Apple has traditionally produced top-notch streaming devices, but there is a catch: They are significantly more costly than the alternatives.
That is not the case with the Apple TV 4K from 2022, which, at $129, is no longer excessively expensive compared to other premium streamers. The new Apple TV retains the features that made earlier models outstanding. Like quick performance, an ad-free home screen, and a useful menu for navigating your streaming options. Even if it is $50 less expensive than last year’s model.
Owners of the Apple TV 4K from the previous year can forgo this model. As it doesn’t provide enough new features. warrant an upgrade. But the third-generation Apple TV 4K strengthens its position at the top of the stack for anyone looking for a new streaming device. This evaluation is a component of TechHive’s comprehensive examination of the top media-streaming gadgets.
Select your box – Apple TV
The 2022 Apple TV 4K is still a block of black plastic that connects to your TV. It uses an HDMI connection (available separately). But due to the removal of the cooling fan, it is now somewhat shorter and lighter than the previous edition.
Apple has also changed the processor to an A15 Bionic, albeit in side-by-side comparisons with the 2017 Apple TV 4K, the difference is hardly discernible. The majority of applications loaded in exactly the same length of time on both devices (the older model’s load times were, at worst, a second or two slower), and scrolling through the list of recently used apps on Apple TV felt the same on both.
The second major upgrade for the 2022 model is HDR10+. It can alter color levels on compatible TVs with HDR10+ material on a frame-by-frame basis. At the moment, Amazon Prime Video is the principal provider of HDR10+ content. Along with Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound, Dolby Vision, which is more extensively used (Samsung TVs being a prominent exception), is still readily accessible. As no TVs presently have the functionality. The next Apple TV will also support a technology called QMS VRR, which can match the frame rate for video without displaying a black screen. However, this is just for future-proofing.
For my study, I examined the $129 entry-level Apple TV 4K. It has double the capacity of the previous model (64GB), but no ethernet connector. You’ll need the $149 model for that, which also has the ability to operate Thread-enabled smart home appliances.
A further example of future-proofing is thread support, which is currently underutilized in smart home technology. Additionally, it is not necessary given that other gadgets may serve as Thread routers and that any Apple TV model can still be used to control HomeKit devices and run Siri commands. The entry-level Apple TV should work just fine for the majority of customers.
The Siri remote for the next Apple TV is very similar to the one for the model from 2021. It contains an aluminum body and a real directional pad. But with one key distinction: It charges through USB-C rather than a Lightning connection.
The remote still put form above utility in some aspects even if it still seems elegant. The home, back, play, and mute buttons are all the same size and shape. It has the exception of a tiny concavity on the back button to assist differentiate it. Apple also missed a second chance to include the “Find My” feature seen on the Roku Ultra. Given how readily the remote may squish between sofa cushions, it is unfortunate.
Despite the fact that swiping across the directional pad is the quickest method to cycle through menus or fast-forward through movies, the gesture controls on the directional pad may be challenging to get the hang of.
The Apple TV’s A/V controls, though, are superb. The gadget instantly detects the majority of TVs, allowing you to regulate volume and power without any further configuration. It can even adjust the volume of external soundbars or receivers through HDMI-CEC or infrared.
Pick a home screen – Apple TV
The Apple TV is unique in that it effectively provides two home screens on the software side.
By default, pressing the home button launches the Apple “TV” app. You can check a list of live sports events, instantly restart any programs you’ve been watching, and receive recommendations for what to watch next. When you view a show in a compatible app, it instantly shows up in Apple’s “Up Next” menu. Selecting a show from this menu launches playback in the relevant app. The TV app is a helpful tool for keeping track of what you’re viewing across a variety of streaming sources while being a touch too forceful in its promotion of Apple TV+ programming.
You may access a more conventional app grid that is delightfully devoid of banner adverts and other obtrusive distractions by pressing the home button twice. From here, you can organize applications into folders. Moreover, when you place certain apps in the top row, they’ll recommend videos for you to watch. You may instruct the Apple TV to skip the TV app and send you directly to the app grid by going to Settings > Remotes & Devices.
Although I like that Apple provides customers with this option. The TV app definitely needs some form of app row as well. It would be convenient if you could open some applications without first opening a whole other menu. Examples include Netflix and YouTube, which don’t show any content within the TV app.
With the Siri button on the remote, you may navigate by voice much as with earlier Apple TV models. Siri can open movies or TV episodes in a variety of compatible applications immediately. It supports complex queries like “action movies featuring Harrison Ford” or “new comedy on Netflix.” The one significant drawback of voice control is that it cannot tune to live channels from the two most popular live TV streaming providers, YouTube TV or Hulu + Live TV.