Why I went with Apple TV 4K as the primary video streaming box
Every new smart TV comes with onboard streamer, so why the 5th generation Apple TV 4K. If you care about the specification and speed of your video streamer among other things, you want the Apple TV 4K. Here are reasons for going with Apple TV 4K as the main video streaming hub.
If you have a small collection of streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Netflix, add another one to the list, the Apple TV+. Once you have all the apps installed on the Apple TV, it acts as a streaming hub to display content from across the different services in a user-friendly interface.
If you already have a Fire TV stick 4K or Roku Streaming Stick+ 4K or Ultra 4K, there are no real reasons for getting the Apple TV 4K. Unless, you are looking to make the most of Apple services such as Apple TV+, iTunes, Apple Music and Apple Arcade game subscription.
Free Apple TV+ for 1 Year
The Apple TV+ streaming service comes free for one year with the Apple TV purchase. But it is also free with purchase of iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac and the subscription can be shared with the family sharing group. On the surface, it may appear to be a good enough reason to get the Apple TV 4K, given that it comes with a years worth of free video streaming service. But, Apple TV+ content is still rather thin with focus on Apple Originals versus licensing content produced by others.
The Apple TV app comes pre-installed on iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV. This allows you to access new Apple Originals TV show and programs once you have redeemed your 1 year free subscription. This again points to the fact that you do not really need the Apple TV 4K to enjoy the content.
Now, you can also download the Apple TV app for Amazon Fire TV sticks. In fact, you can also install it on supported TV or other streaming device, check out the list of supported devices. However, you must first redeem your subscription on an i-Device. Once installed, sign in with your iCloud account and stream away.
Top 5 Reasons for Getting the Apple TV 4K Over Other Streaming Devices
With that said, there are no real reasons to get the Apple TV 4K or is there. Here are the top 5 reasons for getting the Apple TV 4K.
1. You have a 4K TV
This is an easy one, choosing 4K over HD streaming device. If you have a 4K TV, the Apple TV 4K is an obvious choice. New TV shows and movies are now streaming at UHD or 4K resolution. For the best viewing experience, you need the pieces to come together. 4K content on a 4K big screen TV via a 4K streamer. Hence, the Apple TV.
2. You Want Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos
You want Dolby Vision for HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Atmos for full 7.1 surround sound. Not everyone can take advantage of Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. For Dolby Vision, your 4K HDR television needs to support Dolby Vision, a proprietary and premium cinema technology to deliver optimised HDR pictures.
The rival to this is HDR10+, a free format created by Samsung and used by some TV manufacturers. Both standards add dynamic metadata to the HDR signal to tell the TV the optimal settings for the content. So what is the difference between the two?
Dolby Vision vs HDR10 – BETTER COLOUR
Dolby Vision capable TV and streaming device can talk to each other when handling Dolby Vision content to display it in the best possible way. It does this with dynamic data in the content, with scene-by-scene information that controls the brightness, contrast and colour performance.
On the other hand, HDR10 content comes with static metadata or global information about the content that applies to the entire running length of the TV show or movie. Static means no per scene or per shot optimisation.
If you have a Dolby Vision capable 4K big screen TV, that’s another reason for choosing Apple 4K TV as it supports Dolby Vision. It is also worth noting that beyond online content, 4K Blu-ray Players also support advanced HDR formats such as Dolby Vision for brighter, deeper and more life-like colours with the right 4K Ultra HD disc.
Now, for the icing on the cake. Streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV+ and Disney+ support both HDR10+ and Dolby Vision content. As we mentioned before, you need all the pieces to come together and the most crucial of this, the content supports this.
Note that the base format for Dolby Vision is the HDR10. What this means is, if your content is HDR10, it will still show on Dolby Vision enabled TV and streaming device minus the advanced HDR. However, if your TV and streaming device does not support Dolby Vision, the Dolby Vision content will just show at base HDR10.
Some Smart TV and streaming device even shows this briefly on the screen at the start of the playback to let you know that a piece of content is Dolby Vision ready.
Dolby Atmos – BETTER SOUND
Now, throw in a Dolby Atmos capable Audio Visual (AV) receiver and speakers and you have yourself a true surround sound experience for a real cinematic experience like in the theater. We are talking 3 dimensional surround that takes you into the action right from your living room.
Again, most new online content from major streaming services support Dolby Atmos with 7.1 channel surround. This is the same with 4K Blu-ray releases. New AV receivers are backwardly compatible with older content that carries 5.1 surround audio.
If you already have a Dolby Vision capable TV and Dolby Atmos capable living room entertainment system, you will want an Apple TV 4K box.
3. You Want Performance
The Apple TV 4K is powered by Apple A10X Fusion chip, the same processor used on the Apple iPad Pro 2nd Generation (2017). This means you are getting a fast streaming box that won’t go slow on your over time. Not for the foreseeable future. Early versions of smart TV are showing their age with slow interface and limited app support. Here is your reason to upgrade to an external streaming device, Apple TV 4K being a good choice.
4. It Doubles As a Gaming Console for Lite Gaming
With the launch of Apple Arcade, the game subscription service from Apple, the Apple 4K TV streaming box now takes on another role, a gaming console. There are over 100 games to choose from and you can download and install this right from the App Store and start gaming.
Even without the subscription, there are games that you can download and install for free. Use the supplied Siri Remote with built in accelerometer and three-axis gyro as your controller or get a Bluetooth game controller. Other supported controllers include the PlayStation DualShock 4 and the Xbox Wireless Controller with Bluetooth.
It’s nowhere near the pro game titles you get with a dedicated game console for offers plenty of family friendly titles, enough for the kids to be entertained. Plus, the onboard GPU is four times more powerful than the previous generation Apple TV, offering plenty of power to support fast moving and graphic intensive games just like on the iPad.
5. You want to cast to the big screen via AirPlay
I must admit that we are a family invested in the Apple ecosystem, with iOS and MacOS devices coming out of our eyes and ears. Naturally, you would want the Apple TV 4K to bring the same experience into the living room. This not only allows you to access photos and videos in your iCloud but to access iTunes purchases too.
Also, with the Apple TV, you can cast from your Apple desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone to the big screen. As long as the devices are on to the same WiFi network, you can share videos or photos you captured earlier with others on the big screen via Apple TV. You can also share your app screen or desktop that way. We find this particularly handy for video chats with the family, following a zoom session, catching up on online tutorial videos and webinars.
These are my reasons for going with the Apple TV 4K as the primary video streaming hub in the living room. What are yours?
There are tonnes of other features on the Apple TV 4K that we haven’t explored here. Just to mention a few, they are as listed below:
- Familiar and easy interface with voice enabled remote controller
- It combines all the content from local on-demand streaming channels in one place so you can catch up on broadcast programs. You will need the TV channel app on the Apple TV to continue watching there.
- Fast, quick and easy to AirPlay too from other iOS or MacOS devices
- Apple TV as the smart home hub to control HomeKit enabled accessories
- Access Siri voice assistant from the TV to search and play content as well as control smart home devices including multi-room speakers
- Link up to AirPlay 2 enabled speaker such as the HomePod and listen to the soundtrack or music from the Apple TV in every room
- Use your iPhone asn an Apple TV remote
- Enjoy previously purchased HD movies on iTunes in 4K with free automatic 4K upgrade
- Use Movies Anywhere (only in the US) to combine all your digital content purchases from different sources (Vudu, Google Play, iTunes or Amazon) including physical discs that offer downloads in one place, a true digital library. The service is free and you can find steps to connect your Apple ID to your Movies Anywhere account to watch eligible movies on the Apple TV.
You can now find AirPlay 2 enabled TV that supports casting