Installed today’s update for my 2019 LG TV. It now supports both AirPlay and HomeKIt. Don’t have to fudge around with Logitech Harmony Remote any more. After a brief look it’s not a replacement for an Apple TV. So far best use is when I loose the TV remote down the back of the lounge yet again I ask Siri to turn TV on/off
Our old TV died a couple of weeks ago so it was updated to a 2019 Samsung with built in AirPlay 2 and the Apple TV stuff which as you say is not an Apple TV replacement, but rather a way to play your Apple purchases directly. Samsung uses Bixby, although it will work with Google Assistant (which is what I use)… that said I haven’t set any of that up.
I picked up an AppleTV 4K when I bought the TV to replace the Apple TV 4 (non 4K), as expected it really is more of the same… but in 4K. The Apple TV 4K probably wasn’t really needed since the TV has an App eco system supporting the handful of apps I want (YouTube, Netflix, Stan, Amazon and Plex) and I have to say they actually work very well. They are responsive and are almost identical to their TVOS versions (and lets not even talk about 4K Youtube not working on the ATV at all anyway). At this stage all the AirPlay stuff is disabled on the TV and handled through the ATV, which is the device that is used 99% of the time.
I am still in a Logitech Harmony world, although even that maybe isn’t required into the future since CEC actually seems to work pretty well across the Pioneer receiver. So if I stopped using the ATV I would only have to switch inputs for the Xbox and Switch and if CEC works as it should that would be largely automated anyway. Worst case I could run some more cables through the wall and plug directly to the TV and use ARC for audio back to the receiver.
Of course I need to account for the WAF (Wife Acceptance Factor), she and the kids (who have never know a world with a Harmony remote) are very well trained on how it all works at the moment, so not changing things is probably in my best interest, but if the remote were to fail I think I would at least attempt to get it working with the Samsung remote before re-investing in another Harmony.
Bottom line, AirPlay 2 and Apple’s TV app are nice to haves built in to new TV’s to allow easier access to Apple content and the ability to stream stuff from your iOS devices directly, but beyond that I don’t feel like it really offers too much. With the advent of ‘better’ smart TV’s which are getting prettier and easier to use even the ATV itself doesn’t feel like as good as investment as it used to be.
(to be fair, this is a high(er) end TV, maybe the cheaper smart TVs are crappy to use making the ATV a really solid investment).
I have taken the view (though I may be wrong) that it is better to buy a TV that has a great display, but not the high end models with all the smarts. Use a smart box, such as an Apple TV, to provide the smarts.
The quality of apps on smart tvs is often poor. Support for the apps seems limited and it times out within a few years. Updates are infrequent, if at all. However, if the smart box, its support, or its updating are not up to scratch, then it is cheaper to replace than replacing a smart TV.
Our Apple TV 4 directly supports all the streaming and catch-up services we want, except Foxtel Now. (We stream that via Airplay or ChromeCast to the Apple TV.) The general app quality is high.
I told myself that next time around I was just buying a display after never using any of the smart functions in the last TV for pretty much all the reasons you mention.
The reality is that everything is “smart” these days so you don’t get much of a choice and the apps are actually pretty decent (for now). I suspect the market for non smart TV’s is so small and the economies of scale mean you get the smarts for “free” anyway.
Many of the “features” of my new TV aren’t turned on and I only use the Apple TV, the easiest solution is just to unplug the ethernet cable and never connect it to WiFi… no more smart at all (just like the old one :P).
Keeping the TV off the network with no Ethernet or WiFi connection could be a good idea. The network security and privacy of some smart TVs have been the subject of much criticism.
I have a 2018 LG and have been very impressed with its built in Apps.
Netflix, Stan, Al Jazeera (free streaming), SBS all work like a dream. Netflix 4K looks fab on my OLED TV!
Also have the 4K ATV which I use only for iTunes purchased stuff, and airplay from the iPad (which is rare now as everything is built in).
I have a new Samsung QLED and the latest update has this as well. Interesting. I still use the AppleTV for home sharing home videos.