Apple has today unveiled the next-generation of the Apple TV box. The new, upgraded Apple TV 4K features the 'A12 Bionic' SoC, a redesigned Siri Remote, HDR at high frame rate, HDMI 2.1, WiFi 6, and more.
Upgraded Apple TV 4K
Three years and seven months after the launch of Apple TV 4K, the company is launching an upgraded Apple TV 4K. It now uses the A12 Bionic SoC, up from A10X in the previous version.
Apple said that it comes with a redesigned Siri Remote, still in an aluminum enclosure and with the Siri button moved to the side of the remote. Siri will now also work in Austria, Ireland, and New Zealand.
- "The all-new Siri Remote features an innovative clickpad control that offers five-way navigation for better accuracy, and is also touch-enabled for the fast directional swipes Apple TV users love. The outer ring of the clickpad supports an intuitive circular gesture that turns it into a jog control," the company said. "The new Siri Remote also has a power button that controls a TV’s power, and another for mute, making it the only remote needed while enjoying TV."
HDR at HFR
The upgraded Apple TV 4K supports HDR at High Frame Rate (HFR), which Apple defines as 60 frames per second. The company added that it "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". There was no mention of 120fps support despite the references to 120Hz output found in the beta version of tvOS 14.5.
It will also support 60fps Dolby Vision from an iPhone 12 Pro. In addition, tvOS 14.5 brings support for both integer and fractional frame rate, i.e. 24.000 and 23.976fps. The same improvement is being added to the match feature in the existing Apple TV boxes with tvOS 14.5 next week.
- "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," said Bob Borchers, Apple’s VP of Worldwide Product Marketing. "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."
Auto-calibration via iPhone
A new feature built into the 2021 Apple TV 4K is automated color calibration via an iPhone.
- "Through an innovative color balance process, Apple TV works with iPhone and its advanced sensors to improve a television’s picture quality. Apple TV uses the light sensor in 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," the company said.
HDMI 2.1 - but why?
Apple's specifications list HDMI 2.1, although it is unclear in what form. 4K at 60fps, which was highlighted during the presentation, is within the boundaries of HDMI 2.0.
Also read: Apple TV 4K (2021) vs. Apple TV 4K (2017) vs. Apple TV HD
The box also offers Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi 6 (802.11ax), Wi-Fi Thread, and Bluetooth 5.0.
It supports all of the features of the previous versions including tvOS, video in up to 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos audio, wireless audio output to compatible speakers, match features, Apple Arcade gaming, AirPlay 2, Siri, Fitness+, HomeKit, and much more. The new tvOS 14.5 update will include support for PS5's DualSense and Xbox Series X/S controllers.
It will carry the same prices as before in 32GB ($179) and 64GB ($199) configurations. It can be ordered beginning Friday, April 30, with availability beginning in the second half of May in more than 30 countries. The redesigned Siri Remote is also compatible with the previous generations and will also be available separately for $59. The old Apple TV HD will continue to be available for $149 including the new Siri Remote.
Apple TV 4K 2021 - specifications
Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
Lightning connector for charging
Rechargeable battery providing months of battery life on a single charge (with typical daily usage)
Charging via USB to computer system or power adapter (sold separately)
Control your TV or receiver via IR or CEC.
Ports and Interfaces
802.11ax Wi‑Fi 6 with MIMO; simultaneous dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
Built-in power supply
A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture
H.264/HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60 fps, Main/Main 10 profile
HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5)/HDR10 (Main 10 profile) up to 2160p, 60 fps
H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, Simple profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV; AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound), and Dolby Atmos
HEIF, JPEG, GIF, TIFF