The Apple TV 4K has arrived: Here’s everything we know

New Apple TV 4K features 4K resolution, HDR support, and a zippy processor

Apple has officially announced the next-gen Apple TV and, as expected, it supports 4K Ultra HD and high dynamic range (HDR), including Dolby Vision HDR. In fact, the 4K resolution support is built right into the name:  Apple TV 4K.

The streaming set-top box will run on Apple’s A10X Fusion chip, the same processor found in the iPad Pro, and run on the latest version of tvOS. With this introduction, Apple joins the ranks of competing streaming set-top boxes from Roku and Amazon, which have offered 4K HDR support for a few years now. The new Apple TV 4K will start at $179 for the 32GB version, and $199 for the 64GB upgrade. Both models will be available for order September 15, with shipments beginning September 22.

4K upgrades

The addition of 4K HDR support is underscored by the availability of 4K HDR content on the new Apple TV 4K. Apple says it has been working with top studios to make the biggest movies and TV shows available in 4K HDR at iTunes, and that 4K HDR content will cost the same as HD. Additionally, Apple says that anyone who has purchased a title in HD on iTunes will be upgraded to 4K HDR for free. Apple also pointed to the availability of Amazon Prime Video and Netflix content in 4K HDR coming soon.

apple tv 4k event announcement hdr

In addition to 4K HDR content availability, Apple has retooled its user interface to run in 4K. The Apple TV 4K will also sport 4K HDR screensavers. In addition, Apple’s press release claims the new device will always output the highest resolution possible, including “automatic detection” of your 4K TV’s capabilities, and a high-performance video scaler for lower-resolution content.

HomeKit and other perks

Apple touted a few other Apple-specific perks, such as the Watch Now feature which serves up personalized live news and sports feeds, as well as a separate Sports Tab which places your favorite teams and players front and center in real time as all accessible games and matches commence. The new Apple TV 4K also has the ability to share live photo effects and 4K video memories via AirPlay from iPhones and iPads. Naturally, the Apple TV 4K will also support Apple HomeKit. Siri will remain available for voice-assisted search and HomeKit integration commands.

To wrap its Apple TV 4K announcement, Apple appealed to gamers. Just as the Amazon Fire TV accesses a broad selection of Android OS games, a wealth of games optimized for iPhone and iPad will be available on the Apple TV 4K. It now appears that Apple TV 4K will support third-party gaming controllers, among other accessories such as Beats Headphones and Apple AirPods. The device will also be upgradable with Airplay 2 later this year, according to Apple, to control multiple Airplay 2-supported speakers.

What could be next

The announcement didn’t contain many surprises, as much of the details surround the new Apple TV 4K were leaked ahead of the September 12 event. However, there are indications future versions could be forthcoming.

apple tv patent

Ahead of today’s product launch, Patently Apple discovered a patent filed by the company pertaining to the use of biometric sensors in a handheld remote. While the posted diagram (seen below) depicts the sensor as “a single control element” on a remote pointed at a TV, Apple actually specified that these visual representations are examples only, and that the patent covers “any remote control device that is capable of transmitting instructions to [an] electronic device.”

This means we could potentially see a fingerprint scanner included on the future Apple TV 4K remotes, which is also capable of controlling the Apple HomeKit. Since HomeKit acts as a hub to control compatible smart home devices, you could theoretically use a remote with such a scanner to control those devices as well. Including a fingerprint scanner adds another level of security for better, safer home control.

Update: We’ve updated this article to include official product information disclosed at Apple’s September 12 launch event.

Product Review

Google’s third HD Chromecast is still a good streamer, but its value is slipping

At Google’s October event, we saw a slew of new products, but the new third-generation Chromecast didn’t even make it onstage. We spent some time with the incrementally upgraded, third-generation HD Chromecast to see if it’s worth…
Home Theater

The seven best TVs you can buy right now, from budget to big screen

Looking for a new television? In an oversaturated market, buying power is at an all-time high, but you'll need to cut through the rough to find a diamond. We're here to help with our picks for the best TVs of 2018.
Deals

Time for a new TV? Grab the 55-inch Samsung curved 4K smart TV for $598

Shopping for a new TV and want to upgrade to 4K? Consider going curved: Samsung makes some of the best UHD TVs on the market today, including its unique curved lineup. Now, you can score the 55-inch Samsung curved 4K smart TV for just $598…
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

They’re not just for gaming: Watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and Xbox One X

While the Xbox One S and Xbox One X boost the visuals of your games, they also can pull double-duty as Blu-ray players, but there's a bit of set up needed. Need help? Here's our guide on how to watch Blu-rays on the Xbox One S and X.
Movies & TV

You can ditch cable but still get your 'SportsCenter' fix with ESPN+

ESPN's streaming service, ESPN+, is finally here. Despite appearances, ESPN+ isn't a replacement for your ESPN cable channels, and it differs from other streaming apps in a few key ways.
Smart Home

SiriusXM, Amazon team up for two Echo Dot deals with freebies

Amazon and SiriusXM partnered on two joint promotions. New SiriusXM subscribers can receive a free Amazon Echo Dot. People who already own an Echo device can sign up for new SiriusXM subscription with the first three months free.
Home Theater

Throw away those EarPods -- we dug up the best headphones in every style

Trolling the internet for hours to find headphones is no way to live. Instead, leverage our expertise and experience to find the best headphones for you. Here are our 10 favorites.
Music

Bolster your HD music catalog with the best high-res audio sites

Music connoisseurs relish HD audio, but scouring the web for all the best streaming and downloading sites can be a pain. Luckily, we've done the work for you. Check out our list, and let the high-resolution good times roll.
Home Theater

Lynxsonic’s 4:33 headphones offer premium features at a not-so-premium price

If you're looking for a set of wireless headphones that has a similar feature set to Bose's QuietComfort 35 but with a lower price, the Lynxsonic 4:33 is an intriguing new contender on Kickstarter.
Home Theater

Demystify home audio with our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide

Today's A/V receivers are packed with lots of advanced technology and just plain cool features. From understanding watt ratings to Wi-Fi, we explain how to buy one that will last you for years in our ultimate A/V receiver buying guide.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Home Theater

Google Chromecast and Chromecast Ultra: Everything you need to know

Google's Chromecast plugs into your TV's HDMI port, allowing you to stream content from your tablet, laptop, or smartphone directly to your TV. Here's what you need to know about all iterations, including the 4K-ready Chromecast Ultra.
Home Theater

The best noise-canceling headphones paint your music on a cleaner canvas

Drowning out the sound of babies, jet engines, and the outside world isn't as hard as it seems. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones, whether you're concerned with style, comfort, or sound.