Faster Processor But It Doesn’t Boost Arcade
The biggest boost I was hoping for in the new Apple TV 4K was in gaming. Apple Arcade recently added several big titles that seem perfect for the big screen such as a special edition of NBA 2K21. In practice? A lot of work is still needed.
As someone who has played a fair amount of NBA 2K on consoles, playing the Arcade Edition on the Apple TV 4K felt like I went back to the Xbox 360 days. There were lags in gameplay and the graphics were just decent . There was no ability to run plays or complete direct passes to a particular player, while the presentation lacked all elements of a broadcasting team.
I wasn’t expecting graphics or performance to match next-gen consoles like the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series S and Series X, but I was expecting more than this. When Apple added a version of the A12 to the iPad Pro in 2018 it touted a comparison to the Xbox One S, and that type of performance would go a long way in justifying the $179 starting price this box commands for its 32GB version.
Other Arcade titles for more casual fans appeared to be in need of an update for the new Siri Remote. The older Apple TV remote — with its larger trackpad, accelerometer and gyroscope — was much easier to use when playing Super Impossible Road compared to the newer, smaller clickpad on the Siri Remote. How quickly developers update apps for this new remote is an open question.
What Is The Apple TV App
Since we live in a world of streaming where lots of things are available at any time, it can be a bit paralyzing to figure out what to watch. And thanks to so many different services, where to watch it.
Apple’s answer is a new app called “TV.” In many ways, it is the same as what you get when you open Hulu Plus or another similar app. You’ll see a variety of different shows and movies starting with those you’ve recently watched and expanding to suggested titles. The difference is that these videos are coming from a variety of , like Hulu Plus, HBO Now, and your movie collection in iTunes.
The TV app gathers this content in one place so you can easily browse through all of it. It even has a Sports channel that shows live events including the current scores. Unfortunately, Netflix isn’t part of Apple’s TV app, so you’ll still need to check that app independently.
Quickly Switch Between Apps
Jared Newman / IDG
Apple TV is one of the rare streaming devices with a recent apps menu. To bring it up, just double-tap the home button, then scroll left to switch back to a previous app. You can also swipe up on any app to remove and force-close it, which comes in handy if the app is misbehaving.
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How To Set Up An Apple TV And Apple TV 4k
Just unboxed a brand new Apple TV or Apple TV 4K? Youre in for a treat. While expensive, the set-top streamer is one of the best in its class, offering access to thousands of streaming services including Disney+ and Netflix which can be controlled through Siri right out of the box. But while Apples intelligent voice assistant is capable of handling just about any task you can imagine, theres one thing it cant help with: The setup process. So if you hit a bump in the road to streaming bliss, you can always turn to this guide.
Before we dive into the instructions, youll need to assemble a few things:
- An HDMI cable, or two if you want to connect to an A/V receiver or soundbar first
- An Ethernet cable if you dont have Wi-Fi
- An iOS device like an iPhone or iPad is recommended if you own one
Run An Hdmi Cable To Apple TV And Soundbar
You might already know that Apple devices do not provide an HDMI cable. Therefore you will need to purchase separately, without any concerns all HDMI cables will work fine.
So once you have an HDMI cable on your hand. Plug one of its ends to the Apple TV device and plug the second end into your soundbar device .
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What Can You Do With An Apple TV
Watch Streaming Videos In addition to Apples own digital video options, the device also supports most of the other top entertainment providers: Netflix, Amazon Video, Hulu, HBO GO/HBO NOW, WatchESPN, PBS, YouTube, etc.
NOTE: If you purchase a new Apple TV 4K, you get a free year of Apple TV+, the streaming service from the company launched in 2019. After the free year its $4.99/month.
Unfortunately, Apple doesnt have a list of apps it supports on its website. If you want to know if a particular streaming content provider is available, your best bet is to Google the name of the provider plus Apple TV.
Listen to Streaming Audio Again, its not surprising that the Apple TV supports Apple Music and it also has built-in Pandora and Sirius XM apps. For other music services like Spotify, youll need to use the AirPlay feature.
Play Games The Apple TV App Store has a whole slew of games you can download to the device.
Use Miscellaneous Apps Like with games, the App Store has a bunch of other types of apps: social media, photo sharing, media server, shopping, weather.
Cast Video and Audio from a Mac, iPhone or iPad Im not sure what version of iOS introduced AirPlay, but if your Mac or iOS device has that feature, you can use it to send streaming video and audio content to your TV through the Apple TV. Unfortunately, if you only have Windows and Android devices, youre out of luck.
Is There Any Reason To Buy The Non
Even if you never plan on upgrading to a 4K television, the upgrade in processing speed, graphics performance , and internet speed are easily worth the $30 extra you will pay for the 4K version.
The main reason to consider the non-4K version is if you’re not as interested in the various apps and games you can download from the App Store. But in this case, you may be better off looking into cheaper solutions such as a Roku stick.
You have two choices of storage levels in the Apple TV 4K: 32 GB and 64 GB. The difference is $20 and it seems silly to not spend the additional $20 to get more storage, but Apple has never given a compelling reason why you should spend the additional money.
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What Can Apple TV Do
Apple TV turns your television into a “smart” TV. You can rent movies or stream your collection from iTunes, stream movies and TV shows from apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, stream music through Apple Music and Pandora, listen to podcasts, and even use it to replace your traditional cable TV subscription with services like Sling TV.
The newest version of the hardware, Apple TV 4K, has the same fast processor that powers the iPad Pro, which makes it as powerful as most laptop computers. It also has a graphics processor with enough power to turn it into a game console.
Apple’s streaming box is also part of the Apple ecosystem, which means it works great alongside your iPhone, iPad, and Mac. You can view your iCloud Photo Library on your TV, including the “Memories” photo album videos the iPad and iPhone create automatically from your photo albums. You can also use AirPlay to throw your iPhone or iPad screen to your TV, letting you interact with any app on your smartphone or tablet using your big-screen television.
Pair The Remote Again
If the problem isnt just a dead remote, pair it again manually using the steps below:
Step 1: Check that your Apple TV has power.
You should see a small, white LED illuminated on the front. If not, unplug the power cable, wait 6 seconds, and then plug it back in. You should now see a shining, white LED.
Step 2: Make sure your TV is turned on, set to the correct HDMI port, and displaying the Apple TV home screen.
Step 3: Stand at least 3 inches away from the Apple TV unit, point the remote toward the TV, and then press and hold the Menu and Volume Up buttons for 5 seconds.
Step 4: If prompted, place the remote on top of the Apple TV device.
You should see a message confirming that your Apple TV remote was successfully paired. If you dont, and if the Apple TV still doesnt respond to button presses, continue to the next step.
Step 5: Unplug the Apple TV unit, wait 6 seconds, and then plug it back in .
Step 6: Repeat steps 2 to 4.
If, after trying all of these steps, your Apple TV remote still wont control your Apple TV, it could be defective. Unfortunately, this means youll need to call Apple support and/or head to the nearest Apple Store.
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How To Set Up A New Apple TV 4k
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There’s more involved in properly setting up the new Apple TV 4K than just connecting it to your TV set and turning it on even after you’ve followed Apple’s own setup steps. Here’s what you need to know for the smoothest and most complete set up possible.
Yes, you can just plug in a new Apple TV 4K, follow the prompts and it works. There are now more options than before, such as setting the color balance to better suit your TV set, but broadly speaking, it’s still simple to set up.
It’s so easy to set up, that going straight from the box to watching something on your TV can be a matter of a few minutes. Except it doesn’t really end quite there, especially if you’re moving from an older Apple TV.
Apple wants you to watch everything on an Apple TV 4K and through the Apple TV app, but you can’t. Netflix won’t work in it, for instance.
So you end up treating the Apple TV app as you do Netflix’s or anyone else’s. You go into it when you want to watch Apple TV+ and you go into Netflix’s when you want to watch that.
Except with a new Apple TV 4K, if you press the Home button on the new Siri Remote, you don’t go to the home screen. You go into the Apple TV app instead.
This means that even after you’ve set it all up, you still have more stuff to do.
Apple TV 4k Audio Output Settings
Once the devices are linked together. Now lets set up settings from the TV screen.
Turn your TV screen on. Make sure its now supporting the Apple TV 4k device that youve just linked. Most probably it will be working fine on your side too as I had no issues there. Use your Apple TV remote, press the menu button. And get into the settings tab.
Here the settings that youll need to alter in order to make your soundbar work with your Apple 4k TV.
- Settings > Video and Audio > Audio Format >
- Settings > Video and Audio > Audio Format > select Dolby Digital 5.1.
- AUDIO OUTPUT. Settings > Video and Audio > Audio Output >
- Settings > Video and Audio > Audio Format > Change Format >
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Use Siris Playback Commands
Jared Newman / IDG
Once youve picked a movie or show, you can use voice commands for playback. Ask to rewind or fast forward by a specific amount of time, or say What did they say? to jump back by 10 seconds with closed captions temporarily enabled. You can also say Who stars in this? to see a list of actors.
Th Generation Apple TV And Below
1. Connect the AppleTV to your Mac via USB-C
2. Open Apple Configurator
3. The AppleTV should show up automatically under All Devices
- Alternatively, go to Apple Configurator â Paired Devices and click Pair
- Enter the code that appears on your TV screen
- Your device should be paired to your laptop and show up under All Devices
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Move The Position Of Apps
If you dont like the order of apps on your home screen, just move them around.
Navigate to the app you want to move and press and hold the touch pad on the Siri Remote, just like you would with your finger on your iPhone screen. The app will start to wiggle on your home screen, and youll be able to drag ro reposition it.
Add Up Next To Your Home Screen
Jared Newman / IDG
Even without the TV app, you can still quickly access movies and shows youre currently watching straight from the Apple TV home screen. Start by making sure the TV app has a spot in the top row, then head to Settings > Apps > TV. Click Top Shelf in this menu so it says Up Next, then return to the home screen. When you highlight the TV app, youll see a row with your most recently-watched movies and shows.
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What Apps And Shows Are In 4k
Most new movies, especially big blockbusters, are going to be in 4K. You can find these in a few places: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu and the Movies Anywhere app.
You may not have heard of Vudu but it’s a pretty major one, because you’ll be able to watch Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars movies in 4K on it. See, Disney won’t let Apple host 4K Disney movies in the iTunes store â or most other people, for that matter. The reason Vudu gets a pass is because it’s a significant part of Movies Anywhere, the digital movie locker Disney is pushing.
Netflix has 4K if you’ve got a $15.99 Ultra HD plan, and its 4K series and movie offering is getting better. The biggest source of 4K stuff is going to be the iTunes store though.
Even better, it’s got easy labels to let you know whether it’s 4K, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos or HDR10. Apple’s iTunes is one of the few places where you can get 4K, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos movies and TV shows. Plus, Apple will upgrade your old HD stuff to 4K Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for free if it’s available.
So if you bought the HD version of Creed a couple years ago, Apple will give you the 4K edition for no added cost. That means, if you own an Apple TV 4K, you’ve all of a sudden got 4K copies of whatever movies you have in your iTunes collection.
The Apple TV is one of our favorite streaming boxes, bringing a wide range of TV and movie services to an intuitive interface. We wish it had a better remote control, but that’s our only moan.
Continue The Setup Process With Your Ios Device Or Set Up Manually
To automatically add your Apple ID and Wi-Fi settings to your Apple TV, choose Set Up with Device. Then unlock your iOS device, hold it next to your Apple TV and follow the on-screen steps on your iOS device and Apple TV.
If you don’t want to set up your Apple TV with your iOS device, choose Set Up Manually. Then follow the on-screen steps on your Apple TV to connect to your home Wi-Fi network and sign in with your Apple ID.
If you don’t have an Apple ID, you can create one. If you have forgotten your Apple ID, find out what to do.
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Set Up A Bluetooth Device
Apple TV can support several Bluetooth devices simultaneously, including the Siri Remote, a Bluetooth keyboard, headphones, speakers, and up to four Made for iOS Bluetooth controllers. To pair up a Bluetooth device with your Apple TV, put it in pairing mode and open the Settings app. Scroll down to Remotes and Devices, and select Bluetooth. Once your device appears, select it from the list and enter the pairing passkey .
Same Box And Basic Features
Whereas the remote got an overhaul, the Apple TV 4K’s actual box looks virtually identical to the square black puck of its predecessor. There are no new ports along its glossy sides and the rear of the device still houses ports for power, HDMI-out and Ethernet.
The Apple TV runs on the latest version of the TVOS software, with the same tile-heavy interface that has been featured on Apple TVs for years. It will work with Apple services like Arcade, Apple TV Plus, Apple Music and Fitness Plus and the software also supports all the major streaming services including Netflix, Disney Plus, HBO Max, Hulu, , YouTube TV and Sling TV.
Setting up the device was simple. My iPhone quickly acknowledged it with a pop-up appearing to sync my iCloud account and Wi-Fi settings to the Apple TV. The device even pulled in apps from my old Apple TV, but I still needed to manually log back into apps like Netflix and Disney Plus.
Under the hood, the Apple TV 4K has received a sizable boost in the form of an upgrade to the company’s A12 Bionic processor. The older box, which was first introduced in 2017, ran on what’s now an aging A10X chip.
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Apps opened quickly and at times seemed to be a bit faster compared to the older Apple TV 4K. But it is not like they struggled on the prior box.
The real test will be in how the device handles more intensive tasks like gaming which for now still leaves plenty to be desired.
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