What is Apple TV 4K?
The Apple TV 4K is a high-quality streaming box that lets you watch shows from your favorite streaming services in 4K definition, and it was upgraded in 2021. With so many other streaming devices and smart TVs on the market, you might be wondering if the new Apple TV 4K is worth it.
Although it costs a bit more than your average streaming device, its range of features is well worth it for some buyers. However, others are content to stream directly from their smart TVs or use a cheaper streaming box.
What can you stream to an Apple TV 4K?
Apple TV 4K lets you download all the major streaming apps and a range of less popular apps. Of course, Apple TV + is on the menu, but you’ll also be able to stream shows from favorites like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, and more. These services all come with a monthly subscription. You can find free streaming apps, such as Tubi, that require users to watch ads to access shows for free.
This is all relatively standard, but what sets Apple TV 4K in the streaming service stakes is the detailed genre searches that make it much easier to find shows that you will find interesting. For example, you can search for “1990s teen dramas” or “indie horror movies” and then narrow your results by asking to see only the most popular or only those on Hulu.
How much does the new Apple TV 4K cost?
The 32GB Apple TV 4K costs $ 179. As the name suggests, it comes with 32GB of built-in storage, which is enough for most users. Alternatively, the Apple TV 4K 64GB costs $ 199 and is ideal for those who are likely to download a lot of apps. Since there’s only a $ 20 price difference between the two models, it’s worth investing in the extra storage if you’re unsure how much you’ll need.
Apple TV 4K Considerations
The new Apple TV 4K contains the A12 Bionic chip, while the old model included the AX10. This new chip is significantly faster, which translates into smoother scrolling, faster load times, and more seamless use of larger, more power-hungry apps.
In addition to 4K resolution, the new Apple TV 4K boasts impressive high dynamic range. It can play HDR footage at a speed of up to 60 frames per second, whereas the older model could only handle 30 FPS. However, the point is, most TV shows and movies are only shot at a speed of 30 FPS, so an extra 30 won’t make a difference. This feature shines when watching sports as the faster frame rate limits motion blur even when balls and players are moving extremely fast.
The old Apple TV 4K featured a remote with an overly sensitive touchpad that many found difficult to use. Fortunately, the new Siri remote that came with the latest model is much easier to use. It has a touchpad that can slide or click. If you prefer to click, you can turn off the touch swipe option. It has a Siri button when you want to operate your TV using voice commands.
You can use your Apple TV 4K as a HomeKit smart home hub to operate a range of smart home devices. It incorporates Thread technology, making it easier for you to use smart devices from various manufacturers.
If you want to watch TV late at night or early in the morning without disturbing the rest of your household, you can use the built-in Bluetooth to connect wireless headphones. You can even pair two sets of AirPods simultaneously if you want to watch with another person.
Apple TV 4K is equipped with AirPlay 2, which allows you to send media from other compatible devices to your TV or use screen mirroring from your iPhone, iPad, or Apple computer.
Enter the password by voice
It might seem like a minor feature, but don’t underestimate the convenience of being able to use your voice to enter passwords. Entering passwords using a TV remote control can be tricky and time consuming. Voice typing makes this a lot less painful.
Alternatives to Apple TV 4K
The new Apple TV 4K is the perfect streaming device for some buyers, but there are better options out there. For example, if you don’t have a 4K TV, a 4K streaming device is not necessary. In this case, the Apple TV HD might be a better option. It has many of the same features as the 4K model, but with a lower 1080p HD resolution.
The Google Chromecast is another great option for people who don’t need 4K resolution. The very affordable price makes it a desirable choice.
Budget buyers who still want 4K resolution may prefer Amazon Firestick 4K. It lacks some of the Apple TV 4K’s most impressive features, such as the ability to use it as a home hub, but it’s great for the price.
Is the new Apple TV 4K worth it?
If you’re looking for a new streaming box and are willing to pay extra for speed and quality, we think the new Apple TV 4K is worth it. While its features don’t seem revolutionary individually, the combination of all of them in one device provides a superior viewing experience that is worth the price.
If you’re looking to upgrade the older Apple TV 4K, there isn’t a big enough difference to make it worth it for most buyers, unless you’re watching tons of sports and wanted a smoother image. The new Siri Remote is available separately directly from Apple, so if remote control is your main frustration with your old Apple TV 4K, it’s cheaper to buy a new remote.
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Lauren Corona written for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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