Apple TV 4K 2021: A chunky Black Box, More Than Streaming

Let's be honest, the new Apple TV 4K (2021) looks just like the previous one. In fact, if you lined them up in a brightly lit room, it would be difficult to tell them apart. It also has the same great features, including access to Fitness+ and Apple Arcade, as well as support for 4K HDR, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Let’s be honest, the new Apple TV 4K (2021) looks just like the previous one. In fact, if you lined them up in a brightly lit room, it would be difficult to tell them apart. It also has the same great features, including access to Fitness+ and Apple Arcade, as well as support for 4K HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.

You have to look under the hood to really appreciate what Apple has done here.

The Apple TV 4K (2021) features better internals. There is a faster processor – the much-trumpeted A12 Bionic – and support for HDMI 2.1 and Wi-Fi 6.

In the days before machinery men and women who wanted to amuse themselves were compelled, in their humble way, to be artists. Now they sit still and permit professionals to entertain them by the aid of machinery. It is difficult to believe that general artistic culture can flourish in this atmosphere of passivity.

Aldous Huxley

The new Apple TV is anything but passive. It really is more than just a streaming box! In this review, we’ll take a look at the Apple TV 4K 2021 and explain why it’s still worth buying in 2021.

Apple TV 4K 2021: Function Over Form

In the age-old dilemma that many non-architects have heard of: should it be form over function, or function over form?

Apple certainly took the latter approach and gave us something that is visually unassuming, but feature-rich and powerful.

The official Apple press release says that the new Apple TV 4K 2021 is simply the best device for watching shows and movies.

Apple TV 4K
The new Apple TV 4K (2021)

We’ll second that. It delivers high frame rate HDR with Dolby Vision connecting you to your favorite content, and really puts top-end TVs to the task.

At its core is the A12 Bionic chip which Apple claims gives a significant boost in graphics performance, video decoding, and audio processing.

Changes in the design are, as mentioned, restricted. However, the Siri remote gets an all-new design, with more intuitive navigation controls, which you can navigate without having to look at the device.

Reasons to Still Buy Apple TV 4K 2021!

A Better Visual Experience

The last update to Apple TV was back in 2017, and if you have bought a new TV since then you may have another reason to upgrade.

The 2021 model supports frame rates of up to 60fps. This, coupled with Dolby Vision should really allow you to get the most out of it. The visual experience is immersive and second to none.

New Siri Remote

The new D-pad style remote control now has dedicated buttons for power and Siri. It is slightly thicker and feels more weighty in the hand.

Touch is nice and intuitive, it is more ergonomic and just feels better. Whilst you can purchase the Siri Remote for $59 and it will work with the older model, it is bundled with the new Apple TV 4K (2021).

The new remote also offers superior Siri searching. You can use simple voice commands to quickly navigate around Apple TV OS. It is a powerful and useful tool.

Dolby Atmos Integration

The new Apple TV makes the most of Dolby Atmos and allows you to connect with additional HomePod (not the HomePod Mini) devices.

We would recommend connecting two HomePod devices to really make use of Dolby Atmos. The experience is again immersive and the setup easy and intuitive.

Apple Arcade

Apple Arcade was launched on September 19, 2019, and is Apple’s foray into the subscription gaming market.

Subscribers can play original game content across a range of Apple devices including iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV.

You need the Apple TV device in order to play games directly on your TV. It will not work with the Apple TV app.

Front and Centre in Your Smart Home

Apple TV 4K (2021) can be designated as a smart hub in your Apple smart home. In addition, you can also connect the HomePod smart speaker system. This means that you can control all of your HomeKit smart devices remotely.

Because it’s an always-on device, you can use it for smart home automation.

This could be integrated with other devices to control mood and ambiance: switching down the lights at sunset or playing some soulful music.

The deep integration of Apple operating systems is also a plus in terms of integration. We look forward to further enhancements at the upcoming developer’s conference.

BetaWired Verdict | Apple TV 4K (2021)


CategoryRating
Overall★★★★★
Build Quality★★★★★
Features★★★★
Got to Have It★★★★

Summary

Overall, we love the new Apple TV 4K 2021. Whilst the design has not changed significantly, there are a lot of changes under the hood.

The no-lag experience really is a must in 2021 and the new Apple A12 Bionic, coupled with rich support for Dolby Atmos, ensures a great experience.

The upgraded Siri remote rests nicely in the hand and allows for an optimum experience when coupled with Siri voice commands.

Whist the upgrade is not cheap, with the 4K model starting at $179, for those demanding the best entertainment experience, and preferring feature over form, it really is a must.