For most people, Apple TV 4K may not exist. In a market where almost every new TV is smart (where I can load them with my favorite streaming apps, including Apple TV +), a separate top box set is superfluous.
So why get an Apple TV 4K? What does the home entertainment equation that the existing smart TV doesn’t do bring? Let’s dig and figure it out.
What is Apple TV 4K?
Apple TV 4K is a smart top box set capable of pushing a 4K HDR image. It supports applications for all major streaming platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, YouTube TV and more, with access to Apple’s original content platform, Apple TV +.
Apple TV 4K can also play games! Any game you can play on Apple Arcade, upload to Apple TV 4K and play on the big screen with a controller (if supported). If you train with Apple Fitness +, you can access your workouts directly from your device and it will sync with your Apple Watch.
This is the first generation of Apple TV that also has a newly designed remote control. Completely renovated, it has a touch-click wheel activated at the top (reminiscent of old school iPods) instead of the hard-to-navigate touch surface of the previous generation. It is also thicker and has a distinct “up” – both frustrations brought to the old remote control.
What can be done?
Obviously, you can watch all kinds of shows on Apple TV 4K. It will even suggest things based on how often you use certain applications. The home screen is easy to navigate and offers easy access to apps, shows, games, Apple Fitness + and the smart home.
If you want to play Apple Arcade games on your TV, Apple TV 4K is the best way to do it. With native support for the same games you play on other devices and controller support, it’s a bit like an Apple game console … but you’ll have to hunt a bit to find games that play well on the big screen. Grindstone it’s great, for example, but it’s meant for quick games on my iPhone, not long sessions on my couch. Something like Cozy Grove it’s perfect though. (Think The passage of animals, but with ghosts).
Apple TV 4K is also a smart home hub, allowing you to access the Home app to see all the smart devices in your home (assuming they’re HomeKit compatible). You can control lights, locks, and view videos from HomeKit compatible cameras.
What do you need it for?
You can get Apple shows on other smart TVs. Apple Fitness + is streamed from the iPhone to an AirPlay-enabled set, as are Apple Arcade games. If you are not a 100% Apple household, the Apple TV 4K does not bring much to the entertainment landscape of your home that you do not already have.
In addition, there are oddities in performance. When I connect my iPhone to the Apple TV via AirPlay, I’m rewarded with a slight audio delay – annoying when you’re trying to watch a workout video and have to head to the screen. Should I use AirPlay software built into my LG TV? The playback is perfect.
Even in my “all-Apple” home, the Apple TV 4K is the only device that rarely draws attention if there is no software update. That being said, in the fall, Apple TV will gain a few new tricks with the launch of tvOS 15. The interface will gain a Shared With You list, just like on your iOS 15. It will also have a new engine. recommendation for everyone, which shows that everyone will enjoy watching together depending on who is actually there. If you listen to shows using your AirPods (or Pro or Max), you will receive Space Audio. And beyond just watching TV, you’ll be able to monitor all HomeKit-compatible cameras on a single screen.
If you’re deep in the Apple universe and don’t already have a smart TV, the Apple TV 4K may make sense. If you have a smart TV and don’t like the interface, you may feel more at home here, so you should consider adding one to your entertainment center, no matter what.
You can do neat things, like pop on AirPods, so you can watch shows in private without disturbing others. If you train with Apple Fitness +, the Apple Watch will automatically sync to your screen. When tvOS 15 comes out later this year, you’ll be able to sync a pair of HomePod Minis for stereo sound.
You can make Apple TV 4K the center of your entertainment universe, but honestly it doesn’t make sense to everyone. If you play with Apple Arcade, train with Apple Fitness + and control your smart home with the Home application, then Apple TV 4K is for you. For everyone else who already owns smart TVs or competing set-top boxes, there’s just one very compelling reason to connect.