TV gimmicks are dead. 2017 is the year of real next-gen television

“Ever since HDTVs became standard, we’ve seen several gimmicks to make them stand out while 4K took its time creeping forward. 3D was never really embraced as a vital feature for TVs, and curved screens were rightly dismissed as needlessly expensive aesthetic tweaks,” Will Greenwald writes for PC Magazine. “I can’t promise those days are over, but if CES is any indication, the gimmicks have mostly been swept away in favor of actual, tangible TV advancements.”

“Last year was the first time we recommended 4K TVs for general consumers. This year we can make it official: Next-gen TV is here, and it really is the time to consider replacing your television for a new and completely better one,” Greenwald writes. “Forget HDTV. 1080p is yesterday’s news. 4K (ultra high definition, or UHD, or whatever you want to call the now-standard 3,840-by-2,160 video resolution) TVs are now the standard. You can find some incredibly inexpensive 4K TVs now, meaning there’s no reason to even consider a 1080p screen anymore… 4K has arrived, and now is the time to get it.”

“High dynamic range (HDR) is an important technology that goes with 4K TVs, and is the reason to spend more money. HDR means each pixel has more information determining its light output and color, making a more detailed picture than an SDR signal even at the same resolution,” Greenwald writes. “Smart TV systems were wildly fragmented for years while every major TV manufacturer attempted to make its own custom interface. There are still vestiges of this in LG and Samsung’s TVs, but the majority of manufacturers have embraced third party solutions. Google’s Android TV and Google Cast platforms, the Roku TV interface, and Amazon’s newly released Fire TV television integration offer TV makers feature-filled systems with loads of apps and services without the need to get fancy with custom engineering.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Note which company’s solution, er… “hobby,” wasn’t even worth a mention.

Apple TV needs to be 4K, Apple. It needed to be 4K for this past Christmas. In fact, for a company that supposedly “pushes the envelope,” it should have been 4K when it debuted October 30, 2015 over 13 months ago.

Interns, TTK. We could use some cheering up! Prost!

80 Comments

      1. I got an LG UHD w/HDR in November. I have three Apple TVs 4th gen now that I paid three months advance for DIRECTV Now and got a free one. I’m hoping Apple won’t have to put out new hardware to bring on 4K. I just don’t think I can go through another hardware upgrade for a couple more years. If only they had QA for the hobby department.

        1. The hobby department! I can’t argue against that point.

          I expect, despite the lack of significant benefit, that 4K TV will enjoy some success in the market as the price drops for displays. But again, it’s HDR that’s the actual benefit of note.

          How much more would an TV box cost if 4K was added? Maybe that’s unimportant if Apple provide it as an upgrade model.

          Where will 4K content come from? Not much of anywhere at this point. But I’m getting the clue that satellite TV is leaping into the gap.

          What is an absurdity, (sorry MDN), is that updating the TV to 4K is going to make any significant profit for Apple. Right now, the answer is NO. Apple does have A LOT of other high priority blunders to repair at the moment, IMHO.

          1. Derek is on the money. Cable TV & broadcasters aren’t doing 4K, and that’s most of what’s being watched.

            HDR and 4K aren’t going to make Law & Order any better. Why buy a 4K TV when you can get an HDTV for pennies on the dollar?

            1. Broadcast and Cable are probably NEVER going to upgrade to 4K. They dragged their feet, and complained when they had to upgrade from analog to digital (HD).

              That just means the 4K revolution is going happen via streaming devices and apps, and Apple (once again) is behind the curve!

              I do have a 4K TV w/ HDR, and since Netflix and Amazon Prime 4k streams are only available via my set’s apps, I use those more than I use my AppleTV (v4) now. I am considering pulling the trigger and getting a Roku Ultra to replace the AppleTV … if I could only find a list of 4K channels available on the Roku!

        1. If something makes someone happy without harming themselves and others, it’s time for me to shut up.

          But it remains silly to shove the Consumerist MUST HAVE IT! meme onto 4K is silly.

          Meanwhile, HDR color quality on ANY display is highly recommended.

          1. I don’t hear anyone telling you you must own the latest in display tech. What I see however is that anyone in the market for a new TV who fits the affluent Apple demographic is getting 4K. The stores are full of them, as well as new 4K media all over, including your newest iPhone. So they rightly ask, why is Apple so far behind in Apple TV?

            Lazy product leadership, that’s why.

            1. “The stores are full of them”.

              Yes, it’s their new marketing push. You noticed. Meaningless. A couple years back the stores were full of 3DTVs. *flop*

              How do you stop a dummy from buying a gadget he/she doesn’t need simply because the marketing meme-of-the-day says they MUST get it?

              I don’t know!

              Meanwhile, should Apple update the TV to 4K? Yes, if they can keep the cost down. But is 4K TV going to ‘SAVE’ Apple or add significant profits to the company coffers? NO.

              4K is hype hype hype. 8K is insanity.

    1. New technologies always undergo an adoption cycle.

      My father worked for an NBC affiliate in West Texas at the time of the first national color TV broadcast on January 1, 1954. I was one of six people who watched the Rose Parade that day on the only color TV receiver within 400 miles, The set belonged to the station’s owner and cost $1300 (almost 12,000 2017 dollars).

      As of the spring and summer of 1965, more than eleven years later, over half of NBC’s programming was still in black and white, ABC had only three color series (all animated), and CBS did not have a single regularly scheduled color series. Less than 5% of U.S. television homes had a color set.

      By the fall of 1965, the networks were in a ratings war that led NBC to broadcast almost all of its prime-time programming in color, with CBS and ABC moving to color for just over half their combined programming. A year later, prime time was entirely in color. ABC aired its last black-and-white daytime show in December 1967. NET (the forerunner of PBS) was not majority-color until 1968, but WQEX in Pittsburgh did not convert to color until October 1986.

      With programming in color finally widely available, sales of color sets finally passed monochrome in 1972, which was also the first year that a majority of American television homes had at least one color receiver. Adoption of color television as the standard therefore took roughly 18 years.

      Digital TV moved much faster, with standards adopted in the early 1990s and the transition from analog complete in the USA on June 12, 2009—only about 15 years, although Mexico did not switch completely until a year ago.

      In the case of both color and HDTV, the advantages were immediately obvious to any observer with normal vision. It is hardly surprising that much more subtle changes would not be adopted overnight, particularly in the absence of universally adopted final technical standards.

      1. Extremely well said. The part about the previous switches being obvious to people with normal vision is the most important part. I think HDR is the real big next step, because most people can clearly see a difference with the color saturation and image quality, while UHD isn’t that apparent to people with worse than 20/20 vision. People with 20/15 or better can see a tangible difference with UHD but it’s such a small percentage of the population that won’t drive adoption. Also, I think all of the new TV’s being “Smart” in some way is aLao problematic’ for us technically minded people it makes more sense, but for the average consumer, they just want to switch inputs and turn the thing on and watch it. They don’t want to go through a 45min setup process and software updates when they come.

    2. The whole of AppleTV and its fragmented and poorly thought out approach to interface is an embaressnent. And this coming from the worlds most valuable and supposedly most innovative company ?
      ..if you cant do it right.. or u dont want to commit……..then you might as well not do it… save the embaressnant and disappointment .

      Imo.. anything under Eddy Cue seems to be a mess or subpar….. let alone the best. why is he still there? what does he accomplish that wows us? Can anyone enlighten me? Please! (Or is just clout)

  1. Meh, where exactly is all of this 4K content?? Where are the OTA/cable channels that are actually broadcasting in 4K?? Until there’s a whole lot more content, I’ll stick with the “just fine” 1080p TV and Apple TV that I already have.

    1. Tons of the new, original content that Netflix and Amazon (which, of course, the Apple TV doesn’t have) are shot in 4K, and they’re GLORIOUS to watch…so long as your internet provider gives you a high enough monthly usage cap.

        1. But… I thought Apple’s philosophy is to skate to where the puck will be, not to where it is.

          Oh, wait…
          That was Steve Jobs’ philosophy (borrowed from The Great One). That’s clearly NOT Tim Cook’s philosophy. Seems Tim Cook’s philosophy is to skate to where the puck WAS!

    2. Your iPhone, silly. Also all your photos taken on your phone. Photos are the biggest benefit to 4K. That and text. Were websites retina ready when the iPhone came out with retina screens?

      Apple is seriously lazy with their hobby. There is only one reason they didn’t include 4K in their 2015 Apple TV. So they could fleece us to buy the next one.

    3. I think the Apple TV (Gen 4) will/does support 4K. Apple will activate it once they have all the deals in place to offer 4K in the iTunes store. Not just Netflix, YouTube and Hulu.

  2. This is so dumb. 4K is dumb, save for monitors close to one’s eyes and here is why.

    Stand back and watch video on a 4K set vs a 1080p set. And DO NOT KNOW which is which. Do this over and over, and you’ll get it wrong 50% of the time. 6ft from the display and you cannot see the pixels. It’s over. I’ve looked at sets over and over and over, and worked in the printer industry working on DPI vs marketing DPI. People believe and think they see what they want to see. In reality? Uh no. 1080p for sets (typically 70″ and below – and depending how far away from the display) is 100% perfect. This means about 98 of all consumers will never truly see any difference in 4K vs 1080p. Never. Refresh rates, IPS, and HDR is another story. But you know what. Once you have a set at home, glare, light, etc… and the fact you don’t have other sets in the room side-by-side, 95% of consumers will find their sets look awesome. Because they do.

    TV Makers. The new con-artists, and why anyone with a 60″ 1080p HDTV needs to upgrade, well, that’s just dumb, but hey, people spend money on dumb stuff all the time. So enjoy I guess.

    1. Whatever. I can see the difference. Apple released a 5K iMac, so apparently they felt better resolution is important too. But that was years ago and the state of the art is improved.

      What’s more, the cost is minimal. If you want a set with the latest HDMI 2.0 or any smart features, then you’re going to get 4K. Those UHD TVs with high dynamic range (HDR) pixels and faster processing costs little more than the 1080p HD sets do.

      So you can go on and on about what YOU need, but the industry hasn’t stopped improving. You can get on board or you can keep using your antiquated equipment until it dies. Your choice.

      By the way, is it now the Apple way to say “this is all you need”, or “this is good enough”? There was a time that Apple stunned us with excellence. I remember Jobs bragging about having the first high resolution home printer, and Apple making a big deal about Retina displays. Now Apple and some of its fans are pretending that meeting the lowest consumer expectation is all we should do. That is pathetic.

      1. Apple has never been the first to jump onto pixel count when it comes to digital content. Remember the video on iTunes was originally 320×240, then 640×480, then 720p, then 1080p and 1080p didn’t even come until 2012.

        Honestly the HDR is a bigger deal than 4K, and that’s probably what you’re seeing. On my XBR-X930D the upscaled 1080p streams from my Apple TV look better than the 4K from the built in apps for Netflix and the like. A lot of it comes down to compression and other factors. And if the show is shot in 4K and then down sampled to 1080p it looks fantastic. Plus the upscaler in the Sony is excellent, even broadcast HD looks significantly better than on my previous Aquos 1080p set.

        The major issue is that most people who invested in a decently high end television 5-6 years ago are not going to buy a new one. The upgrade cycle is just not that short. Look at my dad, he still has the Aquos I bought him in 2006 and sees absolutely no reason to get a new tv any time soon since everything still looks good to him.

        1. Apple has become a joke. There is no defense left of the impotent performance of Pipeline Timmy. MDN will be forced to change their website to MDL…Mac Daily Lose. It has become an every day news item.

          Make Apple great again…Dump Pipeline Timmy.

          Do not send a girl to do a man’s job.

            1. You leave my bitty little botty out of it! Down under on the backside it’s a private space only accessible to Tim Cook and noone else!

              That’s why I call him dump pipeline Timmy because he always dumps a big load from his big one into my botty

          1. Sad that I agree. Tim and pals sell 100% of their stock as they vest. Jeff Williams COO inventory guru. Fire immediately. Let Eddy go out to pasture and get fatter. He could care less. We that love th company are treated like fools.

      2. The Tim Cook executive team just want to sit back and vest their millions in stock and leave. They just hope Amazon, Google, Netflix and Facebook slow down their innovations so they can quietly vest and leave. Whoever invented the Airbuds promote him or her and fire Tim and fire whoever manages supply chain, Jeff Willliams?

    2. You’re an idiot, and you need glasses, obviously. There’s a huge difference on my 4K TV from the back of the room on the couch. All of you people who complain about it make yourselves look like poor, uneducated, tech-illiterate trailerpark scum who probably tote Samsung phones. Did you bitch about the same thing when VHS moved to DVD or when DVD moved to Bluray? It’s literally just as big of a change. Get a brain.

      1. Calling people names and insulting them doesn’t change science. It is proven that there is no difference when viewed beyond a certain distance dependent on screen size. The bigger the screen the farther away you can be before you can’t tell the difference anymore. Our eyes are only capable of processing so much information. That distance will also vary as everyone’s eyesight is different but nonetheless that limitation exists for us all.

    3. Someday people will stop spouting off this BS.

      Ugh, if you can’t see the difference between UHDTV and HDTV at a reasonably sized screen and at a reasonable distance (say at 1 to 1.5 times the diagonal distance of the screen) then that’s you. You can either be completely comfortable with that or you can get your eyes (or glasses) checked. It’s completely up to you. No one needs to push you to do things differently.

      It’s not much different than those that need to wear glasses. Most people are fine with thick lenses that inherently introduce distortions off of the center (and may not be all that crisp on center either). Some go to the extra expense of very high index of refraction lenses that allow much thinner lenses and less distortion giving them a better view. Some even go to very high index of refraction lenses plus aspheric surfaces to give the best vision. (Note: the best of these can cost upwards of $500 just for the lenses even before any coatings.) It’s a matter of what is the minimum acceptable to them. If a person will settle for cheap dime-store glasses they will be happy with 720p TVs. If they demand the highest index aspherics they will want UHDTV sets because they can see a difference. That’s just the way it is.

      Do the research into what the human vision system can actually perceive and do the arithmetic. (I won’t even call it “math”.) There are a lot of research papers out on the web on this — even double blind tests. I’ll trust those long before I trust anecdotal evidence from individuals.

      And…
      “This means about 98[%] of all consumers will never truly see any difference in 4K vs 1080p. Never.” Didn’t you know that 99.99% of all statistics are made up?

      1. I think his points while slightly exaggerated were mostly correct though. At 1-1.5 times the diagonal of the screen on a large enough panel you should be able to see a tangible difference if the content you’re watching is in full resolution, and/or the upscaler in your tv is very good. Like I said I see a noticeable difference on my X930D with all content, and especially with HDR. But I think that’s mostly down to screen technology not resolution. The Aquos it replaced was from 2007, and it was a CCFL LCD television, a very good one, but still CCFL backlit. Display technology has come a long way since then and the advances in lighting and upscaling have made a huge difference. But from “across the room” (as he said) where most people sit (read 10feet +) since they don’t understand the new math for high res displays and since most broadcast HD is 720p/1080i, they won’t notice much of a difference unless they have excellent vision (better than 20/20)

        But, when it comes to comparing 4K content on the TV itself? Well encoded 1080p looks indistinguishable or better than 4K from the built in apps on the TV. Now from my Xbox 4K blu ray player there is a significant difference in color saturation and gradients over a lot of the early blu ray’s that I own. But the streaming 1080p content from the Apple TV is better than the Xbox, or the built in apps on the Sony.

        The best 4K I’ve seen on the display is what I’ve recorded on my alpha 6300 since it’s at a very high bit rate. But otherwise the upscaler makes the 1080p streams look excellent.

        1. Nope. It’s not just the pixels. It’s the HDR. It’s the fluid motion. It’s the blacks, the refresh rate. And it’s the pixels. There’s plenty of data out there that says vision is lots more than dot count. The tighter pixels create a better visual perception, even at so-called retina distances.

      2. Shadowself, you are consistently and insistently WRONG.

        Flip over to page 2 of this thread and read what I posted, including the linked articles. It runs rings around your logic.

        STOP trying to lead people to RIPOFF TECHNOLOGY.

        What you want is 1080p + HDR. Perfection. You’re done. √

  3. Despite the so-called “science” that says you can’t see a difference between 1K & 4K, there are other tangible benefits from 4K displays.

    However Apple has resisted the 4K supply for a simple reason – there are NO STANDARDS for 4K television, nor HDR, nor expanded colorimetry. There are PROPOSALS for standards. But the SMPTE, one of the Standards organizations, got caught colluding with Dolby and Sony (one of the REAL bombshells that came from the Wikileak dump of Sony emails). The Justice Department has been investigating Dolby executives along with a (since fired) Warners Vice President and SMPTE management. Until real standards for HDR television emerge, there’s no reason for Apple to embrace this evolving technology.

    1. I don’t have a dog in this fight. I still watch DVDs and am perfectly happy with them. But I don’t see this as a valid reason for Apple to skip out on 4K since it IS a requirement for many people and they will lose out on sales. Presumably, as long as the equipment is able to process 4K data, the exact particulars of the standard aren’t a barrier since the software can be updated to support that.

      1. I’d agree with that, but there are so many moving parts and some of it is software and some is hardware. H.265 was just recently finalized (although there may be some additional tweaks) and needs to be baked into hardware.

        I do think it has made sense for Apple to wait until everything was in place and then boom release everything ecosystem wide as 4K/HDR/H2.65 along with production tools, content and a policy/method for upgrading previously purchased content.

    2. Since when did lack of standards stop Apple innovation in the past? The best way to be a leader is to lead forward. As Cook waits for clarity before making a move, he cedes market after market to the real tech innovators. That alone is reason to fire Cook. A monkey could milk profits from Jobs’ iOS store. Apple is at huge risk of becoming a has-been witH Cook as ceo.

  4. Pipeline Timid Tim and Fat Buffon Mid Life Crisis Eddy Cue like 1080i and the BS TV app that doesn’t connect with Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. But hey, Tim thinks the future is Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps. Drive some more wine Fat Eddy. Creepy creepy looking guy. Maybe button up the shirt a little as well Eddy

    1. Blah blah? Don’t you think Apple should have a streaming video service? They invented the streaming rental market. Don’t you see Apple being late lazy and lacking vision?

    2. @ cococanuck: Precisely. None of the carriers in my area provide *any* 4K. In fact, most content is still standard def or 780P, with a few premium channels at 1080P. To make matters worse, most older movies and shows were never recorded in HD so even on HD channels the content just gets up-converted from a 680×480 format. A nice cheap 1080P TV will cost far less, be just as good for the next decade while providers catch up.

  5. Tim is still pulling tv on a string. Whatever the hell tnat means. Eddy says we don’t want to Netflix. Apple is being left in the dust in this important area by Netflix Amazon and Google.

  6. The problem with a lot of the comments is they don’t analyse the reasoning behind Apples TV not going 4k
    It’s simple another money saving issue. if Apple have to send streams at 4k they will increase costs in internet delivery, storage and hardware upgrades to cope…

    it all boils down to money/ cost saving for company profits which is the on going constant from Apple for a while now.

    Its sad but Apple is just number crunching business now where as before it was an innovation business that priced its products high so as to cover the innovations now its taking the over priced money but screwing the users with old tech
    We all know that’s whats happening based on the user forums kick back. It’s A very sad state of affairs where Apple is no longer a true leader but it just riding the hyperbole for all its worth.

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