It just so happens that I have a TV in my house. Many friends have long abandoned this luxury item. They say there is nothing to watch on-air channels. I sometimes argue, but I almost always lose. The fact is that since living with my parents in the 90s and early 00s, I really wanted to have a big flat TV. So, of course, as soon as I rented my first apartment, I immediately bought a 43-inch TV there. Then they were not very smart, although some rudiments have already appeared.
But I must admit that I do not watch terrestrial TV very often, although sometimes this guilty pleasure happens. When you are too lazy to choose content, it is easier to launch a familiar TV channel and watch the hundredth replay (hello, Friday!). However, the rest of the time, the TV serves me only as a screen for quality content. I have a PlayStation 4 and Xbox One for games for a long time, and I can’t do without a screen. A couple of years ago, I got a Chromecast to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime, but now I have an Apple TV connected to my old TV. The Apple ecosystem has everything I need, and it seems to me that I will soon be able to refuse some of the above gadgets because there are games and high-quality content here. Yes, unfortunately, I won’t get a feel for 4K yet, but I plan to update the TV soon. However, let’s go back to Apple TV and start in order.
Apple TV 4K appearance
The Apple TV 4K box looks the same as all Apple devices: beautiful and concise. Inside, there is a remote control, a power cable, and a Lightning cable for charging the remote control in addition to the gadget itself.
What is missing is an HDMI cable, but here everyone buys according to their needs. If you want to broadcast 4K content, it is best to take a suitable wire marked Ultra HD (as in the photo above).
You will hardly have to interact with the prefix itself often. It would help if you connected it once, put it next to the TV (well, or how long the wire will last), and forget. All the magic is in the remote and tvOS, as well as using iOS devices, but more on that later. As for the Apple TV itself, it is a black box without any buttons. There are three ports on the back panel: for power connection, HDMI, and a port for wired Internet Ethernet RJ-45, if suddenly you don’t have Wi-Fi in your house or it doesn’t pull 4K video from the network.
The bottom of the device has only a black logo and ventilation holes. The hardware also needs air. Apple TV 4K looks very nice and will harmoniously fit into any apartment design. It’s convenient.
Apple TV 4K Remote
The remote control deserves special attention here. I’ve never owned an Apple TV before, so the remote was a revelation for me. First, it is metal and fits in your hand like an iPod Touch, which is very cool. Considering that all TV or audio remotes are made of plastic and look pretty ugly, the Apple TV remote is a work of art. It charges over a wire with a Lightning connector, but I charged it once, and in a month, I even forgot that it needed to be charged.
There are several buttons for control, as well as a touchpad for navigation. A clear difference from previous versions, there is a circle of light around the Menu button, so it’s now easy to find in the dark. Otherwise, this is just a very convenient laconic remote control, with which I have never had any problems in a short time of use.
I have many remotes at home from various devices, including a couple from some old consoles. All of them are cluttered with buttons; the numbers on them have already been erased; they look terrible in general. The Apple TV remote looks like the 21st-century device remote should look like. In addition to the remote, you can control Apple TV from a Bluetooth keyboard (if you have one) or an iOS device.
tvOS and Apple TV 4K capabilities
Of course, the main feature of Apple TV 4K is hidden in the name – it’s the ability to play content in 4K resolution. Also, Apple TV 4K can show HD, SDR, HDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision. By the way, only Apple TV can work with Dolby Vision, so if you want to make a cool home theater, other set-top boxes will not show films made using this technology.
But movies alone are not limited to Apple TV 4K. The console has its own AppStore, where you can download a huge number of cool applications. For example, if you want, you can make a fireplace out of the TV. But of course, the main thing is watching movies. If Apple’s media library is suddenly not enough, you can install various programs like Amediateki, Okko, or Ivi, and watch movies and TV shows in them. We won’t talk about YouTube, Vimeo, and other services; this is already a standard.
Also, of course, there are various streaming players like Plex. If you have movies on home storage, Apple TV and Plex can play them on your TV.
Of course, Apple TV + subscription also works on Apple TV (by the way, with a new iPhone or iPad, they give a year of subscription for free). Using it, you can watch original films and TV shows on your TV. So far, there isn’t much content, but it’s interesting, especially The Morning Show and Little America. Conveniently, you can watch everything on TV and then continue watching on the iPad or iPhone. I will tell you more about Apple TV + in a separate review, but for now, let’s continue with the set-top box.
But that’s not the end of tvOS. Apple TV 4K has games, and if you have little space at home, the box will replace your PlayStation or XBOX. Games can be bought or downloaded for free, and you can also use an Arcade subscription (about it in a separate review too). You can connect a gamepad to Apple TV if you really want to. But the remote control can also act as a joystick (!). It has an accelerometer, gyroscope, and even a compass, so Apple TV knows everything about its position in space. Unique, of course.
Conclusions about Apple TV 4K
Despite the fact that I have several consoles at home (including games), even the TV itself has some applications, Apple TV won my heart. I really love it when everything is simple, functional, and concise. When a small box can show you almost all the films on the planet, lets you play games, listen to music and enjoy beautiful screensavers, this cannot but impress. Yes, for Apple TV 4K, you will have to pay about $170 for the 32 GB version, but it’s worth it. If you have a 4K TV, don’t even think if you need an Apple TV.