The Apple TV 4K Is Utterly Boring, Unless You’re An Apple Fanatic

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For most people, the Apple TV 4K might as well not exist. In a market where nearly every new TV is smart (where I can load them with my favorite streaming apps, including Apple TV+) a separate set top box is superfluous.

So why get an Apple TV 4K? What does it bring to the home entertainment equation that your existing smart TV doesn’t? Let’s dig in and figure it out.

Apple TV 4K 32GB

Apple TV 4K 32GB


High Frame Rate HDR.2
It’s a game changer.

With support for high dynamic range (HDR) video at 60 frames per second, Apple TV 4K delivers brighter, more realistic colors and greater detail. Fast‑action sports look incredibly smooth. Nature documentaries come alive. And YouTube videos jump off the screen

Balance color with a perfectly calibrated combo.

Adjusting your television settings to get the best picture quality can be frustrating. Not anymore. Apple TV 4K now works with your iPhone to automatically calibrate what you watch. Just point your iPhone at your TV screen once, then sit back and see how amazing your shows and movies are supposed to look.

  • Dolby Atmos for immersive, room-filling sound
  • A12 Bionic chip gives a big boost to audio, video, and graphics, for even better game and app experiences
  • 4K High Frame Rate HDR with Dolby Vision for fluid, crisp video
  • Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+
  • The latest hits from Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and more
  • More ways to enjoy your TV with Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Music
  • The new Siri Remote with touch-enabled clickpad
  • Private listening with up to two sets of AirPods
  • Use AirPlay to share photos, videos, and more from your iPhone, iPad, and Mac on your TV
  • Get a live view of your HomeKit-enabled cameras and control your smart home accessories

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What Is Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K is a smart set top box capable of pushing out a 4K HDR image. It supports apps for all major streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Disney Plus, YouTube TV, and more, with baked in access to Apple’s original content platform, Apple TV+. 

Apple TV 4K can also play games! Any game that you can play on Apple Arcade, you can load up onto Apple TV 4K and play on the big screen with a controller (if supported). If you workout with Apple Fitness+, you can access workouts directly from the device as well and it’ll sync with your Apple Watch. 

This is the first generation of Apple TV to sport a newly designed remote as well. Totally revamped, it has a touch-enabled click wheel at the top (reminiscent of old school iPods) instead of the hard-to-navigate touch surface of the previous gen. It’s also thicker and has a discernable “up” – both frustrations leveled at the old remote.  FORBES.COMApple Promo Codes | 20% Off Forbes

Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K

What Can It Do? 

Obviously, you can watch all kinds of shows on Apple TV 4K. It’ll even suggest things based on how often you use certain apps. The Home Screen is easily navigable and provides ready access to your apps, shows, games, Apple Fitness+ and 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 your other devices and controller support, it’s a bit like an Apple gaming console… but you’ll need to hunt a bit to find games that play well on the big screen. Grindstone is brilliant for instance, but it’s meant for quick games on my iPhone, not long sessions on my couch. Something like Cozy Grove is perfect though. (Think Animal Crossing, but with ghosts). 

The 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 video from HomeKit-enabled cameras. 

Why Do You Need It?

You can get Apple shows on other smart TVs. Apple Fitness+ is streamable from your iPhone to an AirPlay-enabled set, as are Apple Arcade games. If you’re not a 100% Apple household, Apple TV 4K doesn’t bring much to the entertainment landscape in your home that you don’t already have. 

Plus there are oddities in performance. When connecting my iPhone to my Apple TV via AirPlay, I’m rewarded with a slight audio lag—annoying when you’re trying to follow a workout video and have to face away from the screen. If I use the AirPlay software built into my LG TV? Playback is perfect. 

Even in my “all-Apple” home, the Apple TV 4K is the one device that rarely gets attention unless there’s a software update. That said, in the fall, Apple TV will gain some new tricks with the release of tvOS 15. The interface will gain a Shared With You list, just like on your iOS 15 iPhone. It will also have a new For All of You recommendation engine that surfaces shows everyone will enjoy watching together based on who’s actually there. If you’re listening to shows using your AirPods (or Pro or Max), you’ll get Spatial Audio. And beyond just watching TV, you’ll be able to monitor all your HomeKit enabled cameras on a single screen. 

If you’re deep into the Apple universe and don’t already have a smart TV, the Apple TV 4K can make sense. If you do have a smart TV and you don’t like the interface, you might feel more at home here, and so should consider adding one to your entertainment center regardless.

You can do neat things like pop on your AirPods so that you can watch shows in private without disturbing others. If you workout with Apple Fitness+, your Apple Watch will sync on screen automatically. 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 the Apple TV 4K the center of your entertainment universe but it honestly doesn’t make sense for everyone. If you game with Apple Arcade, workout with Apple Fitness+ and control your smart home with the Home app, then the Apple TV 4K is for you. For everyone else who already owns smart TVs or competing set-top boxes, there just isn’t a very compelling reason to plug it in. 

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