Apple Announces New Apple TV 4K Device With High-Frame-Rate HDR and Dolby Vision

Apple April 20 announced the next generation of Apple TV 4K, delivering high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision.

The new Apple TV 4K features an A12 Bionic chip that provides a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding and audio processing, according to Apple. The Siri Remote also has a new design.

The new Apple TV 4K will be available starting at $179 (U.S.) from apple.com, in the Apple Store app, and at Apple Store locations. Apple TV 4K is also available through Apple Authorized Resellers and select pay TV providers.

Customers can order the new Apple TV 4K beginning April 30, with availability beginning in the second half of May in more than 30 countries and regions, including the United States. Apple TV HD with the new Siri Remote will be available for $149. The new Siri Remote will be available separately for $59, and is compatible with the previous-generation Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD.

“Apple TV 4K is in a category of its own, leveraging a deep integration of Apple hardware, software, and services that delivers a massive upgrade to any TV for the very best cinematic experience,” Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of worldwide product marketing, said in a statement. “With the A12 Bionic and the all-new Siri Remote, Apple TV 4K lets customers enjoy their favorite shows, movies, and more in the highest quality, with simple and intuitive controls. And of course, Apple TV 4K offers easy access to Apple services, along with thousands of apps on the App Store for even more entertainment options.”

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With A12 Bionic, Apple TV 4K now supports high frame rate HDR (high dynamic range) and Dolby Vision video, enabling fast-moving action at 60 frames per second (fps) to play more smoothly and appear more lifelike, according to the Apple announcement. Apple is working with leading video providers around the world, including Fox Sports, NBCUniversal, Paramount+, Red Bull TV and Canal+, as they begin to stream in high-frame-rate HDR. With high-frame-rate support in AirPlay, videos shot on iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision on the new Apple TV 4K.

Through a new color balance process, Apple TV works with iPhone and its advanced sensors to improve a television’s picture quality, according to the announcement. Apple TV uses the light sensor in the iPhone to compare the color balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide. Using this data, Apple TV automatically tailors its video output to deliver much more accurate colors and improved contrast — without customers ever having to adjust their television settings, according to Apple.

The new Siri remote for Apple TV

The new Siri Remote features a clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy and is also touch-enabled for fast directional swipes. The outer ring of the clickpad supports a circular gesture that turns it into a jog control, which can be used for finding a scene in a movie or show. The new Siri Remote also has a power button that controls a TV’s power and another for mute to eliminate the need for other remots. Using Siri, customers can search for specific shows or movies, control smart home accessories, check sports scores or the weather and more, according to Apple. Siri now works on Apple TV in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand, joining the 13 countries and regions that already support Siri.

Apple TV 4K runs tvOS. AirPlay on Apple TV 4K lets customers effortlessly share videos, school projects and other content from their iPhone, iPad or Mac directly to the TV. Videos shot on iPhone 12 Pro can be displayed in full 60-fps Dolby Vision with high frame rate support in AirPlay. Apple TV 4K can be used as a home hub to control HomeKit accessories, and allows customers to view HomeKit video cameras and doorbell notifications on the television screen. With multiuser support on Apple TV 4K, family members can see personalized recommendations for shows, movies and music, access their purchased apps in the App Store, or play games on Apple Arcade.

For the first time, AppleCare+ will be available for Apple TV, providing three years of technical support and additional hardware coverage, including up to two incidents of accidental damage protection every 12 months.

Apple Previews New Operating System for Apple TV 4K, Announces Deal With Charter

Apple June 4 previewed the tvOS 12 operating system for Apple TV 4K with support for Dolby Atmos audio, new features to easily access shows and movies, and aerial screensavers shot from space. The company also announced that Charter Communications, the second-largest cable operator in the United States, will begin offering Apple TV 4K to its customers.

Apple TV 4K debuted last fall. The service offers customers the largest collection of 4K HDR movies, according to Apple, including free 4K HDR upgrades to previously purchased movies in customers’ iTunes libraries.

“This fall, iTunes will be home to the largest collection of Dolby Atmos-supported movies anywhere, and these titles will also include Dolby Atmos audio for free,” according to an Apple press release. “With tvOS 12, Apple TV 4K will be the only streaming player both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified, delivering the highest quality cinematic experience of stunning 4K HDR visuals and immersive sound that flows all around in three-dimensional space.”

Also, later this year, Charter customers in nearly 50 million households will have access to live channels and tens of thousands of on-demand programs via an all-new Spectrum TV app on their Apple TV 4K, iPhone and iPad, integrated with Siri and the Apple TV App, Apple reported. In addition, as part of this collaboration, Charter will be offering iPhones and iPads to customers as they grow their mobile presence. Charter joins AT&T’s DirecTV Now in the United States, CANAL+ in France and Salt in Switzerland, which have begun offering customers Apple TV 4K with their services.

The Apple TV App on iPhone, iPad and Apple TV allows customers to find and watch TV shows and movies from more than 100 participating video apps in 10 countries, according to Apple. Single sign-on for Apple TV and iOS has allowed users to sign in once to get access to all the video apps available through their cable subscription. With tvOS 12, Apple further simplifies the authentication process with “zero sign-on.” Apple TV detects the user’s broadband network and automatically signs them in to all the supported apps they receive through their subscription — no typing required, according to Apple. Zero sign-on begins with Charter later this year and will expand to other providers over time.

In collaboration with the International Space Station National Lab and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, Apple unveiled new aerials shot from space by NASA astronauts, “so Apple TV customers can enjoy even more stunning scenes filmed in 4K HDR,” according to Apple. Aerial screensavers will also be more interactive, allowing viewers to see the location information and swipe between dozens of aerials, the company noted.

Additional tvOS 12 features for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th generation make it easier for customers to access shows and movies, according to Apple:

— With iOS 12, users can securely AutoFill passwords from iPhone and iPad to Apple TV to easily sign in to Apple TV apps.

— The Apple TV Remote will be automatically added to Control Center on iPhone or iPad for Apple TV users, giving users quick access to Apple TV controls.

— Home control systems such as Control4, Crestron and Savant can be used to control Apple TV, including using Siri for voice search and control.

“The arrival of Dolby Atmos on Apple TV, ‘zero sign-on,’ a deal with Charter Spectrum, a new TV OS and, perhaps more tangentially, Siri support for third-party apps, all point towards an evolutionary product, rather than a revolutionary one, which we have become accustomed to from Apple over the years,” read a Futuresource Consulting blog in response to the announcements.

Futuresource estimates that there were approximately 21 million Apple TVs in use worldwide at the end of 2017, approaching half of these in the United States.

“Apple TV continues to add features, build partnerships and is clearly striving to offer the best quality digital streamer experience there is — albeit at a higher price than its competitors,” read the Futuresource blog. “Service partnerships will therefore be key to driving the attractiveness of the product and a channels approach, akin or better than Amazon Channels and Roku’s equivalent, will also be hugely important if Apple still wants to become the main entertainment hub in the home — something which Amazon arguably has gained a lead in.”

The new tvOS will be available this fall as a free software update for Apple TV 4K and Apple TV 4th generation. For more information, visit apple.com/apple-tv-4K.