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Apple TV 4K Review
Choosing the right media streaming box for your entertainment setup can feel overwhelming with so many different choices available. Apple provides an option with the Apple TV 4K, but is it the perfect option for your home theatre or living room?
With Apple TV, you can binge your favorite movies, TV, and sports services, including Netflix, Hulu, Max, Disney+, Apple TV+, and ESPN+.
If you’re looking for a bit of interactive fun, Apple TV also offers up a great collection of video games, as well as fitness options for getting in shape without leaving your home.
Let’s take a deep dive into the Apple TV 4K as we review the latest model’s features and capabilities–and address its seemingly hefty price tag.
What video quality does Apple TV 4K offer?
Image Source: Apple
If you’re going to be spending time in front of your Television, you’ll want everything to look great. Apple TV 4K outputs 4K video content, so you’ll have a sharp picture the next time you swing into a video game or rock a blockbuster film.
If you have a television that isn’t 4K, don’t worry, as the Apple TV 4K still works fine with 1080p and 720p HD TVs. As long as your television has an HDMI input, you can plug in Apple TV 4K and enjoy it without issue.
For those seeking the authentic home theater experience, Apple supports Dolby Vision so that compatible televisions can display the most accurate, vivid colors.
If you don’t have a television with Dolby Vision, be sure to check out our guide on how to use your iPhone to calibrate your television’s color for a better viewing experience.
Overall, Apple TV 4K delivers top-tier video quality thanks to its ability to display 4K HDR video with support for Dolby Vision.
If you don’t require 4K support, consider checking out the Apple TV HD, a similar offering from Apple that is limited to a 1080p HD signal and allows you to save a few bucks.
What audio quality does Apple TV 4K offer?
Video quality is only one-half of the movie and television equation for most individuals, so we must talk about the Apple TV 4K’s audio quality. After all, what would a Michael Bay film be if you couldn’t feel the heart-thumping bass?
Apple does an impressive job, supporting Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround-Sound, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 Surround Sound, and Dolby Atmos, a perfect complement to any home theatre or serious movie watcher’s setup.
Whether you are listening to your television’s built-in speakers, an attached soundbar, or a complex Dolby Atmos setup, Apple TV allows you to experience your content with the highest possible quality—it receives flying stars from us.
We would like to take a moment to call out some of the accessibility features that Apple has included with their TV streaming product.
Those who are hard of hearing can take advantage of Closed Caption and SDH Support, as well as Audio Descriptions.
Navigating Apple TV 4K with the Siri remote
Image Source: Apple
Apple has one of the most pleasant user interfaces we have had a chance to use. Thanks to the Apple TV 4K’s built-in high-speed A12 chip, there are no stutters or delays when moving the selector around on-screen.
Additionally, unlike some alternative streaming media boxes from the likes of Roku and Amazon, the Apple TV 4K has no in-menu ads, making it one of the cleanest and unobtrusive experiences we have seen.
While the previous generation of Apple TV included a touch remote that many users found tedious, Apple has included a new remote with its 2021 Apple TVs, making navigating on-screen menus much more enjoyable.
Buttons are tactile, and the directional pad has been redesigned to allow for more straightforward navigation by feel, which is great for when you can’t see the remote in the dark. Previous Apple TV users will also welcome the addition of a Mute button and Power button.
Siri stays present on the Apple TV 4K remote, so you can easily hold down the Siri button, now on the side of the device, and search for content by voice.
As always, the Apple TV remote is built well, crafted from metal, and can be recharged using a Lightning to USB charging cord. A single charge is promised to last for several months before needing to plug back in.
We applaud Apple’s decision to update its remote, and the Cupertino-based company continues to deliver one of the smoothest and clutter-free interfaces we have ever seen.
What can Apple TV 4K do that others can’t?
Image Source: Apple
Let’s talk about the special features that the Apple TV offers that other streaming boxes such as Roku and Amazon Fire TV do not provide–so let’s take a look.
If you fancy yourself a casual gamer, you may enjoy knowing about Apple Arcade; a $4.99/mo. gaming experience available on Apple TV and other Apple devices. Apple Arcade gives you access to over 180+ premium games–everything from NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition to Fantasian, a new game from Hironobu Sakaguchi, the creator of Final Fantasy.
If you’d prefer to get up and move around, Apple TV 4K is also home to Apple’s fitness service known as Apple Fitness+. For $9.99/mo., you can access world-class workouts, everything from HIT to yoga, and use Apple Watch to track your progress.
If you’re an Apple Music subscriber you can also access your entire music library from your Apple TV–want to listen to Taylor Swift? Just ask Siri and your wish is granted.
One of our favorite features with Apple TV is the inclusion of AirPlay, which allows you to share your Mac, iPad, or iPhone’s screen to your television. AirPlay is great for sharing family photos and videos, as well as putting games on the big screen.
Lastly, we can’t forget about HomeKit, Apple’s lineup of smart home devices. If you’re already invested in the HomeKit ecosystem, you can use Apple TV to control it all. If you have a HomeKit compatible video doorbell, a live video feed can even pop up on your television the next time someone is outside.
What apps and games are available?
Image Source: Apple
When it comes to App Stores, we’re aware that Apple knows what they are doing. While the Apple TV App Store isn’t as plentiful as the iOS App Store for iPhone and iPad, there is lots to explore to quell your thirst for content.
- Amazon Prime Video
- Max (formerly HBO Max)
- Movies Anywhere
- Apple Arcade
- Jackbox Party Pack 3
- Alto’s Odyssey
- Sonic the Hedgehog 2
- Infinite Jets
- Under Leaves
- Badlands 2
- Real Racing 3
- Chrono Trigger
*Data as of 5/19/2021. Offers and availability vary by location and are subject to change.
As we mentioned previously, Apple TV 4K gives you access to Apple Arcade, a monthly gaming subscription service. However, you can also opt to purchase games individually, with many being available for no cost.
We love that Apple TV 4K even allows you to wirelessly connect an Xbox or PlayStation controller via Bluetooth so that you can game in comfort.
Is the Apple TV 4K eco-friendly?
Image Source: Apple
We also love to see a product that keeps an eye out for the Earth, and we’re excited to see that Apple is doing its part with the Apple TV 4K.
According to Apple, 100% of the aluminum in the Siri remote enclosure is recycled, as well as 100% of the tin used in the solder of the main logic board. Additionally, 35% or more of the plastics used are recycled.
The Apple TV 4K has also received an ENERGY STAR certification and avoids the use of mercury, BFR, PVC, and beryllium in its manufacturing–great for the environment!
Lastly, Apple is ensuring that all final assembly supplier sites are transitioning to 100% renewable energy, and 100% of the virgin wood fiber used to make the product’s packaging comes from responsibly managed forests.
Apple TV 4K gets a green seal of approval.
How much will Apple TV 4K cost?
Apple TV 4K will cost you $179 for the 32GB model or $199 for the 64GB model.
We will say it right away: Apple TV 4K is not cheap, and if you’re looking for a bargain deal or the best overall value—this isn’t it. Apple TV creates premium devices, but they do so at premium prices.
When choosing between the two models of Apple TV, we recommend most individuals pick up the 32GB model, but those interested in gaming select the 64GB option.
Roku offers a 4K streaming device with similar capabilities to the Roku Ultra for $99. Amazon goes even further by offering a 4K streaming stick compatible with Dolby Vision for $49.99.
Is the Apple TV 4K worth it?
Apple TV offers a stellar experience; likely the best TV streaming box experience you will find on the market, but it comes at a price.
If you are willing to overlook the high price tag, you will get a 4K HDR Dolby Vision compatible media box with support for Dolby 5.1, 7.1, and Atmos audio–but, you can also get that elsewhere for a much cheaper price.
We recommend Apple TV for those who want the best experience on their big-screen television, without ads and bloat, or are already heavily invested in the Apple ecosystem with products such as Apple Arcade, Apple Music, and Apple Fitness+.
Otherwise, yeah, you can probably find a cheaper device elsewhere if your only goal is to binge a few episodes of the latest shows on Netflix.