic.

Not only do I dodge a full bullets, but a good third of the time I just get preoccupied browsing the Internet and I never bother downloading a movie.

Now, I just use Apple TV. I didn’t get around to buying one until late last year, and I only bought it so that I could mirror my iPad on my TV through AirPlay (so that I could look up movie reviews, lol). Long story short, I realized yesterday that I’m now using Apple TV for 90% of my TV time, switching to cable for the occasional look at the news.

And I’ve done that almost entirely because Apple has Rotten Tomatoes reviews available to view when you want to rent a movie.

It’s such a small thing, but it makes it worth the slightly higher wait times for download and the slightly higher price they charge over Comcast. It’s details like that, that make products great and able to compete on more than price.

Of course, sometimes you have to be your own man. I’m watching The Rum Diary no matter what Rotten Tomatoes says about it.

15 thoughts on “Movie Reviews Make All The Difference For Apple TV

  1. Max Woolf says:

    This article is Fresh.

  2. Seth Teicher says:

    Ratings are surprisingly satisfying, I must agree. Especially something that has the duality of critics and viewers. I haven’t tried out Apple TV but do agree that Comcasts willingness to promote subpar films and lack of objective ratings make it way less desirable (for more reasons than one). Thanks for the post. Definitely considering an Apple TV now!

  3. djmatus23 says:

    Yeah, I did the same, but only got about 20-25 mins in before giving up…what a disappointment…I think I followed it up with Bill Murray’s less woeful attempt Where The Buffaloes Roam! 🙂

  4. I want Red Box to do this too. I always have IMDB open on my phone when I got a Red Box. I’ve always assumed they don’t have them readily available because then most people wouldn’t rent bad movies (as defined by IMDB or Rotten Tomatoes or whomever), but it seems like Apple doesn’t care about that. I wonder what the business results have been for a) the producers of the bad movies, b) the producers of the good movies, and c) for Apple?

  5. Stephen Wang says:

    I’m glad that your home movie viewing experience is improved, Michael. As a former Chief Tomato, we never intended the rating to be the end-all for people’s decision-making. A 50% rating doesn’t mean it’s half as good as the 100% Tomatometer “Toy Story 2”, just that our panel of film critics aren’t as confident that people will enjoy watching the film. In the long run, it’s works best if it helps you discover little known gems and gets you thinking more critically about the movies and reading the reviews after watching the movie in order to broaden your “film consumption” experience. Thanks for the plug!

  6. I would highly suggest using Hunch Movies for movie recommendations on iTunes, Amazon, Netflix etc. Makes life a ton easier and a lot more awesome:

  7. Hey Mike, you haven’t seen anything yet. Once you install XBMC on your Apple TV, the possibilities are endless. Have a look at it, seriously, it will rock your TV world

  8. Brooks says:

    Cable for Local News? Just pick up the NBC News podcast – available on demand without recording and without ads.. works great on apple and Google TV devices!

  9. 100% on this one. This is why i always have my iMDB app next to me when i browse for movie options. There is one place i wish it was available (or at least ratings should be available offline on the IMDB app) > planes. 1/10 movies airline companies offer you are good. but you never know which.

    Imdb/metacritic rating should be an API any movie broadcaster uses.

  10. It’s only the beginning of innovation in movie discovery happening on TVs. Google is working on their own video recommendation platform for Google TV, most of the VODs are investing big money in discovery solutions to make the user experience smother and to increase viewership.

    In my opinion, mood-based recommendations is the future of video discovery. And I mean not only simple filtering by mood but stuff that companies like Jinni ( or our Filmaster ( are doing in the TV space.

    MIP TV / MIPCube that is happening in Cannes in April will be probably the place where a lot of innovation in this space will be unveiled, too.

  11. Mike, we’ve got an AppleTV hooked up to every TV in our house and an old laptop with a 3TB USB hard drive attached to it running iTunes. Having Netflix and the ability to rent movies is great but we’ve got a huge collection of old DVDs from the past two decades. Rip them with Handbrake/VLC and drop them on the old laptop and you’ve got instant access to every DVD you’ve ever owned (er, at least the ones you care to rip) throughout the house. Pause it in one room and go back to the menu and you can resume playing right were you left off in another room. It’s a really easy, seamless system. I’ve considered hacking the boxes but honestly, they’ve come so far over the years that I just haven’t bothered. Short of Hulu+ integration, they do everything I want. And I can get Hulu+ via my iPad using AirPlay, although that’s a bit of a hack.

    Here’s a great AppleTV (or similar device) tip, too: If you’ve mounted a flat panel on the wall, you can usually get those big black zip ties and attach your device right below and in the center the TV using the mounting points that were left when you removed the stand. Just put the original screws designed to retain the base back into the TV and you’ve got a place to connect the zip ties. It’s a super clean installation and works great.

  12. Cameron Mullen says:

    DirecTV has also started to post Rotten Tomatoes ratings on its movies. Pretty nice feature (and surprising) from a traditional TV provider

  13. Charles Como says:

    Adding RottenTomatoes was one of the smartest and most useful things Aaple did to Apple TV.

  14. Kevin Taylor says:

    Not always trustworthy tho. Just rented The Machine base on an +82% tomato rating. Unfortunately I didn’t check the customer reviews before renting it. Ends up being extremely boring with a dull storyline and only passable acting. Very low budget…. one of those movies where they stand around in a room and talk for most of the movie.
    Won’t trust “Tomato” ratings again.

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