Apple has just released its 3rd generation of the Apple TV 4K, a product that allows you to turn your TV into a smart TV and gain access to Apple Fitness+, and Apple Original TV shows and movies. Here’s my hands on, after a week of use.
The Apple TV 4K 2022 edition looks the same as the last version but has been slightly reduced in size. The internals, however, have been seriously upgraded. The new device has the A15 Bionic chip, meaning apps now launch faster, especially in comparison to the Apple TV HD models. Apple has also been able to remove the internal fan as this one is much more energy efficient. Even better, the A15 chip allows support for HDR+ – a first for Apple TV. And sports fans will love this: via the Apple TV 4K you can watch four streams of sports content at the same time! I tried this out on Kayo.
Apple TV experience
If you’re in the Apple ecosystem and wanting smart features on your TV, such as access to all the streaming services and digital free-to-air channels, this could be a great investment for you. The Apple TV also gives you the ability to display images from your Photos library, through iCloud, listen to Apple Music and do workouts on the big screen with a Fitness+ subscription. I love Fitness+ workouts, and even though it’s an additional cost, I find it’s a great way to experience group fitness classes if you’re a little introverted.
What’s more, if you have an Apple Arcade subscription you’ll have access to a wide variety of games including some of my favourites – NBA 2K23 Arcade Edition, Cooking Mama: Cuisine!, Sonic Racing and Oceanhorn 2. Some games can be played with the included remote, but the Apple TV also has controller support. You can pair a variety of bluetooth controllers with it, including a PlayStation or Xbox controller. Some of the games are so immersive that it feels like you’re playing on a dedicated gaming console. Though a lot of the games do seem geared towards casual gamers or kids, they’re really fun nonetheless.
Connect AirPods with Apple TV
A hidden feature of the Apple TV 4K is that you can pair wireless earbuds with it (so as not to disturb other household members). I tried pairing my new AirPods Pro 2nd generation with the Apple TV 4K and as soon as I opened their case in my living room, the Apple TV recognised them and paired instantly. If this doesn’t work you can go into settings and find audio outputs and connect a device that way.
Even better is the audio experience using AirPods Pro 2. I tried watching an episode of the series Loot, starring Maya Ruldolph, and I thought the AirPods weren’t even connected because their spatial audio and transparency mode was so impressive. The sound quality was so excellent I could have been watching TV via my soundbar and subwoofer. By the way, I also recommend watching Morning Wars and Prehistoric Planet – these are Apple Originals available through the Apple TV+ subscription.
While there is a remote in the box, you can also use your iPhone as a remote. And it’s even more helpful when the Apple TV offers the ability to input usernames and passwords for a streaming service login via your iPhone’s keyboard. Still, the Apple TV remote is awesome as it has a dedicated Siri button and you can ask Siri things like “rewind 10 seconds”. More excitingly, in the near future Siri will be able to offer you personalised content recommendations based on what you’ve watched and you’ll be able to ask Siri for suggestions by saying “What should I watch?”
Is it worth it?
Overall I think the Apple TV 4K is an awesome device. If you don’t already have a smart TV or any other physical streaming service plug-ins and you’re immersed in the Apple ecosystem, this is probably the best option for you. Last year’s Apple TV was $279 for a 64GB model but this year the price has been reduced to $219. Sadly it doesn’t come with an HDMI cable in the box, but hopefully you already have one.