Apple isn’t just making products. Rather it is all about innovation with the best features. It is for this reason people from all around the world prefer Apple products. While it started with Mac and iPhone, it later entered the smart TV market with Apple TV. It is a streaming device like Firestick and Roku that will transform your living room and provide you with a theatre-like experience. While it is said to provide the best picture quality and a great user experience, we are here to review it in all aspects. Check out the section to know What is Apple TV and find out if it is worth the bucks one spends on home entertainment.
What is Apple TV?
Apple TV is a digital media player and micro-console by Apple Inc. The device was first released in the year 2007, and the current model includes Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD. It is a set-top box styled micro-console that comes with a handy remote. It is designed to be an HDMI-compliant source device. So, you need to connect it to an enhanced or high-definition TV through an HDMI cable. Apple TV uses WIFI or the internet to bring you entertainment content from different service providers.
The device is developed to work alongside other Apple devices like iOS and Mac with AirPlay support. So, if you have an iPhone, you can use the same Apple ID to ease up a lot of processes. With this, you need not input everything using the remote controller, which takes up your time and patience. It has no integrated controls, and thus, you should pair the Apple Remote or Siri Remote to take control of the video playback.
Apple TV Variants
Apple stopped selling its older model Apple TVs from the first to the third generation. Currently, it is selling only its 4th generation and 5th generation models. All other products have been discontinued, while the available models include,
- Apple TV HD
- Apple TV 4K
Both of them are running on tvOS, a new operating system, compared to their older models. Both models have their own features and are available at different specifications and prices. In addition to this, they are available at different local storage spaces.
What is tvOS?
The fourth and fifth-generation Apple TV models come pre-installed with a system software application called tvOS. In other words, it is an operating system in which Apple TV is running. It has an app-centric design with contents front and center. So, it features an App Store that lets third parties add their own software to the Apple TV. Additionally, tvOS supports Siri’s voice control, dedicated TV app, HomeKit support, and more.
What to Buy?
While there are only two models available currently, choosing between them isn’t much difficult. You may take a closer look at the features of Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K. With this, you will be able to decide which one to buy.
Apple TV HD
The 4th generation Apple TV model has been available since 2015. It was rebranded to Apple TV HD in 2019. You will find Apple TV HD, Apple TV Remote, power cord, lightning to USB cable, and documentation. It ships with an A8 processor with 64-bit architecture, and 32GB storage, with tvOS as the operating system. With Apple TV HD, you will be able to experience the Dolby Digital Plus audio. It supports streaming up to 1080p with WiFi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.0.
It is available as a 32GB variant only and costs $149.
Who can buy Apple TV HD?
If you have an HDTV HDMI port and are satisfied with HD quality, then get Apple TV HD. Further, you need a wired or wireless connection to start streaming on Apple TV HD. While it seems to be the basic model currently, it lets you watch everything from movies to TV shows, sports, and lots more. It is a budget-friendly option that will go well for those who don’t want to spend too much money.
Apple TV 4K (First Generation)
The 5th generation Apple TV model is termed as Apple TV 4K and was made available in 2017. It has an A10X Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture and looks more similar to the Apple TV HD. The box consists of Apple TV 4K, Siri remote, power cord, and lightning to USB cable. So, you need to get the HDMI cable separately. With Apple TV 4K, you can start streaming in 4K HDR resolution with Dolby Atmos sound effects. It has 3GB of memory and supports 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth with 5.0.
It is available in 32GB and 64GB variants and costs $179 and $199, respectively.
Who can buy Apple TV 4K?
Those with smart HD TV or higher can make use of Apple TV 4K. It works on a wired or wireless connection. You may need an HDMI cable for HD streaming, Dolby Vision compatible HDMI cable for 4K HDR streaming. It is the latest Apple TV entry with which you can stream in 4K HDR quality. So, it will deliver you four times the standard HD pixels. It is quite pricey, and you can even decide between the storage options.
Important Update: With the release of the Apple TV 4K 2021 or (Second Generation), Apple TV 4K with A10X Fusion chip was discontinued.
Apple TV 4K (Second Generation)
Apple TV 4K 2021 has been released as a second generation. While the 2015 and 2021 models have the same set of features, they differ in terms of processor and other built-in features.
With Apple TV 4K 2021, you will get an A12 Bionic processor with WIFI 6 and HDMI 2.1 with ARC and eARC support. With this, you shall plug other sources, including HomePod, into your TV to output the audio from Apple TV. In addition, it supports 4K videos with higher frame rates of up to 60fps. Besides this, the latest model includes a redesigned Siri remote controller with navigation buttons.
Unlike the Apple Remote, you will get dedicated Power and Mute buttons in the Siri Remote. Further, the traditional D-pad controller or the touchpad is replaced with a circular touchpad. The users can take advantage of optimizing the color output by pairing with the ambient light sensor of the iPhone with Face ID.
Apple TV 4K (Second Generation) Specifications
There are two different storage options available when it comes to Apple TV 4K second generation.
- 32GB Varient: $179
- 64GB Varient: $199
The Apple TV 4K streaming device has a height of 35mm with 98mm width and depth and weighs 425 grams.
Inside the Box:
Both the variants come with the following items.
- Apple TV 4K
- Siri Remote
- Power Cord
- Lightning USB cable
- User manual
What is Apple TV+ on Apple TV?
Apple TV+ is an ad-free subscription service by Apple Inc. It lets you access all the video-on-demand services of Apple with the app. With this, you will be able to stream all the exclusive Apple originals. The service is currently accessible from a wide range of devices. However, those who buy an Apple device will get Apple+ for one year. Above all, you can cancel the Apple TV Plus subscription anytime.
What Can you Stream on Apple TV?
Get to know what Apple TV is offering its features in brief.
Stream live or on-demand content, and buy or rent movies and shows. It supports a wide range of services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, etc.
Music & Podcasts
Access those music and podcast libraries from iTunes in iCloud. It is compatible with music streaming services like Apple Music, Pandora, and more.
tvOS lets you use the photos that are synced on the iCloud. Also, you can install third-party apps like Lightroom to view, edit and share.
Apps & Games
You can download and install apps and games from the tvOS App Store on your TV. So, you never have to compromise your playing activity with tvOS.
It has AirPlay support, and with this, you will be able to cast or mirror contents from an iOS or Mac PC. It is a wireless means of sharing content with compatible devices residing nearby.
What’s New with Apple TV 4K (Second Generation)
With the 2021 Apple TV 4K model, you will get access to some of the most impressive and unique features.
Apple TV supports screensavers, and it appears whenever your device goes idle. Apple releases Aerial screensavers every now and then of the popular places captured as aerial, underwater, or satellite shorts. In addition, users can change the screensaver on Apple TV with the photo of their choice.
You can possibly stream movies, shows, or music with friends from your iPhone or iPad with the SharePlay feature. With this feature, you shall even take your FaceTime call to Apple TV and experience it from a bigger screen.
Apple TV 4K users can pair HomePod mini speakers to experience a room-filling sound. With this, you can even ask Siri to find something or launch an app in no time.
It is possible to look at your camera’s live view and control other smart HomeKit devices. Thus, Apple TV works as an ultimate HomeKit.
Get access to more than 90 million songs with Apple Music. As it supports lyrics, you shall sing along to your favorite songs.
With the A12 Bionic chip, playing games is more realistic and smoother. Tracking the game levels, invitations, and leaderboards is easy with multi-user support. Above all, Apple TV 4K users can connect gaming consoles like Xbox and PlayStation for immersive gaming.
Dolby Vision & Atmos
You will experience the true-to-life picture with Dolby Vision of Apple TV 4K. Thus, it delivers vivid and realistic colors. With Dolby Atmos, you will get a cinematic sound experience.
With Apple TV 4K, adjusting or balancing the color of your TV settings is no more a hassle. You can even use your iPhone to calibrate your TV-watching experience.
Here are the best alternatives which you could use:
- Chromecast with Google TV
- Smart TV
Which Apple TV Should I Buy?
Apple TV has far exceeded expectations. It guarantees users the best streaming experience in every scene. It is definitely the best choice for those who want a theater-like experience at their home. Apple TV 4K is the first of its kind to support both Dolby Atmos, and Dolby Vision certified smart TV. So, if you expect a cinematic experience, then tvOS 4K is the better option. You can get a second-generation Apple TV 4K for a truly cinematic TV watching experience.
The latest model Apple TV 4k Second Generation, costs $179 for 32GB and $199 for 64GB.
With the purchase of a new Apple TV, the users will get an Apple TV Plus subscription free for 3 months. Besides, it includes complimentary telephonic support for 90 days from the date of purchase.
With Home Sharing on Apple TV, you shall stream music, video, movies, photos, and more from iOS, iPadOS, or macOS to Apple TV, provided you have used the same Apple ID on both devices.
Apple TV may not work when there is any connectivity issue. Check for the cables and ensure the remote is working and charged.
The Apple TV users can use the Apple TV+ subscription to stream the best of Apple TV Original shows.