The Apple TV 4K is almost the same device as its predecessor, with improvements especially under the hood. In this review we check whether the fifth generation of the device is worth the upgrade.
Note: For general information about the use of the Apple TV, please visit our Apple TV 4 review . Many things that we discuss in this extensive review still apply to the 4K version of the Apple TV. In this review we mainly focus on the improvements of the 4K version and whether the device is worth the purchase in 2018.
Apple TV 4K review
After two years it was again time to upgrade the Apple TV. Since the fourth generation more and more people have a 4K television in the living room, but Apple TV could not handle this sharper image format. Also hdr is on the rise and more and more films and series on iTunes and Netflix support these formats. High time for a new version that can handle this.
During the announcement of the Apple TV 4K, the emphasis was on support for 4K. Apple even gives you an upgrade to 4K for free for all your purchased movies and series via iTunes. Also many movies that now appear on iTunes are immediately offered in 4K with hdr.
Upgrades under the hood
Compared to the previous Apple TV, the 4K version has received a substantial upgrade. Under the bonnet he is powered by the A10X Fusion, the same chip that is also included in this year’s iPad Pros. While playing games or other use, you will not notice any hitches: it is clear that Apple sees the device as more than a simple media player.
In addition to the faster hardware, the network part has also been improved. Because this Apple TV is focused on 4K and hdr material, more bandwidth is needed to stream this. There is (finally) a gigabit network port in the Apple TV, for when you want to connect the device to wired. This is also possible with the built-in WiFi, but a network cable to your router ensures the best performance.
A disappointment is that Apple has again omitted the optical output for audio. That means that if you want to use your Apple TV with a separate receiver, you have to output your sound via the HDMI cable from the Apple TV. Apple removed this output from the fourth generation of Apple TV, and it does not seem that it will come back.
Apple TV versus Google Chromecast
The biggest competitor for the Apple TV when it comes to playing (4K) media is the Chromecast Ultra. With a suggested retail price of around 80 euros, it is considerably cheaper than the Apple TV 4K, which is on the shelves for about 200 euros. So if you only want to watch movies and series in 4K, the Chromecast Ultra is the better buy at first glance.
In practice, the differences between the devices are more nuanced. The Apple TV offers a more extensive range of games, while the Chromecast Ultra also works well with Android smartphones. Now that basically does not have to be a problem, because you can also use the Apple TV with the included remote control. Still, without iPhone or iPad you will miss a number of features, such as streaming what is happening on your screen, and the AirPlay function for, for example, Apple Music.
If you have a newer television with support for HDR, then you’re good with both the Apple TV 4K and the Chromecast Ultra. Which device you have to buy depends mainly on whether you think the extras of the Apple TV are worth the extra price compared to the Chromecast Ultra. This also applies to users who already have an Apple TV 4: they do not really get much on the hdr and 4K support and the faster hardware.
Conclusion Apple TV 4K review
The Apple TV 4K is the best media player that Apple has made so far. Thanks to the powerful hardware and support for 4K, the device is up to date again. The device also offers many options for new users. Apple TV 4 users, however, have little reason to upgrade, especially if there is no 4K television in the house. In addition, the Chromecast Ultra is lurking for a considerably lower amount, which has virtually the same potential for media playback.
Buy Apple TV 4K
Are you interested in purchasing an Apple TV 4K after reading this review? Then you can order these at Coolblue and MediaMarkt . Of course you can also go to the Apple Store to order your Apple TV 4K.