Apple TV 4K Review: Steps to a 4K HDR future

One of the best set-top boxes just got better

Apple TV 4K

The Pros

  • One of the best 4K HDR set-top boxes out there
  • 4K HDR set-up is simple and intuitive
  • Slow-down and lag issues are gone

The Cons

  • Expensive when compared to competitors
  • Not much 4K video available or content with HDR
  • Siri Remote is still frustrating

I’ve used the 4th Generation Apple TV as my main platform for watching video content for the last two years.

My experience hasn’t always been smooth during that time, however. I’ve run into issues with the Siri Remote disconnecting, finicky menus and have also experienced bouts of tvOS lagging, and in some cases, completely stalling.

“Apple’s new 4K-capable Apple TV is a necessary and expected update for the tech giant.”

Some of these issues are my fault since I often opt to run Apple’s beta tvOS software, as well as switch regions to access streaming services that are not officially available in Canada (for research purposes, of course). In general, though, tvOS has never felt as solid as the company’s other operating systems.

Apple’s new 4K-capable Apple TV is a necessary and expected update for the tech giant. In many ways, this is also Apple playing catch-up with its main competitors in the space in terms of 4K and high dynamic range (HDR) support, two burgeoning forms of video technology that are set to skyrocket in popularity over the next few years.

Apple TV 4K UI screenshot

For instance, Google’s Chromecast Ultra was released last November and supports 4K content as well as the two main competing HDR formats, HDR10 and Dolby Vision, all for just $90 CAD. The same can be said about Roku’s $89 CAD Premiere+ Streaming box, which supports 4K, as well as HDR10 and Dolby Vision, the industry’s two competing high-dynamic range formats.

Now, the new Apple TV 4K supports both these new video formats as well, but only if you have a television capable of outputting that level of visual fidelity.

Here’s what’s new

Apple TV 4K

I’ll start this review by stating that if you don’t have a 4K TV, or a 4K TV that supports HDR, there’s very little reason to upgrade over the current iteration of the Apple TV.

That said, the new Apple TV 4K is significantly more powerful than its predecessor thanks to the set-top box’s A10X Fusion processor — the same silicon featured in the recently released 10.5-inch iPad Pro — which Apple claims features two-times faster CPU performance, and four-times faster graphics rendering.

The new Apple TV also makes the HDR and 4K set-up process simpler than other devices I’ve used in the past, by automatically outputting the highest resolution, which means you won’t have to spend time messing around in the set-top box’s settings.

“Finding an affordable television that supports true wide colour gamut 4K is a much more difficult task.”

For example, when I hooked up my Apple TV 4K to my television, a notification instantly popped up asking me if I wanted to test out HDR compatibility. If you click ‘yes,’ the screen flickers black for a second, then if your TV set-up is compatible with high-dynamic range, the settings permanently change. The entire process took only a few minutes for me to setup and was more simple than I expected.

Finding an affordable television that supports true wide colour gamut 4K is a much more difficult task, however.

Apart from the new processor, Siri’s ability to universally search content seems improved, though this is likely more due to tvOS11 than the actual set-top box (I’ll be talking more about tvOS11 later).

Apple TV 4K Siri Remote

Other improvements include a gigabit ethernet port, a surprisingly useful raised white ring around the Siri Remote’s Menu button that makes it easier to find, and support for automatically connecting AirPods. The set-top box also comes with either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage, includes Bluetooth 5.0 and supports HDMI 2.0a out of the box, which is a good move on Apple’s part (more on this later).

In a controversial move that makes very little sense, the Remote Loop is still sold separately for $17 CAD, which is ridiculous.

As an amusing side note, the Apple TV 4K’s UI, as well as its screen savers, are rendered completely in 4K, complete with wide colour gamut support — Apple claims this is a first for any set-top box.

tvOS 4’s incremental refinements

Apple TV 4K TV App

In my experience, the most significant updates present in tvOS11 relate to stability improvements. While I did encounter a few instances of lag when rapidly multitasking with 4K HDR video running, Apple’s updated set-top box operating system feels significantly more polished than tvOS10.

Apple has also added a number of interesting enhancements to the OS, most notably easy access to iOS Apple TV remote functionality via iOS 11’s new Control Centre. As someone who has a love-hate relationship with the Siri Remote — I think it’s great for games and very little else — this is good news.

Easy access to the remote app allows me to quickly type in passwords as well as navigate the Apple TV 4K’s menu when the Siri Remote inevitably falls between my couch cushions and disappears. The remote has also been updated with a new 3-axis gryo that Apple says it expects video game developers to take advantage of.

Apple TV 4K

AirPlay 2 has been added with tvOS 4 too, though the new protocol’s improvements likely won’t become useful for most until the HomePod is released. Another minor, but still great quality of life improvement is the automatic switching of dark and light user interface modes based on the time of day.

Finally, Apple has removed the USB-C port located on the rear of the Apple TV, likely in an effort to prevent flashing custom firmware on the device. While I rarely utilized the port, it was useful for my review of the 4th Generation Apple TV and allowed me to capture original screenshots and video of the operating system.

TV App comes to Canada

Apple TV TV app screenshot

Apple’s interesting but ultimately not that useful TV App has also unexpectedly made its way to Canada.

The overarching idea behind Apple’s TV app is to combine all of the disparate apps you watch content into one interface, and to some extent, this is exactly what it does.

For example, the ‘Up Next’ section displays movies you’ve purchased or rented, surfacing the latest episode automatically. Content is also hand-picked by a team of experts, similar to Apple’s new App Store, and based on the apps and services you’re currently subscribed to — so it isn’t constantly trying to sell you new streaming platforms like a used car salesman.

Other sections include new releases on iTunes, both television shows and movies, as well as the curated ‘Discover a New Favourite’ section.

Unfortunately, in the Canadian market, the only apps currently included in the TV App are as follows: City, FX Now, Treehouse, CBC, ICI Tous.tv and Crave TV. As you’ve likely noticed, Netflix isn’t included in this list, which is a glaring omission on both Apple and Netflix’s part, especially in the Canadian market where we have so few video streaming options. 

“Depending on what apps you spend most of your time using on the platform, it likely won’t be very useful to you.”

Other apps like Sportsnet Now, unfortunately, aren’t included with the service, though Apple mentioned it could come in the future. Additionally, Apple says that a dedicated Amazon Prime Video Apple TV app is coming to Canada with 4K content by the end of the year, though it’s unclear if it will also be included in the TV app.

Apple’s TV app is also available on iOS and syncs across the company’s tvOS operating system. While the app is a decent effort and it’s great to see it come to Canada, depending on what apps you spend most of your time using on the platform, it likely won’t be very useful to you.

So what’s HDR10 and Dolby Vision?

Apple TV 4K Dolby Vision Wonder Woman

Let me be clear, HDR10 and Dolby Vision are a mess right now, so I’ll take a moment here to break down the current issues surrounding getting high dynamic range running on the Apple TV 4K, as well as any device that supports the new technology.

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to improved contrast, better brightness levels and a wider colour palette. This helps create a more life-like picture with video games, movies and television shows and improves picture quality more than even pixel increase to 4K does. Think of it this way: while 4K adds more pixels to your screen, HDR aims to make those pixels look better by adding better, richer colour.

Currently, HDR is available in two competing formats, HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Like the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD war of yesteryear, different manufacturers are backing these two competing formats, with some companies opting to stay neutral and support both formats.
In the case of the Apple TV and the tech giant’s iTunes Movies and TV app, select content supports both Dolby Vision and HDR10, along with 4K, and the same can be said about Netflix’s original content. It’s worth noting that while the streaming service’s 4K with HDR original offerings only feature the Dolby Vision badge, they also support HDR10. In the case of iTunes, Apple says that it leaves HDR support up to studios, but that both forms of high dynamic range are supported (movies and shows typically only feature the Dolby Vision badge, just like Netflix).

HDR10

On a technical level, HDR10 features up to 4,000 nits of peak brightness, with a current target of 1,000 nits, 10-bit colour depth and the Rec.2020 colour space.

HDR10 is also the format supported by the Xbox One and Playstation 4.

Dolby Vision

Dolby vision on the other hand, supports up to 10,000 nits of peak brightness, with a current 4,000 nit peak brightness target and 12-bit colour depth capable of the rec-2020 colour space. What this means is that Dolby Vision is the brighter, more colourful HDR option, though this also means that typically only very expensive high-end TVs are able to meet its strict quality requirements.

Both formats, Dolby Vision and HDR10, are supported by a wide range of television manufacturers, including LG, Vizio, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, Hisense and more. Hunting down a television that supports both versions of HDR, essentially future-proofing your viewing experience, is a difficult task.

“The HDR mess gets increasingly complicated when you throw a surround sound receiver in the mix.”

I eventually ended up purchasing Vizio’s well-received mid-range 2017 50-inch M-Series XLED TV, since I was looking for a device that supports both HDR and Dolby Vision, but that also wouldn’t force me to take out a loan to afford.

The HDR mess gets increasingly complicated when you throw a surround sound receiver in the mix. You first need a receiver that features HDMI 2.0a ports that are HDCP 2.2 compliant. Many receivers that are a few years old and feature HDMI 2.0 have been updated to support HDMI 2.0a, though this will depend on your manufacturer.

In my case, my Pioneer VSX-830 receiver was updated to support HDR via a firmware release, but not the HDR10 or Dolby Vision standards. I was able to get the HDR10 badge to display on the set-top box when hooked up through my receiver, but clarified with Pioneer that the picture wasn’t actually real HDR10 (confusing, I know). If I run the Apple TV 4K directly through my television, however, I’m able to watch content with Dolby Vision, and HDR10 when a special mode is activated on one of my TV’s HDMI ports.

4K content with HDR

Apple TV 4K

It’s still early days for 4K, let alone ultra HD content with support for HDR. Furthermore, compared to our counterparts in the U.S., platforms that actually feature this content are difficult to come by.

While the situation is bound to improve over the next few months and years, as it stands right now only Apple’s iTunes Movie and TV platform, as well as Netflix, feature support for 4K content. If you’re interested in HDR, that selection becomes even slimmer.

“It’s still early days for 4K let alone ultra HD content with support for high-dynamic range.”

Examples of iTunes movies that support 4K and HDR currently include: Wonder Woman, Logan, Ghost in a Shell, Arrival, Lego Batman, Fantastic Beats, Suicide Squad and The Martian, as well as a couple dozen more films. The easiest way to find iTunes’ 4K library is to ask Siri to “find movies that support 4K and HDR,” bringing up a list of movies (there’s also a dedicated 4K section in the store right now).

While probably 90 percent of the results feature both 4K and HDR, there are a few movies thrown into the results that are strangely only in HD, including Magic Mike XXL, Deadpool, Independence Day Resurgence, and a couple of other titles.

What’s more interesting is that Apple is offering free upgraded from 1080p to 4K for previously purchased content that supports the higher resolution, a move that likely required significant negotiations with movie studios.

Apple TV 4K Defenders Netflix screenshot

Though in the current digital era, Apple certainly has significantly more influence and pull than it did even just a few years ago. That said, it seems Apple wasn’t able to secure standardized 4K pricing, with the cost varying significantly across the digital retail platform, typically ranging between $19.99 CAD and $24.99 for purchase and most rentals costing $6.99.

On the Netflix side of things, it’s really only mostly the platform’s original content like American Vandal, Narcos, Love, Disjointed and Wet Hot American Summer Ten Years Later that can be streamed in 4Kthough there’s a growing selection of 4K content with HDR like Okjia, Fire Chasers, Death Note and The Do-over.

Finally, the Apple TV 4K also doesn’t support 4K or HDR content via tvOS’ YouTube app, which is a bizarre move on Apple’s part given the plethora of UHD content present on the platform.

Update 10/21/17: While the Apple TV 4K doesn’t currently support Dolby Atmos, support for the relatively new surround sound is coming, according to Apple.

An expensive proposition

Given the Apple TV 4K's $249 CAD starting price tag, the set-top box is a steep proposition. To put the set-top box in perspective with the rest of the industry, it's significantly better than the Roku Premiere+ and the Chromecast Ultra, and cheaper than the new Nvidia Shield, which costs $279 in Canada.

The Android TV-based Nivdia Shield is a more versatile and customizable device, allowing for a range of piracy focused plugins via Kodi, as well as standard Android apps. The selection of legitimate streaming apps doesn’t match what the Apple TV 4K offers (Amazon Prime Video is available on Android TV and not the Apple TV though). For anyone who wants to keep their content consumption on the legal side of the equation, and appreciates the work creators put into the television shows and movies they watch, the Apple TV 4K remains the most capable and robust option on the market.

As a side note, while I've always found that the Apple TV holds a tremendous amount of gaming potential, particularly when paired with a compatible Bluetooth controller, video games have been relegated to side-attraction status, though Apple did show off an interesting new title from That Game Company called Sky for which the company likely paid a large sum.

Still, unless you own a 4K TV, or more importantly, a 4K TV with HDR, the upgrade to the new 4K Apple TV is not necessary. If you're interested in being on the cutting edge of video technology, however, then this is the set-top box you've been waiting for.

The Apple TV 4K is available starting at $229 on September 22nd, 2017.

"If you don't have a 4K TV, or a 4K TV that supports HDR, there's very little reason to upgrade over the current iteration of the Apple TV."

7.5

Comments

  • southerndinner

    I can’t believe they stuck with that remote design. Every time I have to help a family member figure out how to do something on their Apple TV, I want to throw the remote against the wall after only a few seconds.

    Do yourself a favor and use a Harmony with this or buy a better, more intuitive box unless you’re balls deep into the Apple ecosystem.

    Also, it sounds like from other reviews that the HDR iTunes content suffers the same problems as precious iTunes movies and TV – it’s more compressed than content from Netflix or Amazon Prime Video, bitrate starved and looking insufficient at 1080p/4k.

    • Amazon Prime Video is set to launch before the end of the year on the Apple TV 4K with 4K streaming in both Dolby Vision and HDR. For me, that’s really the only app that’s officially available in Canada that the device is missing right now.

  • Marshall Davidson

    I’d still purchase a Shield TV over this newer version of ATV given the price points. The ATV still restricts you to content that Apple will let you play/download whereas the Shield lets you actually sideload your own apps/games. Furthermore, Kodi is a huge incentive for cord-cutters today that want access to content, legal or not that isn’t going to alter behaviours one way or another. This website on a couple occasions have advised people how to go about accessing content that isn’t yet available in Canada legally so to point this out as an incentive for an ATV vs. Shield is kinda funny.

    In addition, Shield has far more gaming options than ATV does and the storage capacity via USB or microSD is an added benefit that Apple has never offered. Yes, Shield is about $120 more for the 500GB model but compared to the mere 64 GB of the ‘top of the line’ ATV its clearly the better choice for the informed consumer.

    Don’t get me wrong. I use an ATV 4th generation now and find it useful for many things, particularly Airplay of content from my iPad or iPhone and accessing things like ALT TV but beyond that I would be hard-pressed to find any reason to upgrade to a 4K version given the dearth of content and lack of customization.

    • southerndinner

      Shield having Amazon Prime TV is a worthy mention as well – there’s not even a launch timeframe currently for Canada on the ATV.

    • Marshall Davidson

      Yes, this is true too. Even my Samsung 4K TV has an Amazon Prime app built in but one thing to bear in mind is that with the Shield you can run a VPN app to access the American content of Prime which is something you can’t do elsewhere. Granted, this isn’t always a full-proof method of streaming shows where occasionally the Prime app still thinks you’re in Canada but it gives you some indication of what you can do.
      As it stands though Kodi remains the biggest selling point for a Shield because of the ongoing updates which simply aren’t rivalled by any other Android box on the market today. Its patently ridiculous you can’t even run Kodi on an iPad or an Apple TV for that matter.

    • John Lofwire

      Apple wont allow any app that might reduce the profit they do selling those media..
      You should know 😉

    • Marshall Davidson

      Yeah I know. I can watch any number of movies on Kodi for example that Apple would prefer I pay to buy or rent and I’m just not doing that anymore.

    • That’s a good point. There is a time frame though. Apple told us that Amazon Prime Video will launch on the Apple TV before the end of the year.

  • Eluder

    Your comment about the Shield being more piracy focused is a horrendous piece of journalism.
    You really should cut that piece out as it makes you look like a sham of a writer and if I were nVidia I would send some lawyers to deal with this ridiculous comment.

    • Android TV is an open platform and there’s pros and cons to this. A pro would be the fact that there’s a wealth of apps available for the platform, and a con is an abundant number of apps that enable piracy.

      Anyone who doesn’t think most people use Android TV boxes for piracy purposes just isn’t aware of the state of the set-top box industry. I also know that it’s not the boxes that are the problem, it’s the apps that run them (this is why I mention Kodi in the section of the review you take issue with).

    • John Lofwire

      When media are getting more and more overpriced some ppl take step to not be bleeded dry..

    • southerndinner

      Android tv and Android boxes being combined into the same category is intellectually dishonest. Android boxes are garbage overpriced junk for piracy fiends and the Shield/Xiaomi boxes are fully equipped and meant to be used to play back media

      That argument about Kodi = piracy could be equated with Apple TV and Plex without any sort of stretch, Plex being available on Apple TV. And I’d wager that a higher percentage of Plex users are using it for piracy than Kodi users using Kodi for piracy.

    • This is actually a good point, though I’d argue that Plex has its limitations. Content needs to be downloaded beforehand and a server needs to be setup. You can also use Plex to stream legally downloaded movies from various services.

      Kodi on the other hand is more about plug-ins and livestreaming signals, though it can be used as a media server as well. I’ll also have to disagree with your wager. I’d guess the number of people using Kodi for legal streaming is incredibly low.

    • Marshall Davidson

      Patrick, setting up a Plex server is as simple as using the hard drive on your existing desktop or laptop or A SHIELD (heaven forbid) to access your library anywhere you are. It’s not that hard nor is it a limitation. Furthermore, what legally downloaded content can you access on Plex huh? Anything with DRM protection can’t be played on that format so not sure what you’re talking about. People playing movies or TV shows on Plex are playing stuff they’ve downloaded from torrent sites or have ripped from DVD’s. There is nothing inherently legal about that either but you don’t hear people dumping all over Plex for that like they do Kodi.
      The only reason Apple doesn’t allow Kodi on their devices is because they want you to spend money buying their content and nothing else. Hell, you can’t even buy content from other legal providers on an Apple platform and that’s the most detestable part of their business practices.

    • Marshall Davidson

      How is a ‘con’ that there is an abundant number of apps that enable piracy? I mean people can choose to do whatever they want with the device Patrick but there is also plenty of options for legal content that exceed anything Apple TV has to offer today.
      I find your argument quite specious at best and really few people want to be ‘boxed’ in to what a certain company or cable provider tells us we can and cannot watch. This is why the cord-cutting has taken on new dimensions because the cost of cable is outrageous and the options just suck. The industry, at least in Canada, still seems tone-deaf to any of this but there you have it and it ain’t going away no matter what legal actions are taken. We’ve seen this for nearly 20 years since you were in diapers Patrick and its just a reality that pirating and torrent files will always be a fact that the media industry contends with.

    • Sure, but that doesn’t make it right, or more importantly legal. You’re stealing content people have worked hard to create. There are legal ways to stream almost any television show or movie. Anyone who says otherwise is simply too lazy to put in the effort to find it.

      If everyone adopted your attitude, there’s be no content left to watch.

    • Marshall Davidson

      I made it clear that not all Android box users necessarily use the device to pirate content but let’s be honest Patrick, to suggest you aren’t using Kodi too is really laughable because you are coming off here as some big defender of being nickel and dimed by existing providers in this country that just don’t get it. I understand given your position as a journalist here you can’t say much in public but you aren’t fooling anyone. Hell, you admit you know at least a dozen people using the platform. lol!
      It’s not a question of people wanting to pay but the present models that exist in this country to access content pales in comparison to what Americans are able to access and pay on their own terms. People are no longer interested in lining the pockets of Bell or Rogers or being told by them what to watch and pay overpriced amounts to do so and as long as these practices continue pirating content will continue as well.

    • I’m a big proponent of region switching to access different content which in itself is a form of piracy depending on how you look at it. In this case, at least content creators are still getting paid though.

      In terms of Kodi, I’ve expiremented with the platform for research purposes and I’m familiar with some of the more popular plug-ins. I don’t use Kodi, or even Plex for that matter on a daily basis or even consistently, unless it’s for a story I’m working on.

      When I was in University almost a decade ago did I spend a lot of time pirating movies on Limewire and Torrenting? You bet I did. Now I’m able to afford the content I want to watch and enjoy paying for it because I know it contributes to its continued production.

      Piracy is wrong anyways you look at it.

    • Marshall Davidson

      To say you pay for something merely because you can afford it is not an excuse for the poor practices of media providers in this country that prefer to charge prices well beyond what is charged in the U.S. for the same content and with more options for viewing. For example, the idea that Bell has a total monopoly here on HBO content and that HBO can’t offer its own subscription app here because of that is nothing short of ludicrous. The same goes for Showtime or most any other specialty channel that cable companies here demand you pay more for, not merely a la carte, but as part of some bigger package that most don’t want.
      Yes, there are some incremental improvements coming like CBS All Access on the way, the AMC app, limited Amazon Prime Video (they still have yet to offer the full catalogue here) etc. etc. but people pirate content whether they can afford it or not as a form of protest.
      I think you will find that many of us go to movies, pay to download/stream music and movies and therefore we more than contribute to the creation of content. Piracy is certainly not the only way I would access content but I’d be lying if I said that everything I watch is something I insist on paying for each and every time and I think I speak for the vast majority out there as well.

    • HBO cut the deal with Bell, though the expiration date is fast approaching. in that situation, I’d blame that more on HBO than Bell. If the platform was interested in releasing its HBO Now service here, it could have a number of years ago (but it isn’t).

      I completely get where you’re coming from, believe me, but using that as an excuse for blatant piracy, just isn’t justified in my mind.

    • waeggles

      “Anyone who doesn’t think most people use Android TV boxes for piracy purposes just isn’t aware of the state of the set-top box industry. ” I feel like a technical writer should be aware that cheap android boxes mostly used for Kodi are not the same as Android TV.

    • This is not true. Sure, Kodi is more prevalent on lower-end boxes, but a high-end device like the Shield is more than capable of facilitating piracy as well.

    • Rev0lver

      Pretty much every device accessing this website is capable of facilitating piracy in some way, shape or form. Should we ban all of these devices?

      It was piracy that put an end to the foolish pricing scheme of the music industry. Sometimes you have to break the rules to make the system change. I’ll proudly keep pirating overpriced content until they’re forced to change their antiquated pricing models.

  • southerndinner

    “Given the Apple TV 4K’s $249 CAD starting price tag, the set-top box is a steep proposition. To put the set-top box in perspective with the rest of the industry, it’s significantly better than the Roku Premiere+ and the Chromecast Ultra, and cheaper than the new Nvidia Shield, which costs $279 in Canada.”

    By significantly better do you mean significantly more expensive? Not attempting to dispute a subjective opinion if you do mean better but it seemed a bit out of place when cheaper was the next comparison.

    • Cheaper doesn’t necessarily mean better. The Roku Premiere+’s app selection pales in comparison to the Apple TV, and in general, I’m not a fan of Google’s Cast technology, which is the basis for the Chromecast Ultra (I’ve always found it very unreliable).

    • John Lofwire

      Been using a chrome cast second gen on my bedroom tv ( 1080p 46 inch samsung ) and a ultra on my vizio with no a single issues ever.

      IF you have crap wifi its will be unreliable ( its do use wifi )

      What i like about it is i use my laptop as video sources so i have access to MUCH more 4k and HDR offering than any others solutions ( i can access my videotron illico 4k series , just plain download 4k movie , use any streaming services as well as my external 4k external blu ray drive)

      As for app selection i have a much wider app selection as i can use my ipad air 2 apps ( with screen mirroring ) as well as my android and pc app.

      In case of apple versus others product cheaper often mean as good or better they kind of link overpricing.

    • Those are good points! I have a great router and a connection that sits consistently at 150mb/s, so it’s certainly not an issue with my Wi-Fi.

    • John Lofwire

      Various thing can go wrong with a router like firewall issues ect of defective hardware (both modem router and chrome cast)

      Lots of ppl had flawless experience with chrome cast like me.

      My new vizio tv have it built in.

    • My new Vizio TV also features built-in casting. My experience with the Chromecast has been very mixed though.

      As a cord cutter, or rather “cord never” since I’ve never subscribed to traditional cable, I prefer a device that offers a more cohesive menu. The whole concept of casting just doesn’t appeal to me.

    • John Lofwire

      That a very strange reply.
      Chromecast can be used as a wireless hdmi lol sp basically you can use any interface from any compatible sources (my wife use the ipad) its not like apple tv that you must use the interface all the time.

      I like having choice that something you do not have with apple you take what they give you and that its.

      I never used the google chrome cast as streaming app so I never have to use the interface.

    • I think you’re misunderstanding what I’m saying. I like a menu on my television screen for watching TV. I have no interest in casting content from my phone or tablet. This is why I’m not fond of Google’s Chromecast.

      We’re just on opposite sides of the spectrum when it comes to how we want to watch content.

    • John Lofwire

      There is two thing to take into consideration.

      first is end result ( both have same end result )
      Second depend if you are open minded or not ( seem like not… no offence intended )

      I have a dedicated tablet as a remote at home.
      Its used to stream all content to any of my 2 tv at home.
      So i do have a menu on the tv screen its identical to the one on my tablet ( wich is mirroring )

      I dont like using crappy ordinary tv controller i like having a screen instead as tv controller. ( The tablet came with my Vizio tv its a 7 inch one that able to stream 4k easily. )

    • southerndinner

      I’ve used a Shield, an ATV and Chromecast. I agree with John, it must be your wifi because my Chromecast streams 20+ Mbps bitrate files from Plex without any issues at all, several hours a week.

    • It’s not just the connection either. I’m also not a fan of the cast interface (it doesn’t feel like a full-fledged operating system to me). I think the Chromecast is a great device, particularly the lower-end versions. I also use the Ultra for casting from Android devices probably a couple times a week.

  • so all iTunes 4k Movies with Dolby Vision badge supports HDR10 standard too for TV with HDR10 only (like ALL the samsung) is it correct, can you confirm?

    • I’ve tried to confirm this with Apple and was told that it’s up to the studios. I’m working on trying to get a better answer but that’s all I’ve been able to uncover so far.

  • Stephen B Morris

    After reading this review and listening to the past few podcasts, I am beginning to question the journalistic integrity of just about everyone on Mobilesyrup. It seems to me that perception matters more to you guys than facts. The dude that reviews all the podcasts gave you guys a 7.1 when it should have been a 3 for the Apple event one. The part in this “review” about NVIDIA at the end should be retracted. It reeks of ignorance and lousy journalism and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear from their lawyers. You guys really need to do better than this. I get that this work isn’t easy, but that doesn’t give you guys a pass for being lazy. I can’t speak for everyone but I come to this site to get intelligent tech news from a Canadian perspective. If that is no longer the case, then by all means let me know so I will no longer waste my time. Daniel may have been sensational at times, but at least he did his homework.

    • It’s not just low-end Android TV boxes that are used for piracy, any Android TV box can be used to stream illegal content. The Shield is a great device and probably the highest-end Android TV set-top box on the market (especially the new one announced today). I am in no way insinuating that the Shield is a device designed or piracy, but simply stating that it is capable of running Kodi, which in turn facilitates piracy.

      I also argue that Android TV is not as stable of a platform as tvOS 11, and that the app selection in terms of legal streaming apps, doesn’t compare. You’re free to disagree with me, as I’m sure you do.

      I can also think of probably 10 people I know off-hand that exclusively use the Shield to stream pirated content through a combination of Kodi for live channels and Plex for downloaded content, but this is just anecdotal.

      I’m very familiar with every streaming platform on the market, whether it’s Roku, which I used as my main way to watch TV for years, Android TV or even OTA signal solutions like the Tablo and proxy/dns apps.

      I am not new to this space and have been one of the few Canadian journalists to cover it over the last few years.

    • waeggles

      The issue is though Patrick that you didn’t “simply state that it is capable of running Kodi, which in turn facilitates piracy”, you said it’s what most people use it for. Your entire “review” goes out if it’s way to make sure the reader knows you think the Shield’s focus is on piracy, while the Apple TV is superior. It just shows an incredible bias.
      This further shows in your blanket statement in the review that Roku is cheaper but inferior. In a review generally you could at least attempt outline some kind of tangible evidence for your reasoning.

    • We’ll have to agree to disagree on that one then. I state that the Android-powered Shield runs standard Android apps as well (since it’s Android-powered, I think that’s kind of obvious though). It really is a great set-top box, especially if you’re looking for a capable gaming device that isn’t a traditional console.

      I also stand by my statement that many people who purchase the Shield, or any Android box for that matter, do so with the intent to run Kodi and pirate content (just scroll down and take a look at the comments under this review for a glimpse of the current climate surround piracy on the platform).

      You’re right about the Premiere+. I likely could have explained my thoughts on it more (I plan to do a full review in a few weeks). It’s a great device, but again, the app selection, particularly in the Canadian market, isn’t stellar.

    • Stephen B Morris

      “The Android TV-based Shield is also a more versatile and customizable device, allowing for a range of piracy focused plugins via Kodi, as well as standard Android apps. For anyone who wants to keep their content consumption on the more legal side of the equation, and appreciates the work creators put into the television shows and movies, the Apple TV 4K remains the most capable and robust option on the market.”

      That is exactly what you are insinuating with this statement. Let’s put aside the fact that jailbroken Apple TVs with Kodi “fully loaded” have been available since Apple TV’s introduction. Or that Kodi isn’t just for piracy and can be used for remote access to one’s home movies(although admittedly those people are in the minority). Or that Plex which is available from the App Store is at its core a subscription based fork of XBMC which was Kodi before the name change. Or that those 10 people you know may not necessarily represent the majority of Shield users. With that one paragraph you basically said that if you want access to legal forms of streaming, Apple TV is the only way to go. Like Google Play Movies or Sony’s store doesn’t even exist as options for people to legally purchase movies. Out of all the legal streaming apps available that stream ORIGINAL CONTENT, which ones are missing from Android TV and Roku? If you don’t count the apps that need a TV subscription (which defeats the entire purpose since you would have cable on your TV anyway and could just go to that channel unless you were using someone else’s login which would fall into the illegal category) the “app gap” would be minimal at best if not on par. Up until that point I was actually enjoying the article but like Waeggles said you threw everything out the window. And for someone who was genuinely considering purchasing this was very disappointing to see.

      This isn’t the first time that I’ve witnessed such bias that I had to take the writer’s viewpoint with a grain of salt on Mobilesyrup. I think Sameer (Shameer? Sorry if I butchered your name) wrote an article that I had to criticize because of the same thing. His bias for Apple products came through to the point that I felt like the article no longer had merit. Like I said, I come to this website because I am expecting to see well rounded articles and hear well thought out podcasts based on tech from a Canadian view. Even on products that I may not be familiar with or might not be using at this time. Again if I am truly wasting my time, let me know and I will go elsewhere.

  • Homer J. Simpson

    What legitimate streaming app does the AppleTV have that my FireTV stick or my MiBox doesn’t have? You keep emphasizing app selection, but what apps and content can you not find on Android based boxes? From your tone, it sounds like theres nothing to watch on these Android boxes. Not to mention at the end of the day, you’re just flipping to see what’s available to watch on Netflix, a news streaming app, or YouTube.

    • Marshall Davidson

      The most ridiculous aspect of the Apple TV is that while Amazon Prime is available to U.S. customers its not available here and YET if I switch my iTunes account to the U.S. version on the ATV I get access to it. Of course, I then lose all my other apps and content on my Canadian account that doesn’t show up on the home screen.
      It’s this kind of restrictive stupid setup that I hate about Apple and that isn’t something Android does between Canadian and U.S. Google Play accounts. You can run that content simultaneously on the same device without having to log in and log out

      At the end of the day this story does take on the dimensions somewhat of promoting Apple products and that its the only legitimate streaming box out there

    • Shawn Gerrard

      Amazon Video is not available in the U.S. either. It is coming “later this year”.

    • There isn’t an Amazon Prime Video app available for the Apple TV in Canada or the U.S., though it could launch soon according to rumours.

    • Shawn Gerrard

      I have an Apple TV and Nvidia Shield TV, Apple TV does have more Canadian sources. CBC TV, City, FX Now Canada, Fibe TV, Crave, Sportsnet for example are not available on Android TV yet.

    • Homer J. Simpson

      I see. That is rather unfortunate. It’s also unfortunate app developers still choose to go Apple first and take their time with Android. Before I moved to the US, I worked for a company that built cheaper medical diagnostic tool that interfaces with the smartphone to target sick people in developing countries and they chose to build the app for only iDevices. Do you see the irony in that? Targets developing countries and yet they build it only for the iPhones/iPods/iPads.

      And even if those mobile apps above don’t want to build and AndroidTV native app, they could’ve built their mobile apps with chromecast support. This Apple first mindset in 2017 is rather unfortunate. Also seems more rampant in Canada than the US.

    • Stephen B Morris

      CBC is on Android TV. With the exception of Crave and Sportsnet, all of the others you mentioned require a TV subscription to log into the app to watch content does it not? Wouldn’t that kind of defeat the purpose when you could just switch to that channel on your TV?

      Edit: Also isn’t the YouTube app unofficial? I went to the Apple store yesterday to check it out and something about it seems off.

    • It’s the official YouTube app but doesn’t support 4K, which is certainly a misstep on Apple’s part.

      Casting support with the Chromecast is a fair point for Sportsnet and CraveTV, but I prefer to have a menu and one central location for all my content.

    • The FireTV stick isn’t officially available in Canada (sure you can get one, but it take a fair amount of work). I’m not super familiar with the MiBox but I know it’s often the set-top box cited in “fully-loaded” Android TV box ads.

      I actually use a fair amount of apps on my AppleTV, ranging from the CBC app to OTA signals via the Tablo app, Netflix, CraveTV and a variety of other iOS exclusive platforms via AirPlay.

      There’s also stuff I don’t use personally like Sportnet and Fibe TV (Fibe Alt TV is actually a great service if you have Bell internet) that’s only available on the Apple TV.

    • Homer J. Simpson

      I can’t say much about those apps as I’ve moved to the US, but I have not had any app absence issues with US-based apps. I use Netflix, Sling, YouTube, CBS News, and Chromecast. Otherwise I flip over to FireTV Stick to watch Amazon Prime video content. If anybody is to blame for the lack of apps, it’s the Canadian app developers. If they’re not going to build an app, at least make them chromecast-able from the mobile apps.

      If by “fully-loaded” Android TV box, you mean those chinese tv boxes/sticks with some customized Android with a crappy media center launcher loaded with a bunch of bloatware, then the MiBox is not that. The MiBox is the one of the three few Google’s official Android TV players besides the Nexus Player and the Shield TV. It is the official Google Android TV platform and is officially sold through Walmart US. It’s also a 4K HDR player and can act as a chromecast. Oh, it’s been around for a year in the US now and it only costs $69.

  • Just a thought

    What perspective is this?

    “To put the set-top box in perspective with the rest of the industry, it’s significantly better than the Roku Premiere+”

    You have provided zero justification for this comment. Where is the compare and contrast.

    IMO, the Apple TV 4K’s inability to play YouTube 4K videos is a showstopper

    • I have a Roku Ultra Premiere+ review in the works that will expand more on this (the review was already getting pretty long).

    • Just a thought

      If you can’t support such a statement in your article then don’t say it.

      Because you own a Roku does not entitle you to make write vague, unsubstantiated claims. Saying your “review was getting pretty long” is not an excuse for the lack of objectivity.

      In addition, you downplay the in-ability to play YouTube Videos in 4K. Do you realize that YouTube is the biggest video streaming platform in the world?

      Not being able to play videos from the world’s largest provider is some thing that should be in paragraph one.

      In summary, lack of objectivity, failure to highlight critical deficiencies with the Apple TV 4K and negative and unsubstantiated claims about the largest competitor suggest to me that this review is nothing more than a shill for Apple.

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