There is no denying the enormous appeal to Apple TV 4K, the company’s best streaming box, and one that offers all the best things an A / V enthusiast can ask for. First of all, it can handle 4K video with high frame rate, provides Dolby Vision HDR and Atmos support, and offers useful options for matching video frame rate and dynamic range.
I’m just starting to roll. Apple’s streams also have close integration with iCloud, Apple Fitness +, Apple Watch and AirPods. It supports Bluetooth controllers when playing Apple Arcade games, and has a lightning-fast Siri remote control for voice control and search. With all this in mind, the Apple TV is 4K a lot.
But at the same time, Apple TV is 4K also a lot. And by that I mean mainly price. Apple charges $ 179 / £ 169 for a 32GB version and $ 199 / £ 189 for a 64GB version of the power box. Compare that with Roku Ultra and Amazon Fire TV Cube, which sells in the United States for $ 99 and $ 70, respectively. What does Apple TV 4K have that the other players are missing?
If we look at all three devices purely specifications, each one hits the highlights: 4K video with Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos audio, a library with all the most coveted apps and a little more. Fire TV Cube even has HDR10 + support. Each also offers its own built-in voice search and playback commands, with Roku further offering compatibility with Alexa, Hey Google and Siri along with Apple’s own HomeKit smarthus protocol.
What really sets Apple apart from the competition – apart from sky-high prices – is that the latter also offers streaming hardware in a compact stick shape. Streaming pins, which connect directly to a TV or projector’s HDMI port where they can do their thing discreetly, are an even cheaper alternative than freestanding boxes. And while they may not have the same processing power – a factor that can affect both browser response and image quality – as their boxed brothers, what they offer is enough to satisfy the needs of 99% of viewers.
Why does Apple not sell a cheap power stick?
The Apple TV box has traditionally been a side project for the company – Steve Jobs once referred to it as a “hobby” – and not something it updates on a regular basis. (Four years passed between the arrival of the first Apple TV 4K in 2017 and the latest generation version in 2021.) So it’s not entirely surprising to see Apple out of step with the Roku, Amazon and Chromecast streaming hardware competition. At the same time, it seems that Apple is also out of step with current social and economic trends.
Top Gun: Maverick Except, people are not going to the movies these days in the same number as they did in the time before the pandemic, and it is a trend that seems to be permanent. At the same time, people have less consumption income to go out in general as a result of rising global inflation. And I’ll not even mention the high price of gasoline, which, depending on where you live, can make a cruise to the mall to see a movie so much more expensive.
Given these factors, viewers are more likely than ever to turn to the best 4K TVs for entertainment, whether it is for streaming movies, sports or the latest programs. And while almost all newer TVs have built-in live streaming apps – including Apple’s own Apple TV + service in some cases – the smart TV interface can in many ways be overly crowded, confusing and generally discouraging.
That’s where the best power units come in. I have long been a user of both Roku (my last upgrade was to Streaming Stick Plus, which supports Dolby Atmos and HDR10, making it a good match for my projector-based home theater setup) and Apple TV streamers. Of the two, I prefer to use the latest Apple TV 4K, which offers more powerful and reliable Wi-Fi and generally better picture quality compared to Roku. But I must add that I admire the clean interface of the screen and the overall ease of use of both streamers as much, and I will not hesitate to recommend Roku or any of its successors.
What I would not be so quick to recommend to a regular viewer who asks me for buying advice, is Apple TV 4K. And it’s not because it’s not a great streamer – it really is. But the only others I know of who own one are TV reviewers, and we have a limited number.
Priced at $ 199, the Apple TV is 4K streaming box for 1%. And while I am encouraged by tthe prospect of the company will release a less expensive version Later this year, what I really want to see is a $ 50 pin. You can do it, Apple. Get to work.