What started as a ‘hobby’ of Steve Jobs has now become a serious option for a media player: Apple TV. The media player is available in two variants, namely an HD and a 4K version and several new iterations have since appeared. The latest Apple TV 4K is coming from 2021 with the fast A12 Bionic chip and a completely new physical remote. The price for this media player is 199 euros. Don’t need a 4K version? Then the HD version is for sale for 159 euros.
The Apple TV 4K is a complete media player with support for HDR at 60 frames per second, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, HDMI 2.1, WiFi 6, Airplay and, thanks to Thread and HomeKit, can even be used within your smart home. The media player runs on tvOS, say a modified version of the operating system for your iPhone, but for the television. The most recent version at the time of writing is tvOS 15.6. Download your favorite apps such as Netflix, Prime Video or of course the streaming service Apple TV+. The new Siri Remote lets you use voice commands or simply use the buttons to scroll through all the content and play a movie or series. Services such as Apple Music and Apple Arcade are also accessible through this media player.
All sounds positive, doesn’t it? It is, for the most part. It is a versatile media player packed with options. Still, the Apple TV 4K isn’t for everyone. We therefore give you three reasons why you should buy this media player and three reasons why you should not buy it.
Benefit 1: Apple Ecosystem
Why choose an Apple TV 4K when you already have a Smart TV? Both can handle apps from streaming services, right? That’s right, but the Apple TV media player has a lot more to offer, especially if you’re already taking full advantage of Apple’s ecosystem. Do you have an iPhone, iPad, Macbook or maybe even a HomePod or AirPods? It all works together and also services like Apple ArcadeApple Music or Fitness+ are closely woven into this media player.
Use your iPhone to transfer audio or video via AirPlay 2 to your television or stream the audio of a movie to your connected HomePod speakers. Calibrate the image via your iPhone. Use spatial audio with your connected AirPods or check your security cameras via HomeKit on your television. This media player doubles as a hub for all your HomeKit devices, and thanks to Thread, you’re ready for the future with the new Matter smart home standard. Thanks to the A12 Bionic, this device has enough power to play all games via Apple Arcade or check your health via the Fitness+ app. The Apple TV 4K is truly part of Apple’s ecosystem, working closely with all of your other Apple products and services.
Advantage 2: Powerful processor
The Apple TV 4K is a media player with a powerful processor. We also find the A12 Bionic in the iPhone XS and XS Max, XR, 5th generation iPad Mini, 3rd generation iPad Air and 8th generation iPad. That means not only navigating very quickly and smoothly through your lists of apps, playlists or the streaming offer, but also playing games. The service Apple Arcade so it really comes into its own on the media player. You can play unlimited games for a fixed amount per month. Not only on your iPhone or iPad, but thanks to this media player also smoothly on your large television.
Advantage 3: easy operation
The latest Apple TV 4K, as well as the new HD version, comes with the new Siri Remote. Apple has always considered ease of use to be of paramount importance and with this new remote control, another step has been taken. So many options and only a few buttons? It’s possible. Use your voice via the Siri voice assistant to start a movie or open an app, use the buttons to play something or change the volume or use the new touch controls with the large round disc on top of the remote control. A remote has never been so intuitive. For example, you can swipe through playlists or easily rotate to rewind or forward. It all works great.
Disadvantage 1: closed system
Of course it remains Apple and that means it is a closed ecosystem. Yes, all your Apple products can work together, but do you have an Android phone or Windows PC? Then you will have to miss out on a lot of opportunities. In fact, without other Apple products, the Apple TV 4K is just a simple media box that you shouldn’t have spent so much money on. A Chromecast with Google TV would have been a much cheaper and better option. That makes the Apple TV 4K only suitable for people who have Apple products.
Disadvantage 2: Apple TV HD
The Apple TV 4K is the latest of the latest and comes with fast hardware and extensive options for 199 euros. In addition, there is the normal HD version for 159 euros. Anyone who thinks the only difference is the 4K resolution will be disappointed. Despite the fact that the new Siri Remote is now included with the HD version, the media player itself is already quite old, including very outdated hardware. To be precise, the Apple TV HD comes from October 2015, while the Apple TV 4K comes from 2021. At $159, it’s a very bad deal compared to the much more comprehensive 4K version for $199, which is not only much faster, but also supports all kinds of modern video and audio formats. So just ignore the Apple TV HD and buy the 4K version in all cases. Then you are at least ready for the future.
Disadvantage 3: Expensive hobby
At a price of 199 euros, Apple belongs to the top of the market when it comes to media players, but the price is still bearable. However, if you want to get the most out of this powerful device, you will also have to take out subscriptions. Apple Music, Apple Arcade or maybe Apple TV+? You get three months of free Apple TV+ with the purchase of the media player, but that also comes on top of that. Fortunately, you can partly absorb it by subscribing to Apple One where Music, TV+, Arcade and iCloud+ are bundled for 14.95 per month. However, that is individual, because you have to pay 19.95 euros per month for a family where you can share it with five other people. That is 240 euros extra per year for all Apple services. And those are actually necessary if you want to get the most out of your Apple TV 4K. Then it becomes a pretty expensive hobby.
The Apple TV 4K is easy to use and belongs to the top when it comes to media players thanks to the many possibilities and the good picture and sound quality. However, as you can read in the disadvantages, it is not suitable for everyone. Therefore, we can recommend the Apple TV 4K for people who have multiple products and services from Apple. Are you more of the Android phone and services from Google or, for example, Microsoft? Then a Chromecast with Google TV or another media player might be more for you.