Why is the Apple TV 4K so expensive? – Geeky Review

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Best buy 4K TV

In a world of $50 streaming devices, the $180 Apple TV 4K seems like an outrageous purchase. But even the biggest Android nerds swoon over the Apple TV 4K when they see it in person. Its high price comes with premium features, and for some people, it’s the best streaming device available today.

Note: To be clear, this article focuses entirely on the Apple TV 4K (2021). The cheapest Apple TV (4th generation) came out in 2015 and is no longer worth buying at full price.

First, what is Apple TV?

Apple tried to produce television hardware throughout the 1990s. But products like the Macintosh TV were unsuccessful, probably due to their high price and lack of useful features. As people often say when half-describing the technology of the past, these early products were “ahead of their time.”

But with the rise of iTunes in the early 2000s, Apple suddenly had a reason to sell television hardware. It launched the original Apple TV set-top box in 2006, providing an easy way for customers to watch their iTunes collection of movies, shows and music videos on the big screen.

Modern versions of Apple TV focus more broadly on streaming, though they also integrate with services like Apple Arcade, Fitness+, and HomeKit. And notably, these streaming boxes run on Apple’s A-series chipsets, the same chipsets used in iPhones and iPads.

High-end, durable hardware

The Apple TV 4k streaming box.
Apple

Of all the streaming devices and set-top boxes, Apple TV 4K is the most powerful. And I’m not hyping things up here: Apple TV 4K runs on the A12X Bionic, a 2.5GHz chipset that originally debuted in the third-generation iPad Pro.

To put things in perspective, the Apple TV 4K outperforms many Windows laptops. With Apple software optimizations, this powerhouse provides a highly reliable system. It also enables a host of features, including 4K HDR 60FPS video with Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos surround sound, gaming support, smart home integration, AirPlay, and quick pairing with AirPods.

Now, you don’t need a ton of power to stream video, and some streaming devices offer these features for less than $70. But raw power isn’t the only benefit of Apple’s A12X Bionic chipset—device longevity is also a factor. .

Most streaming devices last two or three years before they become excruciatingly slow or unreliable. But because Apple TV 4K runs on powerful hardware, it will continue to work for a very long time. The fact that it runs an A12X Bionic chipset is just icing on the cake. Apple tends to support its iPhones and iPads for almost a decade now, and the same goes for Apple TV boxes.

Just look at the old fourth-generation Apple TV – it’s still on the market seven years after it was released. I wouldn’t suggest buying the old device, as the Apple TV 4K is a much better (and newer) option, but the proof is obviously in the pudding.

Power and longevity are, in my opinion, the best reasons to buy an Apple TV 4K. But I will note one thing: the similarly priced NVIDIA Shield TV also runs on respectable hardware and offers some unique features, such as AI enhancement.

A discrete transmission interface

The Apple TV interface, showing a banner just above a collection of apps.
Apple

The streaming interfaces you’re most familiar with, like Fire TV and Android TV, are a bit of a mess. They look very impressive, but they make apps harder to find by filling your screen with ads, promotions, and flashy junk.

Apple adopted a minimalist design language when building its streaming interface. Apps are neatly presented on the home screen, without crazy distractions or a flood of “recommended” content.

Obviously, Apple TV is not perfect. There’s a big banner ad above your apps, and sometimes recommended content makes it to the top row of apps. But for the most part, Apple TV avoids turning your TV into a billboard and makes it easy to accomplish simple tasks.

This simple interface makes Apple TV 4K a solid choice for people who want a clean streaming experience. However, I must point out that the Roku interface offers a similar level of simplicity at a much lower price.

For Binging All Content

AppleTV

With Apple TV, you can combine all your favorite TV shows and movies from different streaming apps, including Apple originals.

Advanced features and compatibility with Apple Arcade

What's new from Apple TV 4K "Adjust color balance" feature.
Apple

This is where things get really neat, especially if you’re deep in Apple’s “walled garden.” Apple TV 4K packs a ton of advanced features, many of which rely on an iPhone or one of Apple’s subscription services.

My favorite of these features, called “Adjust Color Balance,” turns your iPhone into a calibration tool for your TV. Simply place your iPhone (with Face ID) on the TV screen, wait a bit, and let Apple TV 4K calibrate itself with accurate color, brightness, and contrast ratios.

But I’m also a huge fan of typing on Apple TV 4K. Other devices force you to type using the remote, which sucks, but Apple TV 4K will automatically bring up a keyboard on your iPhone whenever you want to sign in or search through an app. (Obviously, you can also type with the remote. And since the remote has a microphone, you can use it to control Apple TV 4K with Siri.)

Apple Arcade running on an Apple TV 4k.
Apple

Also, Apple TV 4K supports AirPlay. This feature allows you to cast content from an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple Watch directly to the big screen. (To be fair, Roku devices and Vizio smart TVs also support AirPlay.)

And if you have an Apple Arcade subscription, you can use the Apple TV 4K to play games. It’s a neat feature that should appeal to families with young children, as it opens up a huge library of games without the need for a console.

I should point out that Apple Arcade has some great games for adults. there are Fantastican exclusive game developed by Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. And for the players who don’t get tired of The High OdysseyApple Arcade offers a unique version of the game with additional content.

Integration with Apple HomeKit and Fitness+

New colors of the Apple HomePod Mini
Apple

Like Amazon’s Fire TV devices, Apple TV 4K places a heavy emphasis on smart homes. In fact, it functions as a HomeKit hub and acts as a thread border router. It also comes with a microphone-equipped Siri Remote, which you can use to control the TV or other devices in your home.

Now HomeKit smart homes don’t require a hub. But using an Apple TV 4K or HomePod as a hub allows you to access the smart home remotely. And the Thread protocol that’s built into these devices actually increases smart home performance, reducing the delay between giving and executing a command.

Apple TV 4K also comes with some unique smart home features, like the ability to stream content from smart cameras.

Fitness + running on an Apple TV 4k.
Apple

And oddly enough, Apple TV 4K integrates seamlessly with Apple’s Fitness+ program. The Fitness+ subscription requires an Apple Watch, but it comes with some amazing guided workouts that you can watch on an iPhone, iPad, or Apple TV device.

Unless you’re working out on a treadmill, using an iPhone for guided video workouts isn’t very enjoyable. Apple TV 4K offers a much better experience, especially when doing yoga, core training, or dancing.

Should you buy an Apple TV?

A photo of the second generation Siri Remote.
Apple

The benefits of Apple TV 4K are hard to overstate. It’s the most powerful streaming device on the market, will receive nearly a decade of Apple support, and seamlessly integrates with the Apple ecosystem.

For many people, and especially Apple fans, these features are worth the $180 price tag. It certainly helps that the Apple TV 4K doubles as a HomeKit hub, which could eliminate the need to buy a $100 HomePod Mini. .

But spending $180 on a streaming box isn’t the most appealing idea. Other streaming products, like the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, Fire TV Stick 4K, and Chromecast with Google TV, are just $50 and offer content with 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. If those are the only features you’re really interested in, you might want to skip the Apple TV box.