The New Apple TV 4K With HDR Is Here, Kicks Ass And Starts At $179

by on September 12, 2017

Stephan Jukic – September 12, 2017

So while it was pretty much rock solid common knowledge that the next generation Apple TV revealed today at Apple’s mega event of 2017 would come with 4K and high dynamic range, a few further details about the powerful new set-top streaming boxes specs remained in the dark. Well no more. Apple has finally unveiled the Apple TV 4K and it’s going to start selling as of September 15th for all you particular fans of Apple hardware.

Without a doubt, the new device is a major and welcome improvement over its “newest” predecessor, the 1080p 5th generation model which was never particularly new or cutting edge. In fact, the 1080p Apple TV was pretty much out of date even when first released in late 2015, since by that point a range of competing set-top boxes already existed with 4K support, superior general specs and much better prices as a further bonus. This trend worsened even more in 2016 and 2017 when several rival streaming media devices were released by companies like Roku, Amazon and even Google with not only 4K support but also HDR pass-through for UHD content. All of this while Apple TV stayed HD and SDR-only. This was definitely a case of Apple acting notably outside the bounds of its reputation for being at the forefront of consumer technology.

Apple TV 4K HDR

None of these old problems apply with this new 4K Apple TV release. The new device is a real powerhouse of media support, hardware specs and overall performance. For starters, unlime the majority of rival 4K HDR set-top media boxes, the Apple TV 4K offers support for both HDR10 high dynamic range and the more refined Dolby Vision HDR format that some sources of content are also being formatted in. For owners of 4K HDR televisions such as Sony’s premium models, Vizio’s 4K sets and all of LG’s newer ultra HD models, the inclusion of Dolby Vision will definitely make the Apple TV 4K a winner of a set-top box compared to most existing rivals.

Other specs of the device include a powerful 3GB RAM and the inclusion of Apple’s newest and most robust processing system, the three-core A10X Fusion processor (also found in the company’s latest iPad Pro models).

One further and very interesting specification of the Apple TV 4K is the indication that Apple is stating it only requires bout 15Mbps to stream ultra HD content selections. Presumably these are coming from the native iTunes platform and its soon-to-grow load of 4K HDR titles. Other apps on the Apple TV 4K device such as Netflix generally require at least 20 to 25Mbps for 4K UHD streams to run smoothly. This suggests that Apple has been using some extra compression and formatting tricks to make their own selections of native 4K movies and programs more accessible to a wider range of web-connected 4K TV owners.

Apple TV 4K pricing

Then there are the gaming chops of the new Apple TV device. These include a 4X improvement in graphics rendering performance for streamed games, mainly due to the presence of the above-mentioned A10X Fusion chipset. We’re not talking about a device with the ability to handle HDR gaming in 4K resolution but if you’ve already toyed with gaming in the most recent previous Apple TV model, you’ll notice a positive difference in this new 4K version of the device.

In basic terms, Apple is finally shining in the set-top box niche. The Apple TV at least matches what all existing rival 4K set-top boxes are capable of and in some key ways such as its A10X processor and Dolby Vision HDR support, it might even nicely outclass them, thus justifying its slightly steep price of $179 for the 32GB model and a hefty $199 for the 64GB model. Units start shipping as of September 22nd but pre-orders will open up on the 15th of the same month.

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  • Tomek
    September 14, 2017 at 4:12 am

    OK. So the only benefit of this set-top box over any new smart TV (like the 2016 LG OLED) is the access to iTunes library, right?


    • Stephen
      October 12, 2017 at 11:45 am

      Hey there Tomek. That’s the biggest benefit. the second one is Dolby Vision support. However if you already have a Dolby 4K HDR TV, it will support Dolby Vision content from any of its native apps. In other words, yes, the single major benefit of the Apple TV 4K is its iTunes feature and the free upgrade to 4K versions of all your existing HD movies in your iTunes library as those 4K versions become available. iTunes in the Apple TV 4K also has some great prices for its 4K UHD movies in comparison to some other platforms. I strongly suggest you read our new review of the Apple TV 4K box right here.


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