tvos 12 makes Ap­ple TV 4K the box to beat

Dolby Atmos sup­port makes it one of the best stream­ing boxes around, writes Jason Cross

Macworld - - Contents -

With tvos 12, the Ap­ple TV 4K fi­nally gets the im­prove­ments nec­es­sary to be the best stream­ing box on the mar­ket. An­nounced at Ap­ple’s WWDC key­note, Dolby Atmos sup­port is a high­light, but Zero Sign-on could be the most im­por­tant ad­vance in mak­ing stream­ing me­dia boxes eas­ier to use.

Dolby Atmos

Ap­ple TV 4K launched last year with a hand­ful of is­sues, HDR and frame rate switch­ing hic­cups chief among them. Fur­ther IOS re­leases smoothed all of those out, but one oft-re­quested fea­ture was still miss­ing: Dolby Atmos au­dio sup­port.

With tvos 12, Dolby Atmos comes to the Ap­ple TV 4K. All you need for full 3D im­mer­sive au­dio is an Atmos-sup­port­ing sound bar or re­ceiver. This makes Ap­ple TV 4K the only stream­ing me­dia box to be cer­ti­fied for both Dolby Vi­sion and Dolby Atmos.

Ap­ple says itunes movies and TV shows will be up­dated this au­tumn with the largest se­lec­tion of Dolby Atmos-en­abled con­tent any­where. Just like the tran­si­tion to 4K and HDR, all ex­ist­ing con­tent will be up­graded to Atmos at no cost.

Zero Sign-on

One of the best fea­tures of tvos 11 is called Sin­gle Sign-on. You add your broad­band provider’s lo­gin in­for­ma­tion to your Ap­ple TV de­vice. It’s a big step for­ward, but still a lit­tle bit of a pain. With tvos 12, Ap­ple makes the whole process to­tally seam­less with Zero Sign-on. Ap­ple says that it will come later this year.

Aerial im­prove­ments

Ap­ple’s breath­tak­ing 4K video screen savers, called ‘Aeri­als’, is one of those mi­nor de­lights that Ap­ple TV 4K users can’t get enough of. In tvos 12, they get bet­ter. You can tap the re­mote to see the lo­ca­tion at which the Aerial was filmed.

A new set of Aeri­als is the star of the show, how­ever. Called ‘Earth’, these are stun­ning videos from space, taken by astro­nauts at the In­ter­na­tional Space Sta­tion (ISS).

Reach­ing out

With tvos 12, your Ap­ple TV is go­ing to work bet­ter with out­side ecosys­tems. The TV app will pro­vide live con­tent from se­lect TV providers, start­ing with CANAL+ in France and Salt in Switzer­land.

But it’s not just about mak­ing the TV app work with your TV provider. Ap­ple is al­low­ing third-party home con­trol sys­tems’ re­motes to con­trol your Ap­ple TV (in­clud­ing Siri), so you can fi­nally throw away that ter­ri­ble Ap­ple TV re­mote. Ap­ple called out Cre­stron, Sa­vant, and Con­trol4, but oth­ers should fol­low in the fu­ture.

Think to­day’s Ariels are cool? Wait un­til you see the ones they filmed from the ISS

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