It’s easy to think of the Apple TV 4K as a streaming system, and certainly that’s what it’s for the most part. However, it is significantly more expensive than most streaming devices, and many may not see the point of spending around Rs. 15,000 when competing devices (and even your TV’s own operating system) can do many of the same things for much less. However, Apple TV 4K can be so much more than that, making it a unique product that sits in a different kind of segment than you.
The recently launched Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is more powerful, more successful, and better-equipped than its predecessor in some ways, though oddly enough it’s priced a bit lower than before at Rs. 14,900 onwards. Is this system only for Apple fans, or can anyone benefit from having an Apple TV 4K? Find out in this review.
Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) design and specifications
Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is slightly smaller and lighter than the previous generation model. However, it is still significantly larger and heavier than most other products in this basic phase of the product. It retains the desktop look, though there are subtle design changes, such as the Apple TV emblem on top being swapped for a smaller, simpler Apple brand emblem. Notably, the entry price is lower than before, but the non-4K model has been discontinued.
As before, the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is offered in only one color option: black, with a distant silver. However, there are currently two variants of the system; the Rs. The 14,900 variant has 64GB of internal storage and Wi-Fi only for web connectivity, while the Rs. The 16,900 variant (the evaluation unit I was sent) has 128GB of storage and an RJ45 Ethernet port for wired connectivity, along with Wi-Fi.
This is also the only difference in design between the two variants, with the Ethernet port lining up at the back next to the HDMI port and power outlet. Included in the box with the system is an influence cable and the remote, but nothing else; You will need to purchase an HDMI cable to connect to your TV and an Ethernet cable (if desired) individually.
When it comes to specifications, the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) supports HDMI 2.1, Wi-Fi 6, and Bluetooth 5. The system is powered by Apple’s A15 Bionic processor, especially used in the iPhone 13 series, as well as the Basic models of iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus, among other devices.
Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) can stream in Ultra-HD (3840×2160) resolution, with support for Dolby Imaginative and Prescient codecs, HDR10+, and HDR10. Dolby Atmos audio is also supported and the system runs on Apple’s iOS-based tvOS platform.
Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) remote and options
The remote for the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is something of a knockout, thanks to its aluminum casing and combination of physical buttons and a touch-sensitive trackpad for navigation. Unlike most remote controls for other streaming devices, which use disposable, replaceable batteries, the Apple TV (3rd generation) remote has a built-in, non-replaceable battery that must be charged.
Interestingly, the remote itself is basically the same as the old tech, except for one big change: it has a USB Type-C port for charging (although no charging cable is offered in the box). While the remote looks and feels good, it’s also quite vulnerable to scratches and dents, so you’ll need to be careful when handling it.
The remote has buttons for navigation and selection, volume adjustment and playback, as well as calling Apple’s Siri voice assistant. The ‘TV’ button on the remote is customizable and will be configured to open the Apple TV app or go to the home screen in the tvOS interface.
HDMI CEC allows you to manage related devices using a single remote control. Apple’s tvOS software platform (version 16.1.1 at the time of this review) supports many applications and services that are optimized for use on a television screen. In addition, tvOS also gives you access to Apple Arcade, the company’s excellent subscription gaming service.
Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) efficiency
Apple’s tvOS platform is basically friendly to the environment and experienced fast loading times, with smooth and fast browsing. There was no noticeable lag in any way during my time with the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation). The operating system will be familiar to anyone with iOS experience, with most of the changes designed to make it suitable for the big screen and remote control navigation.
That said, tvOS sometimes feels overly simplified, with certain components within apps looking a bit lacking compared to Android TV or Amazon’s Hearth TV interface. This could be a good thing, with the easy-to-navigate grid on the main screen and content previews at the top, but there are also some drawbacks, such as restricted subtitles alternatives in some apps, occasional compatibility issues with the HDR format with insurance. streaming providers and unreliable content level support for Dolby Atmos in the Netflix app on tvOS.
Most of the apps that plug into tvOS—the major streaming providers, Apple Arcade games, and the like—are well put together and work as expected. There are some major apps that haven’t been updated recently (Tinder, for example), but these aren’t really related and you probably don’t even want to use them on a TV screen, you probably have a useful smartphone or pill.
As with other devices in the Apple ecosystem, you can quickly and effortlessly connect to any AirPods or HomePod audio system, the Apple TV 4K must. Another attention-grabbing feature is live wallpapers: the system downloads high-quality, high-resolution panoramic clips as backgrounds for the tvOS interface. Those have all been pretty good to look at, but the downloads are expected to be data-intensive.
A significant differentiator for the Apple TV system is access to Apple Arcade and other common games that have been optimized for tvOS. A proper game controller is important to be able to play many of the games on the Apple TV 4K, although many others can be done using the Apple TV remote itself. The experience was better on the big screen for many games, making the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) a really successful ‘microconsole’ of sorts, and that’s where the mighty A15 processor comes in handy.
Siri on Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is a bit disappointing, at least compared to its capabilities on other Apple platforms like iOS and CarPlay. It couldn’t play specific content on streaming services other than YouTube, Apple Music, and the Apple TV app, though it could at least open apps already installed on the system and navigate the app store with voice instructions.
When it comes to basic audio and video streaming capabilities, the Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is noticeably better when it comes to stability and streaming quality than devices that work on other platforms, especially on slower web connections. Buffering was minimal, and picture and sound were noticeably better on Apple TV 4K with a cellular data connection. Even with a much faster and more secure Wi-Fi connection, certain streaming providers like Apple TV+ and Netflix looked a bit better using this system than on the default Android TV platform on the Xiaomi Good TV X50.
The Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) might seem like just another streaming system, and a very expensive one, but there’s a lot to this device than most first impressions suggest. Granted, it carries out its core capabilities effectively enough for most, though tvOS often feels like it needs an overhaul. There’s plenty of storage, useful connectivity options, and Apple’s highly regarded ecosystem to sweeten the deal, especially if you already have other Apple hardware and subscriptions to its key providers.
Though undeniably expensive for a streaming system, the Apple TV 4K is powerful and successful enough to be considered a microconsole, and can bring most of the capabilities of your iPhone or iPad to your much larger TV screen. With this in mind, and when you’re already on the Apple bandwagon, Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is affordably priced.
Value: Rs. 14,900 and up
Design and specifications: 9
- Excellent design and high quality construction.
- Elective Ethernet connectivity
- Highly effective SoC, wonderful specs
- HDR10+ is now supported, along with Dolby Imaginative and prescient
- nice to play
- Many advantages of the Apple ecosystem
- tvOS generally feels overly simplified, however it does have some minor drawbacks
- Siri feels ill-equipped in this system
- However, considerably expensive despite the drop in value