Among the major streaming video devices for the home television, Apple TV shows up dead last on most comparison lists. Sure, the list of features is good, but it seems that guesstimators everywhere think competitors are outselling Apple’s hobby.
Outselling? Perhaps. Nobody knows for sure because nobody has accurate numbers, but let’s assume that Roku, Chromecast, and Fire TV sell more units. Is anybody tracking how much money their respective makers, well, actually make from such devices? Is anybody tracking how much customers use those devices?
For all anyone else knows Apple is the leader of streaming video devices. Apple’s latest streaming video device is Apple TV 4K. Whether you should buy one or not depends upon what your viewing habits are now and what they will be soon. Apple TV 4K handles 4K streaming video in HDR. High dynamic range. If you haven’t seen HDR then head to Best Buy or Costco or wherever fine television viewing devices are on display.
If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see what you’re missing.
4K video brings four times the resolution of HD video and plenty more visual clarity. So much more clarity that what you see on a 4K HDR display doesn’t seem real. Well, it’s television, so there’s not much reality there anyway. Apple TV 4K brings 4K streaming video to a 4K television and HDR– either Dolby Vision, or HDR 10, the two competing standards for HDR.
Should you rush out to buy Apple TV 4K?
Jennifer Van Grove says now.
Earlier this week, Apple promised an “incredible” TV experience. It delivered a snooze fest.
That’s one opinion. As to whether or not the launch was a snooze fest, I say, “It depends.”
If you’re stuck with OTA (over the air with antenna) television, or married to the local cable TV provider and don’t have a fast internet connection, don’t be in a hurry to upgrade or order Apple TV 4K. You’re not ready yet.
If you’ve been viewing some 4K video on a recently purchased 4K television– thanks to Netflix, Amazon, and others with streaming 4K video– you might like Apple’s new doorway to the future of quality television viewing (not so much content quality, as visual quality) because 4K HDR video is a leap beyond the 4K video you’ve been watching.
For a year or two Apple seemed to be behind the curve with streaming video to your TV, and now it’s ahead. What do you get with Apple TV 4K? Van Grove again:
Really, for that price, all you get is the fourth-generation Apple TV with support for super-high resolution content, a.k.a. 4K.
See? Research is a good thing. Apple TV 4K is not just 4K. It’s 4K with HDR and the jump between standard HD at 1080p to 4K is made again with a jump from 4K to HDR.
I suggest keeping your eyes on Amazon if you’re currently in the market for a premium streaming media player with both 4K and high-dynamic range (HDR) support. The company appears on the verge of releasing a new Fire TV set-top box with some additional bells and whistles
Except that you can buy 4K HDR televisions now, and Apple TV with 4K HDR is available now, and coming up is 4K HDR video from iTunes, so one could say the future is now, for those of us on the bleeding edge, but certainly for tomorrow for the rest of television viewing humanity.
If you must have 4K movies and you already default to iTunes for your movie purchases, then you might as well upgrade to the Apple TV 4K. The device’s high price tag is partially subsidized by Apple’s promise to upgrade all your iTunes-purchased HD movies to 4K. These theater-quality flicks will also be sold at HD prices going forward. So that’s something.
Content is king. And Apple TV 4K has 4K content and more on the way with Amazon Prime video coming to Apple TV’s long list of applications.
So until Apple releases its own streaming TV package or finds its footing in the original TV and movie business, I just can’t see the appeal of the Apple TV 4K for anyone other than movie buffs.
But isn’t that exactly why we watch Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other streaming movie services? For those who do not want a kludge system or fuss with cobbling together a bunch of services and 4K sticks, Apple TV is hard to beat. Oh, and it’s the end destination for AirPlay from iPad, iPhone, and Mac, so there’s that.
Yeah, 4K HDR is here now for some, but here tomorrow for everyone else. Looks like Apple has a seat at the table already.