Ap­ple TV 4K £179

What Hi-Fi (UK) - - Awards 2018 -

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

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