The last time the Apple TV got an update was all the way back in 2017. Now, there’s a brand-new model that’s faster and can display higher quality video. But the best part? The redesigned remote control!
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Let’s start with the Apple TV 4K device itself. It looks nearly identical to the last model, but inside there’s a new processor that enables smoother 4K for things like action and sports. The technical term is 4K 60 FPS, or frames per second. I’m sure it’s better, but the only app I was able to test it on is the Red Bull App. I didn’t notice a huge difference in picture quality. Apple says there are more apps to come to support this level of picture quality.
One neat feature is the ability to calibrate on-screen colors without heading into the TV settings. You just hold an iPhone up to the TV screen and the Apple TV will adjust its output of things like color and contrast. However, if you have a TV set with Dolby Vision, this sort of color tuning is done by default and can’t be changed.
Also, the Color Calibration feature works on previous recent model Apple TVs through a software update.
So back to that awesome upgrade: the new Siri remote. It now feels much more substantial than before and there are now dedicated buttons for power and mute. You can finally ditch your TV remote control and perhaps your audio receiver remote too.
When I connected the new Apple TV, the remote just worked to control my TV and volume through Sonos, without any special programming. Your mileage may vary.
Also new on the remote is a combination click and touch area. You can navigate on-screen using swipes or actual up-down left-right buttons. It’s a way better experience than the previous touch pad area on the old remote.
There’s also a new jog control feature that lets you find the exact moment you’re looking for in a TV show or movie with more precision. Just pause the video, tap one of the dots on the jog wheel, then rotate your finger on the outer circle. It reminds me of my old-school video editing tools.
There are a lot of streaming options out there, and you probably already have a few of them in your house. Apple TV is expensive, but I love how its screens aren’t cluttered with ads. There’s also a wide selection of high-quality apps available. It sells for a premium $180, which not everyone is willing to pay when Amazon, Google and Roku sell streaming sticks for under $50.
I understand that, but the Apple TV is its own thing, and a major complement to the Apple ecosystem. It gives you access to Apple Fitness+ on your TV screen and Apple Arcade. There’s also slick integration with the iPhone for things like a keyboard that pops up whenever there’s a box to type in something on the screen.
Apple TV 4K is a fantastic streaming box that will provide many more years of streaming entertainment in the living room. It’s not the cheapest way to be entertained, but it’s certainly one of the best solutions out there for iPhone users.
Also, keep in mind, you can purchase the Siri remote independently of the new box. It will work with the previous-gen Apple TV 4k and the Apple TV HD. It’s $60 on its own.
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