Apple TV 4K: Save your money or something

“Earlier this week, Apple promised an ‘incredible’ TV experience. It delivered a snooze fest,” Jennifer Van Grove writes for The San Diego Tribune. “Starting at $179, the new Apple TV, dubbed the Apple TV 4K and available on Sept. 22, is an upgrade worth skipping.”

“Really, for that price, all you get is the fourth-generation Apple TV with support for super-high resolution content, a.k.a. 4K,” Van Grove writes. “Otherwise, you get the same Siri-powered Apple TV remote, with its finicky touch pad, and the same browsing experience, save for a 4K gloss applied to the user interface. The most noticeable improvement is a faster chip for more processing power.”

“But if you must have 4K movies and you already default to iTunes for your movie purchases, then you might as well upgrade to the Apple TV 4K. The device’s high price tag is partially subsidized by Apple’s promise to upgrade all your iTunes-purchased HD movies to 4K,” Van Grove writes. “These theater-quality flicks will also be sold at HD prices going forward. So that’s something… [But] Apple releases its own streaming TV package or finds its footing in the original TV and movie business, I just can’t see the appeal of the Apple TV 4K for anyone other than movie buffs.”

Apple TV 4K
Apple TV 4K

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Rivals promise 4K capability, but deliver a paltry selection of 4K titles. Apple will lead by offering easily the widest breadth of 4K titles. Plus, as mentioned, your prior purchases than have 4K versions will be upgraded at no cost.

We’ve already pre-ordered several Apple TV 4K units and suggest that those are in the Apple ecosystem who have or plan to get 4K sets do the same.

Apple starts rolling out 4K HDR iTunes content ahead of Apple TV 4K launch – September 15, 2017


  1. Less than I paid for 4th Generation. I’m getting one right after I waste the money on a 4K screen and pay more for additional bandwidth to support an uninterrupted stream.

    The purchase price is hardly an issue.

    1. My most favorite remote of all streaming boxes is the Roku 3 remote. It does everything easily and has fantastic battery life. I honestly don’t like the Fire TV remote (the Alexa one) because it eats up batteries too quickly. I wish it used AAs instead of AAAs.

      1. ATV 4K hardware may have finally caught up to the basic technical standards the rest of the industry already has supported for a couple years now. And upgrading previously purchased content is nice. But why Apple continues to miss obvious improvements. I cannot see why anyone would pay more for ATV when the Roku ergonomics and interface are better.

        Needing to put a condom on the remote is almost as insulting as carrying a little tote full of adapters with the MBP. More and more Apple relies on 3rd party fixes for things that Apple’s resident geniuses should be able to figure out the first time.

        Sorry, but if Apple continues to charge a premium and then expect users to invest tons of time and money for aftermarket fixes, they will lose potential customers.

        1. I am skipping the new 4k.

          But just ended up buying the remove condom (as you put it) aka a remote case off of amazon for my current ATV.

          Silly I am doing this because of sloppy design on Apple’s part. But hey, the remote looks really really cool when sitting on the coffee table not being used.

    2. I agree with all the hatred for the remote that comes with it, but then again…. I’d use a Harmony remote and my iPad and/or iPhone Remote app for AppleTV regardless anyway. It’s so much easier for text entry (us the iOS keyboard) and I usually have all 3 near me when I’m in front of the TV anyway. The remote that came with my LG OLED is pretty slick, does voice entry, has a Wii like pointer, but despite that I never use it because I have the Harmony remote and for text entry I have the app on my iOS devices.

      1. You make the point that the Apple TV is sloppy still. You use the iPhone or iPad or Harmony to avoid using the ATV4 remote AND because the text entry on the ATV4 user interface is AWFUL! Don’t you think for a few more bucks, you should at least get an interface that might make using the ATV4 remote (tiny as it is) a little bit less painful??? You shouldn’t have to rely on third party remotes unless Apple just leaves off the remote and cuts the price of the thing! And yet you make the case that the upgrade is worth it because you’ve found work-arounds for all the problems. Others found other devices and you can’t blame us.

  2. Having my entire move collection upgraded to 4k is easily worth the price of this device. For me, it works out to less than $1 per movie since I’ve been a long-time user and every tuesday look for the $4-$7 movies to see if it’s something I’ve wanted.

    Like MDN, I have a Sony UltraHDR set so it’s processing will likely be superior to even Apple’s, but the compression used for TV is likely far superior to other streamers.

    Finally, even this article does not provide a harsh enough critique of the disastrous Siri Remote. Even after shelling out another $7 or so for the SiriCondom™ it still pretty much sucks.

    I try to use my Watch remote whenever possible and have learned my lesson with the first SiriCondom™ which I got in black. It improved the experience, but in the dark, I sometimes still had the remote initially in the wrong orientation. At least the SiriCondom™ enabled me to correct that orientation by feel.

    Having already ordered my 4k TV I picked up another SiriCondom™ for the new device. This time, I got it in WHITE so that the only black area on the remote will be the touch surface. In addition, I’m hoping the white makes it a bit easier to find in the dark because Apple couldn’t even bring itself to make the new-improved white right illuminate.

        1. You mean Apple Remote Extenz! Guaranteed to make your remote grow at least 1.5 inches and may sometimes even produce additional girth! I see now! Might really need a condom considering the size of that growth!

    1. Here’s the problem:

      Your entire movie collection is not going to be upgraded to 4K for quite a while. Go to Best Buy and take a look at all the titles that are in 4k and then look at all the blu rays and DVDs that are out. There are a lot of studios that simply aren’t putting their movies out in 4K. There’s also a lot of studios that aren’t even creating 4K DIs of their films to master from so there is little to be gained in a 4K file. Just like bluray it will take awhile for a lot of catalog films to get the 4k treatment and because Apple is selling them at the same price as the HD versions, there is little financial motivation for studios to spend the extra money on the 4k release. Why make two versions available when you can’t charge more like you do on the disc? Most people who were going to buy the 4k will likely buy the HD if that’s the only version.

      It’s great that Apple is upgrading the files but the deal they struck is probably going to slow down the rate at which catalog films are upgraded to 4k.

    2. I rated your post 5 stars just because you used the trademarked SiriCondom at least times and you left me chuckling. I still can’t fathom why you would get the new device but that’s your decision. We don’t use remote condoms in my house and that means no ATV4 upgrade and continued RARE use of the ATV4. Still – chuckle – SiriCondom! Love it. At least Apple did give us something to laugh about – a remote that requires a SiriCondom.

  3. I’m still on Apple TV 2, and it’s the STUPID remotes Apple produces that keep me with this STUPID remote. I had hoped for one that was easy to use. I don’t NEED a frickin tiny thing, I’m not backpacking it! Is there no way to use a keyboard with the new Apple TV? I don’t use Siri for anything–it’s dumb.

  4. TV not 4K, as with the watch, I don’t NEED a device such as this. Finally got my top of line iMac, which I love, and latest iPad Pro. My concern is what with and when to upgrade my rather “new” g Plus phone- Apple replaced old one instead of fixing or replacing bad battery- even though AppleCare Plus expired! What other company would do that? No, I’m concerned about price and “lip” on the X phone- will have to have one in my hands rather than read people whining about it. I’d hate to get an 8, or wait till next year…

  5. New modular Mac? No. New Mac mini? No. New Mac Pro? No.

    iPhone and Apple TV and Watch… things I already have and don’t need upgrading.

    My 2011 Mac Mini needs upgrading. Does Apple REALLY want me to go to a PC?

  6. Apple just trying to add to their bottom line so that the boys at the top can cash out their shares once Apple shares reach a new high next year. iPhone X overpriced. Apple TV overpriced and new prices on old iPads. Ya think that the sun is setting on Apple.

  7. Apple needs to do something similar to Apple Music service and buy or compete with Netflix if they want to get the majority of people interested.
    Netflix already has a lot of quality Netflix Originals. Apple has a lot of catching up to do.
    Apple TV should simply be the device that sells the subscription or download service.

    1. That wouldn’t work out in their business plan. Take for instance a few years back when there were competing standards for movies. We had Blu Ray and HD DVD. Apple like HD DVD but the Blu Ray won out and Apple wouldn’t support it since they couldn’t see making gobs of cash off of it and it is like that with anything they do. If they don’t own it or developed it then they really don’t want anything to do with it unless there are at least 50 billion dollars over the long haul, like Apple Music. If sales start to slip and the service or product isn’t bringing in 5 billion a year then it’s on its way out.

      1. Standards become irrelevant. It’s about delivering content. It seems to be working for creative content such as software and music. I don’t see why it wouldn’t work for movies and TV.
        I can’t see how it would cost Apple much of anything giving the infrastructure is already in place.

        1. You have music labels and movie studios that want a bigger cut of the proceeds for their products and that cuts into Apple’s bottom line if they had already figured out what they wanted before entering into negotiations with the two industries. The movie studios are really considering going out on their own and be damned with Apple. Disney isn’t going to jump in bed with Apple since they see the same thing as Apple $$$$$$$$ to be made selling their content over their own network, probably using hardware that Apple also buys for some of their products. Apple wants the whole pie but they are not getting it. They might get half and I read someplace that one Studio has settled with them. Will the others follow suit?

          1. The same thing happened with music and software. Creators get 70% of something or they are on their own. Apple has already proven the model.
            More importantly, people trust Apple with their privacy, account info etc. That can’t be said for any other company on the planet.

            Anyhow, Have a great weekend.

            1. In all fairness, Apple never failed her; someone got to her password and simply logged in. She is probably using two-factor authentication now.

              No amount of security can help if uses don’t want to use it.

    2. If they depend on the current device to sell the subscription, God help them and their investors. The device has the lowest market share of any streaming device for a reason. It’s Apple’s lost baby whose mother is not even look for it!

  8. My 3ATV64 is giving improved picture quality on the 4K upgraded titles that appears to be 4K standard. One film had a streaming interruption, with degraded quality right before the move crashed. Three others have been no problem- since I don’t have a Dolby or HDR set, yet, wonder if I should even bother….

    My son has my old 2ATV64 and the 4K icon doesn’t even show on his 4K upgraded titles. People were saying the 3rd gen version should be capable of 4K with a software enhancement – are we getting a rare freebie from Apple, like their early days with free replacement system discs?

    Yeah, don’t even get me started on the inconsistency of the remote…

  9. So this AppleTV is exactly the same as the previous version except it has a faster CPU, a faster GPU, support for 4K, support for HDR, support for Dolby Vision, and automatically upgrades all your iTunes HD movies immediately to 4K for no charge…. but other than that it’s exactly the same.


    1. Since the CPU and GPU perform just fine on the ATV4, why is it a big deal that they upgraded them on the 4k version? They HAD to upgrade those to support freaking 4K! Upgrade my movie purchases to 4k automatically? Well thank you very much, Apple, since I would have been purchasing 4K movies for the last two years if I had had a device that supported them. Your argument makes NO sense because Apple is just doing its best to dig out of the hole that it put itself in. Its piss-poor market share on the ATV4 is deserved and with the interface that the thing has, any new purchases might seriously consider returning it.

      To your point though, it IS exactly the same from the standpoint of the experience is the same EXCEPT for 4k. That’s ALL they changed user-wise though they had to upgrade CPU and GPU to support that change.

  10. When Apple left 4K out of the 4th generation Apple TV, people speculated they were doing so only to be able to get people to upgrade AGAIN in a year or two. Fast-forward a year or two: THE SPECULATION WAS CORRECT! Apple didn’t even fix that horrible remote. And where’s our Amazon Prime app, Apple? I’ll keep ignoring my Apple TV and using my Fire TV Stick. It works great.

  11. One of the rare instances where I could not more thoroughly disagree with the MDN take. How many times has MDN scolded Apple for the tiny remote? I remember the disappointment when we all saw the one line of characters and the broken Remote app on the phone. Yes, that app has been replaced and we now have our phones as remotes. Apple should just save cut the price by $75 (the cost to replace a remote) and default the iPhone as the remote. But really, of all the griping we heard (and I did and do my share still!) about how poor the Apple TV4 offering was, the WORST was the lack of 4K because that single feature was present on the iPhone and just made no sense. So now we basically get Apple’s apology and it comes in the form of a price increase? That’s ALL they fixed. Mind you, I do use my Apple TV but not nearly as much as I used my ATV3’s chiefly because the ATV4 was such a GOD-AWFUL product that I got a FireStick and I use it as my primary streaming device now. I agree with the author above. I need to see SOOOOO much more in the form of features of this product before I will spend a single penny more on it going forward.

    Last night, I fired it up to watch a show on Starz. It was obviously connected because I could stream the show but it was streaming with captions. So I tried to use the Siri remote: “Turn off captions.” I got the message to try that again later as if Siri couldn’t reach Apple. I did a restart and that did fix it but this is the kind of stupid little details that I’m talking about – the inconsistencies in the experience – that show that it’s still in its infancy and my personal opinion is that Apple isn’t cradling the infant at all.

    When Apple commits to this product, I’ll consider recommitting. Right now, this is the single most bitter product Apple makes in my opinion and there is NO way I would consider upgrading.

    Now, does anybody know if the current AirPods will charge wirelessly or will I need to get a new pair? Seems like the keynote suggested we would need to replace those to gain wireless charging functionality. Am I right about that? (Familiar story – working on wireless charging for other products but introducing a new product without the feature so you have to purchase a new version to get the new functionality. It really does seem Microsoft-ish at this point.

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.