Apple TV 4K (2022) overview: Cheaper, sooner, higher

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I’ve used an older model of the Apple TV 4K as my essential streaming gadget for years now. It has by no means been essentially the most adaptable or feature-laden field available on the market (and positively not the most affordable), but it surely affords a superb interface and the very best integration with the Apple ecosystem. Now, the corporate has launched the newest model of the Apple TV 4K, providing a substantial efficiency increase whereas shrinking each the field itself and its price ticket. The Apple TV 4K (2022) nonetheless isn’t good—particularly if you happen to don’t maintain an iPhone in your pocket always—but it surely’s a notable enchancment on an already wonderful gadget. 

What’s new within the Apple TV 4K (2022)?

Crack open the Apple TV 4K (2022) case and also you’ll discover the A15 Bionic processor from final yr’s iPhone 13. It’s a giant step up in total energy and efficiency when in comparison with the earlier mannequin’s A12 Bionic. 

On the identical time, you’ll discover the complete factor is smaller and rather a lot lighter (simply 208g for the Wi-Fi-only mannequin). Fashionable Apple TVs have by no means taken up a lot area. The previous mannequin was solely concerning the dimension of a squared-off McDonald’s McChicken sandwich and the brand new mannequin shrinks it down much more. (The corporate wouldn’t permit me to expense a McChicken for a comparability photograph.) 

The dimensions distinction is as a result of Apple has utterly accomplished away with any followers to offer lively cooling. The brand new chip runs effectively sufficient that easy passive cooling ought to suffice, even when streaming the highest-quality content material or taking part in Apple Arcade video games. 

The previous Apple TV solely provided 32GB and 64GB storage choices. Now, the bottom mannequin begins at 64GB and goes as much as 128GB on the excessive finish. Maybe an important replace comes within the type of the worth. The 64GB base mannequin is available in at $129, whereas the upgraded 128GB model is $149. In comparison with the $179 value from earlier than, each look like a giant low cost. 

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Apple TV 4K ports
Solely the upgraded storage mannequin affords the Ethernet port. Stan Horaczek

Setup and set up

Plug the Apple TV into an outlet. Seize an HDMI cable, put one finish into the Apple TV and the opposite finish into your TV, a soundbar with HDMI passthrough, an A/V receiver, and many others., and also you’re virtually there. That is an Apple product and the setup course of rewards you tremendously for having an iPhone. Merely holding a telephone subsequent to the Apple TV initiates a easy setup course of throughout which Apple transfers all the pieces to the brand new gadget. It units up the Wi-Fi connection (supporting Wi-Fi 6) and reconfigures your apps on the homescreen. I anticipated it to be easy and it was. 

It’s value noting right here that solely the 128GB mannequin affords an Ethernet port, so if you wish to run the connection off of a tough wire, you’ll must shell out the additional $20. 

It’s additionally easy to sync AirPods Professional (2nd technology), and different AirPod fashions, which help spatial audio of appropriate video and Apple Music content material (as do Dolby Atmos soundbars). 

The Apple TV 4K (2022) consumer expertise

Don’t anticipate a significant overhaul from the established Apple TV interface. There’s no actual studying curve going from one gadget to a different, which implies it retains most of its typical strengths and weaknesses. 

This streaming field is nice for customers like me. I forged issues from my iPhone 14 Professional, iPad Professional, and MacBook typically, however I primarily depend on main streaming apps like Netflix, Hulu, Peacock, and HBO Max (I in all probability ought to subscribe to fewer providers). Nevertheless, the Apple TV app can’t combine each service in a whole method, which is usually a little irritating if you happen to anticipate the platform to ship on its efforts to unify your watching expertise. You gained’t essentially discover HBO Max content material within the Apple TV app—you’ll must go on to the HBO app for that as a result of it’s not as built-in as different providers like Netflix. 

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It’s additionally not nice for dwell TV choices. As an example, you’ll be able to’t merely ask Siri to fireside up a selected community in your dwell TV service. And truly discovering these channels requires figuring out the place they’re quite than merely searching some unifying menu. If you wish to use a variety of dwell TV, you’re virtually definitely higher off with one thing like an Amazon Hearth TV gadget or perhaps a Roku.

Image high quality and efficiency

Most streaming gadgets present stable picture high quality at this level, however I feel Apple TV 4K enjoys a slight benefit by way of the general constancy of its 2160p, 60 fps playback. The brand new Apple TV 4K affords help for HDR10+, in addition to the acquainted Dolby Imaginative and prescient possibility already out there within the 2021 mannequin. That gained’t make an enormous distinction for some customers however shall be related largely for individuals with Samsung TVs (like our high QLED choose), as they’re the most important HDR10 supporters. 

With regards to Apple Arcade video games, the brand new Apple TV helps them with out dropping frames or stuttering. Suppose you’re a giant fan of Apple Arcade video games. In that case, the additional processing energy afforded by the newest mannequin will probably are available in very useful, particularly down the street because the titles get extra useful resource intensive. 

The earlier Apple TV 4K already felt comparatively snappy in most conditions and that doesn’t change a lot right here. If you happen to’re upgrading from the older HD mannequin, nevertheless, you’ll positively discover a distinction in nearly all the pieces.

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Apple TV remote USB-C port
The distant now costs by way of USB-C as a substitute of Lightning. Stan Horaczek

The Apple TV 4K (2022) distant

Charging the Apple TV distant now requires a USB-C cable as a substitute of the Lightning cable appropriate with earlier fashions. It will actually really feel like an improve as soon as Apple switches the iPhone over to USB-C as a result of then I can lastly maintain a single cable plugged in close to the desk subsequent to my sofa. Till all the pieces is USB-C, it doesn’t actually matter. 

I’d completely love extra sturdy Discover My help for the distant as a result of it’s simpler to lose than a aggressive match of the newest “Name of Obligation.” That’s not within the playing cards simply but, although. I’ll gaffer-tape an AirTag to the distant so it’s simpler to seek out. 

So, who can purchase the Apple TV 4K (2022)?

Whereas I’ve been an Apple TV fan for years now, that is the simplest mannequin but to suggest. It’s nonetheless costly in comparison with its competitors, however the vital value drop makes that much less of a problem. 

If you happen to primarily keep on with main streaming providers, the Apple TV 4K (2022) is a good gadget. Among the shine wears off when you add dwell TV streaming into the combination. However, total, it’s tremendously simple to arrange, affords wonderful picture high quality, and works seamlessly with different Apple gadgets. Plus, it opens the door to Apple Arcade video games, which I feel go missed. Hearth up “Crossy Street Fortress” on the large display screen and inform me you’re not having enjoyable. You may’t.