Apple TV 4K finally arrived in 2017 after four previous generations of the company’s signature streaming product. The previous editions of Apple TV did not have UHD and 4K capabilities, though. Moreover, the current 5th generation has been incredibly popular for two years due to its new features and improvements over the previous models.
At the focus of this is the price, which ranges from $179–$199. It’s about as cheap as you can get for an Apple product. It’s surely a remarkable cost for a new Apple product that doesn’t sacrifice quality or functionality in any way.
So should you consider investing in Apple TV 4K in 2019? Will there be a new 6th generation release this year and what should you expect from it? Our Apple TV 4K Review will answer your questions and more!
Apple TV 4K Details
On top of the premium streaming quality for TV shows and movies, this product offers many other attractive features. Some will impress most Apple fans or others who are in the market for an easy to use, high-definition TV streamer.
In fact, the streamer is among the rare Apple products which are accessible to all users and not just die-hard fans.
The defining features of Apple’s streaming box are its HDR and 4K capabilities. However, the unit also offers a customizable and intuitive interface, easy navigation and setup, a neat remote, integration with the Apple ecosystem, and cross-service Siri control. Of course, it comes with Apple’s masterful and compact design. It has a classy yet unobtrusive look that will suit your home.
What Is Apple TV 4K?
The set-top Apple TV black box comes in two variants with 32GB and 64GB of included flash memory. The models are priced $179 and $199, as mentioned.
While the set is slightly pricier compared to other streamers, the retail price is quite a steal considering it’s a top-notch Apple product. And if you’re mostly looking for streaming services, the 32GB is perfectly sufficient. Conversely, those who are looking to download a lot of content and apps will be more satisfied with the 64GB version.
At the basis of Apple TV 4K is 2160p 4K resolution. Plus, there is an A10X Fusion (64-bit) processor that offers superb graphics. The processor chip is also used in some iPhones. Plus, the product features Dolby Vision and HDR 10, so you should expect nothing less than crystal clear picture quality. In addition to its streaming capabilities, the box is also an app platform with gaming capabilities and the ability to play various digital media.
Additionally, its superb graphics are boosted by Dolby Atmos which provides an immersive audio experience and up to 7.1.4 channels. Another crucial feature of Apple TV 4K is that it provides streaming from most of the major platforms. Some of them are Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and HBO NOW. What’s more, on-demand services like YouTube TV and DirecTV Now are available.
The box will require an HD 4K TV. To get HD streaming, you’ll need an HDMI cable or a Dolby Vision HDMI compatible cable for 4K streaming. Of course, the streaming services require wireless or wired internet.
Included with the product are the power cable, Siri remote, the streaming box, and the white Lightning cable. The Siri remote is touch-sensitive, but iPad and iPhone users can also control the box with their devices.
Additionally, the Wi-Fi capabilities are 802.11ac (MIMO), ensuring an incredibly speedy connection. However, you will need a connection with at least 25 Mbps, which is a bit stronger than an average home speed.
When the newest Apple TV was launched, its 4K content iTunes offers weren’t up to par. However, that has been resolved after two years. iTunes is packed with 4K movies now, and 4K HDR is available for most of the major streaming apps like Netflix.
Furthermore, another thing that stands out is Apple’s pricing compared to competitors. Namely, while some services charge up to $20 for one 4K movie, Apple’s costs are incredibly accessible.
Some 4K movies and the newest blockbusters range between $5 and $15. Plus, the company has come up with a clever solution to help its customers with constantly improving video quality. Namely, if you’ve already paid for an HD movie, iTunes will upgrade it to 4K automatically without an additional charge. And, the format you purchase will be available across all of Apple’s devices.
Interestingly, a bonus feature that many users have complimented are the incredible Apple TV screensavers. They show ultra high-def aerial views of cities and nature that will beautifully enrich your home.
And since users are not restricted only to the iTunes store, there are many choices regarding other streaming apps. Some network-based apps are HBO, CBS, ABC, Fox, Starz, etc. Other popular apps are Spotify, Crackle, Pandora, Hulu, and more.
While the vivid and crystal clear graphics aim to provide the best cinematic experience available, Apple TV 4K will also allow you to watch live sports and play games. Essentially, the box also acts as a game console with various titles like Manticore Rising and Asphalt 8. Granted, while these types of games are entertaining, they cannot compare to those created for today’s state-of-the-art gaming platforms and PCs. Nevertheless, there is a variety of shooters, racing games, puzzle games, and more. They will help you relax without the need to purchase additional gaming consoles.
Of course, 4K video quality is fairly self-explanatory — it’s the highest quality video format out there today. Visually intense movies like Aquaman looked absolutely gorgeous when we tested them.
Overall, the results were surprising, with a perfect balance of vivid colors, especially considering the magical atmosphere of Aquaman and an intense range of blue and gold colors. And, the box gave us a very fast performance during complex CGI scenes with above-average audio.
However, the HDR takes a couple moments to load with an average internet connection while 1080p HD is slightly faster. One thing that some users have noted is that the upscaling from SD doesn’t always work the best. However, that should be expected with older formats and lower quality video.
Another defining feature of Apple TV 4K are its interface options and Siri remote. As with most Apple products, the navigation options are some of the cleanest around.
The menus are also in 4K, and the home screen looks incredible. It includes simple and movable icons which you can easily drag and drop to eliminate clutter and customize your smart home screen. What’s more, apps can be placed in specific folders, similar to those on iOS devices, which further adds to the convenience. The App Store requires some improvements which have been talked about for many years, though. For example, the splitting of music, TV shows, and movies into separate apps could bother some users. However, it’s not an enormous problem.
When it comes to the remote, it includes a touchpad, unlike other streamers which use arrow buttons. It takes some time to get used to this, but it makes up for it with Siri which, when you press a button enables convenient voice search that could allow you to look up anything from music, movies, apps, and streaming channels. One of the complaints regarding the Siri functions is that some apps could take longer to find.
Apple has revealed plans to release Apple TV+, a premium streaming service featuring shows and movies this fall. With this announcement, many were left to speculate whether a new device will also be launched to replace the 5th generation Apple TV 4K. It makes sense that the company would roll out the new product with the release of Apple TV+, especially considering the fact that the 5th generation product has been available for around two years.
So should you wait for an upcoming release or get the current Apple TV 4K product?
What to Expect
Some Apple fans and tech portals have noted that it would be good to see a decrease in price due to some cheaper products from competitors like the Amazon Fire TV. Others predict that the box could be sized down or that it could even come in the form of a USB stick that users can simply connect to a TV. Most importantly, we would like to see a spec change which would update the device to today’s standards.
The 6th generation could contain a newer processor, better Bluetooth integration, HomePod optimization, and a better remote.
Back in 2017 with the release of the 5th gen product, a lot of users were expecting to get more storage options, but to no avail. The upcoming box could benefit from larger storage space of let’s say 128GB or even 256GB.
Unfortunately, Apple’s biggest problem regarding the new release concerns the market. And the reason for that is that most new 4K TVs already include integrated software for streaming apps. For example, Samsung has revealed plans to integrate the iTunes app in some of their new TVs. Those TV apps could sort of make this product obsolete. Nevertheless, for those who already own a 4K TV and do not wish to upgrade it, the 4th Gen Apple TV 4K will be perfect for 4K HDR content. But with new TVs, the product will suit those who wish to have one Apple device to control all streaming activities and get access to games, apps, iTunes content and more.
Apple TV 4K is now an older product that still holds its own if you wish to stream 4k. Its streaming quality is absolutely stunning, and it includes an intuitive, easily customizable interface along with many options regarding apps. It’s one of if not the best 4K premium streaming devices. For a genuine Apple product that integrates neatly with iPhones, iPads and Macs, the price is incredibly affordable. And while some streamers may be cheaper, Apple is very generous with the cost of movies and free movie quality upgrades.
Plus, the streamer’s voice control capabilities are quite neat. The box will not take up too much room in your home, but it could be slightly smaller. With the anticipated new release of the 6th gen set, some of the features we mentioned could undergo an overhaul of sorts.
For now, if you’re in the market for a top-notch premium streamer, you should certainly consider the 5th gen Apple TV 4K. But if you’re in the market for the latest 4K TV, it would be best to wait until the 6th gen rolls out.
Overall, the current Apple TV 4K is among the most innovative Apple products in recent years, and it is definitely worth taking a look at for an immersive 4K experience!