A new box for the next generation of video.
The Apple TV 4K revamps the company’s streaming media device and TV portal to all your iTunes content. Along with new and updated streaming video options, the upgraded box brings 4K-resolution and high dynamic range video to the biggest screens in your home.
Last fully updated in 2015, the fourth-gen Apple TV lagged behind its major streaming competitors on hardware and price, despite software updates and attractive features like Siri voice search, the ability to go directly to a live channel inside supported live TV apps and one of best remotes on the market.
With Apple investing up to $1 billion in original content, though, it was high time for some fresh hardware. The upgraded box will sell for $179 with 32GB of memory or 6GB for $199 (approximately £140 and £155 or AU$225 and AU$250), and adds compatibility with 4K as well as HDR 10 and Dolby Vision HDR video. That means the new box will deliver the best 3,820×2,160-pixel resolution and — more importantly — the improved color palettes and contrast ratios of high dynamic range (HDR) video when connected to compatible TVs.
Of course, if you don’t have a 4K HDR TV or plans to get one very soon, you can save your money and stick with the fourth-gen Apple TV, still available for $149, £139 or AU$239 with 32GB of storage. While you can get that model now, you’ll have to wait until September 15 to order the 4K model and will ship on September 22.
Under the hood
Rumors of the new box running on a A10X Fusion processor (the same used in the iPad Pro) turned out to be correct. That makes it twice as fast as the fourth-gen Apple TV and with four times the graphics performance, according to Apple. The updated components promise to not only keep performance zippy with the higher-resolution interface and content, but will enable a better experience for casual gaming.
The Apple TV 4K will also have a built-in 4K video scaler to improve the look of HD content so that it looks better on a 4K-resolution TV. Apple also said it will output at the highest resolution possible for your TV and automatically detect your 4K TV’s capabilities to tweak your setup for the best experience.
What to watch
As expected Apple announced availability of 4K and HDR-enabled iTunes videos. However, Apple didn’t just announce the availability of them, it is also letting anyone update their HD-resolution collections to 4K for free if available. Pricing for HD and 4K content will be the same, too. You’ll be able to ask Siri to show you 4K HDR movies so you have to work too hard to find stuff to watch.
As for services, Apple said it is working with Netflix and Amazon to bring their 4K offerings to the new box later this year. There was no mention of the recently added Vudu service, however.
Other content updates include the addition of live sports and news. The TV app, which supports more than 60 services now, can be searched by voice for games and scores. If your favorite team is playing, you can simply ask Siri to watch it and if it’s live on ESPN, it will automatically switch and stream. A new dedicated Sports tab lets US users get right to the point and check up on all your favorite teams and leagues.
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