While the mainstream media coos over the iPhone X, we’re rather more excited to see the upcoming release of the Apple TV 4K, with support for both 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR), and it’s a small coup for Dolby that it will support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. (No mention was made of HDR10+.)
Apple promises a growing selection of 4K HDR movies to be available on iTunes — and a particular bonus is that users will get automatic upgrades of any owned HD titles in their existing iTunes library to 4K HDR versions as they become available.
Apple TV 4K will also offer 4K HDR content from popular video services, including Netflix, noted as “coming soon".
A dedicated Apple TV App is also due on September 20th shouldl make operation and ocntrol still more intuitive direct from iPhones and iPads. Australia is privileged here, since the app will launch this month only in the US, Canada and Australia, expanding only later to include France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK. We do hope this won't mean the end of the useful 'Remote' app, however!
Hardware & control
The new device is built on the A10X Fusion chip that powers the iPad Pro, and includes a built-in high-performance 4K video scaler that “makes HD content look better than ever on a 4K TV”. Our usual advice is to let your screen do the upscaling, to mimimise the data flow through HDMI, but we look forward to seeing Apple’s efforts in this regard. The Apple TV will have “automatic detection of a 4K TV’s capabilities”, presumably using EDID, in order to optimise set-up for the best quality picture.
Voice control is already a useful feature of the current Apple TV, and Apple TV 4K will use Siri to search and access content “across Apple TV” using just your voice. Siri will be “smart about 4K HDR, so it’s unbelievably simple to find movies and TV shows in the highest picture quality across your apps (e.g., “Show me movies in 4K”)”.
AirPlay 2 multiroom & HomeKit
With support for AirPlay 2 coming later this year, Apple TV will be able control multiple AirPlay 2-compatible speakers as well as your home theatre speakers “to create the ultimate home music experience”.
Apple TV 4K will also continue Apple’s smart home push, acting as a home hub for HomeKit accessories, enabling remote access as well as automated control.
Pricing & availability
Where previous Apple TV models haven’t stressed internal storage, now there will be two versions, with Australian pricing at A$249 for 32GB or A$279 for 64GB. The 4th-gen Apple TV (32GB) will continue at A$209.
Orders start Friday 15 September, with availability beginning Friday 22 September.