The Apple TV 4K just got its first hardware refresh for the first time since 2017. An entertainment center staple, Apple TV easily connects to your TV to bring Apple’s streamlined UI and a huge selection of apps and games to the living room. More importantly, it’s a surefire way to get the most out of a UHD TV set.
As with its previous iteration, the new Apple TV 4K is an unobtrusive black box that sits silently next to the television. It’s barely noticeable with only a single indicator light to signal it’s working its magic.
One HDMI wire and one power cord is all it takes to get things going, though an ethernet port is built-in because hardwiring can yield better 4K streaming results than WiFi in some networks.
Setup, whether upgrading from a previous Apple TV model or starting fresh, is exceptionally easy but having an iPhone makes it a no-brainer, from signing into an Apple account to using the iPhone’s camera to calibrate HDR settings perfectly.
The ATV4K is also an admirable set-top-box replacement; sign in with a cable subscription and suddenly tons of free streaming apps become available. The native Apple TV app also does an excellent job of keeping track of favorite shows and last episodes watched and it’s always serving up accurate suggestions for content as a result.
While the Apple TV 4K’s UI is about as simple as can be to navigate, it’s even more easily done this time around thanks to the upgraded remote. Touch-sensitive and sporting a new jog wheel that harkens back to the early days of the iPod, the new ATV remote is larger, includes new power and mute buttons for universal remote functions and moves the Siri button to the side, similar to its placement on iPhones.
Whether cycling through Netflix’s catalog or asking Siri for movie suggestions across streaming services, the new remote is an intuitive addition that keeps with the Apple TV’s overall streamlined design.
Packing the A12 Bionic chip inside, this Apple TV 4K doesn’t just make video content look best with UHD, HDR and high frame-rates, it also enables seamless integration of content that’s boosted by connecting it with other Apple devices and services. Add an Apple Watch and Apple’s Fitness app can deliver a huge variety of workouts.
Pair a HomePod Mini and Apple Music springs to life, complete with karaoke options. Connect it to a Macbook or iPad or iPhone and watch the living room TV become the most responsive AirPlay second screen yet. Introduce a Playstation or Xbox remote and the Apple TV 4K doubles as a console. The versatility of the hardware and variety of the content available on it is extraordinary and blows away any new TVs native user interface.
Starting at $179 for the base model (bump that to $199 to double the HDD to 64GB) the new Apple TV 4K is available for pre-order now and will hit stores on Friday, May 21st.
If there’s a 4K TV set that needs to be pushed to the limits of what it can do, the new Apple TV is going to squeeze every bit of performance out of it.