Apple TV 4K £179
After a break in 2017 (none of the contenders reached the standard we require for an Award winner), this category makes its return – and it’s the introduction of 4K and HDR, along with a number of other improvements, that steers the honours to Apple TV.
Apple embracing 4K and HDR is great news, firstly because it shines a light on specs we want to see become as popular as possible, but also because it makes a whole load of 4K HDR movies streamable for the first time.
There’s just 32GB storage in the standard £179 model, and 64GB in the £199 version. That might sound fairly paltry, but as the Apple TV 4K only streams movies, TV shows and music, the only storage it needs is for apps.
This is kit for those who live in Apple’s technological universe. Once switched on, you’re treated to a typically slick Apple experience – particularly if you have an iphone or other IOS device, which can be used to share all of your account and wi-fi info.
The device detects if your TV supports 4K resolution and adjusts its output accordingly. It also tests for HDR support, sending an HDR signal to the TV. If you can receive it, everything the Apple TV 4K sends to your TV from this point will be in 4K.
The menu system is nicely designed and easy to use, and the voice control is genuinely useful. Hold the mic button on the slim remote and say “show me action movies” and you are taken directly to the relevant selection in itunes’ library. Follow up with “only those in 4K” and Siri will sift the list accordingly. You can also ask Siri to clarify some dialogue that you’ve missed, or supply information on actors.
A growing 4K HDR library
But hands-down, the Apple TV 4K’s biggest selling point is its library of 4K HDR movies, which is expanding at an impressive rate. Sky Q has a similar quantity of 4K films, with TV shows and sport added into the mix, but HDR isn’t featured, and you obviously need a Sky dish and subscription.
The addition of HDR is also a big deal, as it makes movies pop from the screen. Whites are pure and bright, colours are more vibrant and vivid, and blacks deeper and more solid. It’s simply a more exciting picture. HDR upscaling is no longer a feature, but we felt it had always been a bit heavy handed anyway.
Apple has now addressed practically all of the issues that held its TV box back. This is simply the best video streamer you can currently buy.
Apple has sorted many of the unit’s previous flaws, and its 4K HDR library is growing