We’re probably all familiar with streaming devices now. From Google Chromecast, to Roku and of course, the ubiquitous Apple TV.
Juuuuust in case you’re new to streaming TV, a streaming device, such as Apple TV is essentially a portal to allow you to turn a dumber TV into a smarter one and allow you to access online TV programs, movies and more.
You can use a streaming device to play videos from YouTube, to surf the internet on your TV, and to access specialty online channels. In most cases, as long as your TV has an HDMI port, you can hook up an Apple TV.
Apple TV in particular gives you access to Apple’s vast library of content which includes shows you can’t get anywhere else, as well as new release movies.
4K Apple TV comes in two options with internal storage: 32 gb and 64 gb (will hold about 15 90 minute movies, according to Apple). How much storage you’ll want depends how much content you like to keep at your fingertips.
What is 4K?
Apple TV’s latest incarnation is a 4K Apple TV. 4K is the newest technology in television resolution. 4K or Ultra HD is 4 times better than current HD (High Definition) video. It has more detail, lots more, and provides sharper and more hyper-realistic video.
This Apple TV also has support for HDR video. High Dynamic Range (HDR) delivers brighter, more realistic colours and greater detail.
You need a few things for 4K
In order to watch video in 4K resolution, you’ll need a few things:
- Content made in 4K (it usually has the 4K label highlighted. No label? Unlikely it’s 4K)
- A 4K TV
- A 4K streaming device, such as an Apple TV (if your 4K TV isn’t already ‘smart’)
If you don’t have content, a TV AND a streaming portal all in 4K, you won’t be able to get 4K. Your picture will be in HD. That’s fine, but that’s not what you’re paying a premium for.
Apple TV – What’s in the box?
Setting up Apple TV
Setting up the 4K Apple TV is ultra simple. You plug it in to your TV using an HDMI cable (not included), plug in power, and then log in to or create an Apple ID account. Once you’ve done that, you’re ready to start watching.
New Apple remote
If it’s been a while since you upgraded your Apple TV, you’ll notice the new remote. It’s no longer brushed silver, it’s black. It’s rechargeable with that lightning cable that’s included, and should last a few months at a time, says Apple.
Some of the basic controls are the same: up/down, menu, play/pause.
There’s a touchpad on the top portion of the remote as well as a voice search button (small microphone icon). The Home button (TV icon) returns you to your main screen, allows you to put the Apple TV to sleep (Press and hold) or shift between apps like you can on your iPhone (two fast clicks)
To use voice search, press and hold the microphone button and ask Siri for what you want.
Apple TV also has a neat feature where if you’ve paired it to your smartphone, when it comes time to input a password, you’ll get an alert notification on the phone so you can more easily key in passwords on a proper keyboard.
How to get the most from the trackpad
During video playback you can swipe down on the trackpad to access other features, like subtitles, or choosing an AirPlay speaker to send audio to.
To adjust the trackpad’s sensitivity, head to Settings > Remotes and Devices > Touch Surface Tracking you can change it.
Overall thoughts on 4K Apple TV
If you’re not ready to take the leap to 4K resolution yet, you won’t need a 4K version of Apple TV. For those that are, this is the best and easiest way to get access to the vast library of Apple content, thought it is pricey when compared to some other 4K streamers.
I’ve had an Apple TV streamer since streaming was in its infancy. In the Apple ecosystem, it works great for screen mirroring and sharing content as well as it gives me reliable access to all the shows and movies I want to watch.
Apple TV 4K sells for about $229 for the 32 gb version and $249 for the 64gb version. They’re available from Apple and Best Buy.