ap­ple tv goes 4k

Im­merse your­self in pix­els, and more

Mac Format - - CONTENTS -

big-name man­u­fac­tur­ers such as Sam­sung, LG and Toshiba of­fer­ing new sets for well un­der £500. The cheap­est we’ve seen so far is Toshiba’s 43-inch U6763 for £379 from Tesco Di­rect, but we’d rec­om­mend spend­ing a lit­tle more to get a set that sup­ports ‘HDR’ – high dy­namic range (see above) – for the best pic­ture qual­ity, such as Sam­sung’s 40-inch, tongue-twist­ing UE40MU6400U for about £500. As far as con­tent goes, Net­flix has al­ready up­dated its Ap­ple TV app to sup­port 4K stream­ing, and you can sub­scribe to its 4K ser­vice for just £9.99 a month (com­pared to £7.49 for a stan­dard HD sub­scrip­tion). Ama­zon’s Prime Video ser­vice is com­ing too – al­though that may be a few months away yet.

Ap­ple is also tempt­ing ex­ist­ing Ap­ple TV own­ers to buy the new model by of­fer­ing to up­grade their ex­ist­ing HD pur­chases from the iTunes Store to 4K ver­sions for no extra charge as soon as they be­come avail­able. And, of course, you can shoot your own home videos in 4K us­ing an iPhone 6s or later, so it’s about

time that you can see them in their high­def­i­ni­tion glory via the Ap­ple TV.

The bad news is that you might need to up­grade your broad­band in order to stream 4K video. Net­flix rec­om­mends a broad­band speed of 25Mbps for 4K – com­pared to 5Mbps for stan­dard HD – and that’s well above the UK aver­age of around 16.5Mbps. You might need a new router too – most cur­rent 802.11ac routers can han­dle those sorts of speeds but could still strug­gle if you’ve got mul­ti­ple de­vices con­nected to the in­ter­net at the same time. If you’re stream­ing 4K video to your Ap­ple TV, Spo­tify to your iPad, and the kids are play­ing Minecraft on a games con­sole then you might need a newer ‘Wave 2’ router that pro­vides fea­tures such as ‘MU-MIMO’ (multi-user, mul­ti­ple-in­put, mul­ti­ple-out­put) which can help to stream data to mul­ti­ple de­vices more ef­fi­ciently.

There’s plenty of choice here, al­though this might de­pend on who sup­plies your broad­band at home. If you’re a BT cus­tomer then you can up­grade to its lat­est Smart Hub router for just £70 – or get it for free if you up­grade your broad­band to BT’s high-speed In­fin­ity ser­vice (which you’ll prob­a­bly need as well). If not, then the lat­est Wave 2 routers tend to start at around £130, or £150 for a router that also in­cludes a mo­dem for in­ter­net ac­cess, such as TP-Link’s Archer VR2600.

Hey Siri!

As well as sup­port­ing 4K video, the new Ap­ple TV will also sup­port both HomeKit – as the last fourth gen­er­a­tion model did – and the up­dated AirPlay 2, which is due as part of iOS 11. The HomeKit sup­port means you’ll be able to talk to Siri on the Ap­ple TV and use it to con­trol other HomeKit de­vices, such as Philips Hue lights, or the Ne­tatmo Starck ther­mo­stat for your cen­tral heat­ing.

AirPlay 2 opens up a whole new ket­tle of smart home fish, as it will al­low the Ap­ple TV – as well as Macs and iOS de­vices – to con­trol mul­ti­ple speak­ers in dif­fer­ent rooms. The ob­vi­ous start­ing point here is Ap­ple’s new HomePod speaker, but other com­pa­nies will be able to build AirPlay 2 into their own speak­ers as well, al­low­ing you to cre­ate your own cus­tomised multi-room speaker sys­tem us­ing many dif­fer­ent types of speaker.

That’s some­thing we’ll come back to once the HomePod ar­rives this Christ­mas, but in the mean­time the new Ap­ple TV opens up all sorts of pos­si­bil­i­ties for home en­ter­tain­ment and home au­toma­tion. It’s the first must-have up­grade that Ap­ple’s lit­tle ‘hobby’ de­vice has had for sev­eral years and might even be the one that con­vinces you to go out and buy a new 4K tele­vi­sion this Christ­mas (along with the HomePod, of course).

The lit­tle box that’s big on power. In­side the new Ap­ple TV you’ll find an A10X Fu­sion chip, mak­ing it a great up­grade for gamers, too.

HomeKit sup­port means that you can ad­just your heat­ing by talk­ing to Siri on the Ap­ple TV.

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