We’re about an hour into Apple’s big keynote speech, and management is probably saving the best for last. However, we’ve gotten to some of the meat in what’s been a protein-heavy smorgasbord for Apple fans. The company showed off the new Apple TV 4K, which seems to fit right in with most of the rumors we’ve heard.
Apple TV 4K to support 4K resolution and HDR
As the name states, the Apple TV 4K will support 4K ultra-high-definition resolution, which has four times the pixels found in HD TVs, which makes for much sharper quality in videos. Support for content in 4K resolution has been available in TV sets for quite some time, but most households haven’t had a 4K set. However, Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that the television market is about to break wide open as 4K enters the mainstream with more households buying a 4K TV. Prices for the sets have come down quite a bit, so more consumers can afford one.
Amazon, Roku and Google’s Chromecast have already been updated to support 4K resolution, so the Apple TV 4K brings the iPhone maker’s set-top box onto the same playing field. Last month, it was revealed that the Apple TV was losing out to competing products, so this update was sorely needed. Preorders for the Apple TV 4K will begin on Sept. 15, and the box is set to go on sale on Sept. 22 at two price points. For $179, you can buy one with 32GB of onboard storage, while $199 will get you 64GB of internal storage.
The price of the previous-generation Apple TV box falls to $149 for 32GB of storage.
Apple TV 4K also supports HDR
The new Apple TV box also adds support for high dynamic range in the high-dynamic HDR10 and Dolby Vision technologies. Both of them make the colors brighter and support a greater variety of shares for each color.
Of course, to get the full benefit of the HDR support on the Apple TV 4K, you must have a television set that supports HDR, but if you have a 4K television, chances are it supports HDR technologies too. Dolby Vision and HDR10 are both standards in the industry, so there’s plenty of video content that support them.
Apple will also begin providing new content in 4K HDR via iTunes, providing an easy source for consumers who want to rent or purchase TV shows and movies in the higher resolution. Surprisingly, the company said that content in 4K will be priced the same as content in the lower resolution, and Apple will even upgrade your 1080p movies to 4K automatically for free.
The Apple TV 4K is also getting support for Amazon Prime Video before the end of the year, and the iPhone maker said it’s actually teaming up with Netflix to create more 4K titles. Apple is also planning to bring live news and sports to its new set-top box.
Other updates in the Apple TV 4K
Naturally, support for these new technologies require significant upgrades to the Apple TV’s internals. The set-top box is getting Apple’s new A10X Fusion chip, the same one that’s in the latest iPad Pro line. The Apple TV 4K is also getting 3GB of RAM to support videos in 4K resolution because they need plenty of memory in order to run smoothly.
Apple has also redesigned the user interface for its set-top box, optimizing it for the higher-definition resolution. The company has even improved the Siri Remote that comes with the box.