Apple TV sharpens up with 4K and HDR
The iPhone X is the most attention-grabbing piece of news out of Apple's press conference today, but the tech giant is refreshing some of its other devices too. Among those is the first hardware upgrade to the Apple TV in two years, improving the visuals of the little streaming box with 4K resolution and High Dynamic Range (HDR).
Earlier models topped out at 1080p HD, but the new Apple TV cranks things up to 2160p 4K. The device detects the capabilities of the TV it's connected to and will automatically optimize the settings to output the highest resolution it can handle. To squeeze more impressive visuals out of older content, a high-performance 4K video scaler is built into the device to upscale HD content. On the HDR front, the Apple TV 4K supports both of the current leading formats, Dolby Vision and HDR10.
To process all the extra information that 4K HDR content contains, the brains of the Apple TV 4K have been upgraded to the A10X Fusion chip, which is currently powering the newest iPad Pro. In addition to the 32 GB model, the Apple TV 4K will have the option of 64 GB of onboard storage. The box itself and the remote look unchanged from the previous model, with the only difference Apple mentions being a new white circle around the Menu button.
Content-wise, 4K and HDR movies and TV shows can be found on iTunes, with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video following soon. If a user already owns a HD version of a video on iTunes and a 4K version becomes available, Apple says they get an automatic upgrade to the higher-resolution copy at no charge.
The Apple TV app is getting an update as well. Sports fans will be able to watch games and get live updates by asking Siri, and follow along with on-screen notifications. AirPlay 2 support will be added later this year, allowing the Apple TV to connect to compatible speakers, and the app itself will be rolled out to more countries: Australia and Canada will receive it in September, while France, Germany, Norway, Sweden and the UK will be getting it by the end of 2017.
Preorders for both models of the Apple TV 4K open on September 15, with the device going on sale on September 22. The 32 GB model will run for US$179, will the 64 GB one will cost $199.