Apple TV 4K review: Apple finally sells more for less


  • Lower price than previous model
  • Better performance, faster
  • Better image than other competitors
  • Compatible with Bluetooth speakers


  • No HDMI cable
  • Expensive if you only use it as a streaming device
  • No remote monitoring

It’s been a good year for Apple as it rolls out new lines of most of its devices: iPhone models 14new MacBook and iPad M2, etc. And a brand new Apple TV 4K The streaming device will launch on November 4, at a new price to match.

This third generation of Apple TV 4K is $50 cheaper than the previous model, which starts at just $129. However, it’s also faster thanks to the A15 Bionic chip, which is more compact and efficient, consuming 30% less power. It supports Dolby Vision, Atmos, and HDR10+ for clear, high-contrast streaming video.

With this device, Apple aims to bring everyone around TV, from moviegoers, to gamers, to smart home users, for faster performance and personalization. more than ever.


Size 1.2 x 3.6 x 3.6 inches
Remote Dimensions 5.4 x 1.4 x 0.3 inches
Remote weight 2.3 ounces
Warehouse 64GB and 128GB
Processor Chip A15 Bionic
Connection Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 6, Dual Band 2.4 GHz & 50 GHz – Gigabit Ethernet on W-Fi + Ethernet model
Aspect Ratio Up to 60 fps
Video format 4K – Dolby Vision – HDR10+

What is Apple TV 4K?

The Apple TV 4K is a little black box that connects to your TV to serve two or more than three purposes: to be your new streaming device, to make your TV smart, and to be a smart home hub. for HomeKit.

The new generation of Apple TV 4K comes in two versions: $129 model uses Wi-Fi to connect to the Internet, has a power port and an HDMI port, and a storage capacity of 64GB. The $149 model supports both Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet as well as Thread networking, and has power, HDMI and Ethernet ports, and doubles the storage capacity to 128GB. Both devices have an A15 bionic chip and support for Wi-Fi 6, 4K, SDR video up to 60fps, Dolby Vision and HDR+.

Compared to the previous generation of the product, it is 4mm shorter and 5mm smaller, as well as half the weight, at just 7.5 ounces.

Also: 10th Gen iPad Review: Unbelievably Good

Both versions of the new Apple TV 4K also come with the Siri remote, a slim – but surprisingly solid – rechargeable Bluetooth remote, complete with built-in Siri. Speaking into the remote, you can ask Siri common things like a joke or where your iPhone is, and you can also search for movie titles, ask what the onscreen character just said, or ask it shows you the feed from your outdoor camera.

With the new updates, Siri will be able to recognize up to six people, making it possible for everyone in your home to have a customized profile with tailored options. If someone is watching TV and has their profile turned on, you can ask Siri to switch to yours and it will recognize you and do so.

Outside the box

Apple TV 4K from above

Maria Diaz / ZDNET

The setup process for the Apple TV 4K is pretty straightforward if you have an iPhone and an HDMI cable: Just plug in your new device, place your phone nearby, and follow the prompts to set up.

I found the setup process very user-friendly, especially since you can simply use your iPhone to get through it instead of having to enter your password multiple times on the streaming device. Your iPhone also acts as a remote control, so you can use it to easily enter login information.

But note that while the Apple TV 4K comes with a power cord and Siri remote, it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable – needs to be purchased separately.

I know, not including an HDMI cable is a very Apple thing to do. But that makes this device inaccessible. A non-tech savvy person may be disappointed to bring it home and discover it requires finding or buying another cord to make it work.

Additionally, critics have long pointed out that Apple has been selling the same square black box for years while competitors have switched to more aesthetically pleasing designs or unremarkable formats, like streaming stick. That still holds true for the new version: If you’re wondering how the latest Apple TV 4K device will fit into your home decor, I’m here to tell you it probably won’t.

Better performance at a lower price?

Apple TV 4K and remote stand upright on table

Maria Diaz / ZDNET

In terms of picture quality, the Apple TV 4K outperforms our other 4K resolution streaming devices at home. Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Stick 4K, as well as picture quality when using WebOS on our LG TVs. Not only is the picture much sharper and more detailed when using the Apple TV 4K, but the dynamic range is outstanding.

The $129 Wi-Fi-only model has the same storage capacity as the previous generation’s most expensive model, which retails for $199 (it’s usually available now for a discount). Even without an Ethernet port, the new base version is an upgrade over the best of previous models, with faster performance, smaller size, and less power consumption at a price point. lower.

That said, it still ranks as one of the most expensive streaming devices on the market, with competitors like the Fire TV Stick 4K, Roku Streaming Stick 4K and Chromecast will only retail for $50, even lower in deals.

However, if you like Apple products and how they work together, this is the streaming device for you – it even lets you control compatible smart devices.

Apple TV 4K as a smart home hub

Apple TV 4K and remote control on the home decor

The Apple TV 4K maintains the previous design with a matte top and glossy Apple logo and sides, albeit in a slightly more compact box.

Maria Diaz / ZDNET

HomeKit, which is Apple’s smart home automation system, requires a HomePod Mini or Apple TV 4K as its hub. If you’re looking for a new smart home system or already have smart home devices but want to control them with a single app, the Apple TV 4K gives you this capability.

After you set up your new Apple TV 4K, simply follow the steps to add it to the Home app on your iPhone. Then just add HomeKit-compatible devices on your iPhone and you’ll be able to control them with Siri through your TV. You can ask Siri to play scenes or show you a live feed from the security camera.

While HomeKit is one of the pickiest smart home systems for data privacy and security reasons, Launch Matter will expand the range of compatible devices available over the course of several months. The Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi + Ethernet model also supports Thread, a wireless communication technology for smart home devices, making it a better choice for smart home users than the Wi-Fi model. Fi.

I already have a HomePod Mini at home, so I don’t need to use the Apple TV 4K as a hub. I enjoyed using the HomePod Mini with my Apple TV 4K, combining its streaming video with the rich sound of the speakers, for a more immersive listening experience.

You can also create a stereo pair of two HomePod Minis for a full home theater feel, and I had a good experience pairing the Apple TV 4K with the Echo Studio. You can even connect the device to another Bluetooth speaker, such as a soundbar.

Siri remote control

Siri Remote on the table

Maria Diaz / ZDNET

The design of the Siri remote is thicker and larger than the original Siri remote that came with the first-generation Apple TV a few years ago. This is on purpose so it’s harder to get lost or misplaced between the couch cushions, but I’m not too sure about that. Apple hasn’t met my husband yet.

This man is the reason we switched to keyless door locks: He lost his phone, more keys than I can count, and about three pairs of headphones – he even accidentally lost them. his car keys once.

No more than 12 hours into the makeshift Apple TV 4K housing with us, he went and lost the remote. (As you might expect, we found it later among the couch cushions.)

Turns out you can see the remote when it’s connected via Bluetooth to the Apple TV 4K device, but you can’t monitor that. Apple, the maker of the AirTag, doesn’t think putting a Find My-compatible tracker in the Siri remote would be a good idea.

What is an AirTag, $30? But this is the same company that sells 4K streaming devices without an HDMI cable.

Which Apple TV 4K should I buy?

Compare models

Maria Diaz / ZDNET | Apple
Compare Only wifi Wi-Fi + Ethernet
Price 129 dollars $149
Warehouse 64GB 128GB
Connection Wi-Fi 6 Wi-Fi 6, Ethernet, Themes
Processor Chip A15 Bionic Chip A15 Bionic

Both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Ethernet models are great options, especially if you’re deep in the Apple ecosystem. If you’re an Apple fan and just need a great streaming device that delivers great picture quality, then I recommend the 64GB Wi-Fi-only model.

If you’re a smart home user, and especially if you like HomeKit, then the Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi + Ethernet will give you all the benefits of the base model, along with a smart home hub. Fit the future with Thread, Gigabit Ethernet connectivity and double the storage capacity.

When making these comparisons, consider that if you choose the Wi-Fi model, you can still use your Apple TV 4K as a HomeKit hub and add a Thread router to your home, like the HomePod Mini, Echo, Nest Hub or Hub Max , or one Eero Grid SystemFor example.

Bottom line: Is the Apple TV 4K worth it?

The device costs more than its competitors, and that’s mainly because of all the extra features you get with it. You don’t just buy a streaming device; you are participating in an ecosystem, an ecosystem that can make your home smarter, more convenient and more enjoyable. So I’d say if you’re just looking for a streaming device, this might not be worth it for you.

The Apple TV 4K is definitely worth it for those who will enjoy more with features that go beyond everyday streaming, like smart home control and immersive home theater. And it increases the picture quality to a noticeable extent, so I would recommend it to anyone looking for an upgrade to video on their current streaming device.

Are there any alternatives worth considering?

If you’re looking for a great quality 4K streaming device and you’re wondering whether the Apple TV 4K is the best device for your needs, there are plenty of worthy alternatives out there. consider. Here are just a few:


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