During Tuesday’s keynote event, Apple announced the biggest upgrade that the Apple TV has seen in years. The new Apple TV 4K will feature crisp and vibrant 4K HDR visuals powered by an A10X Fusion processor, an upgraded Apple TV app, and even an Apple exclusive game that uses the Siri remote as a joystick.
However, Apple has made a foray into an already crowded field of 4K HDR standard set-top boxes that includes the likes of Amazon, Nvidia, Google, and Roku. What may set Cupertino apart from its competitors and draw more customers into its ecosystem is not its hardware, but its large and burgeoning library of 4K content.
It’s all about bringing “the magic of the cinema straight to your living room”, as Apple Senior VP Eddy Cue put it during the presentation. This is where Apple’s slew of content deals comes into play– it’s all about either producing and snagging 4K content that can exclusively be viewed on the Apple TV.
Incredible Upcoming Content for the Apple TV 4K
Cue announced that a bevy of 4K HDR titles are joining the Apple catalog thanks to content agreements the company has hammered out with at least six major Hollywood studios– Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, Paramount, Sony, Warner Brothers, and Universal.
Additionally, Netflix already has more than a hundred 4K titles (like Black Mirror) are waiting in the wings to be streamed on the new Apple TV, whereas Amazon Prime will have 4K content available for it by the end of the year.
On top of its studio deals, Apple has plans to export its TV app to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and the UK by the end of this year. This means that globally, Apple can provide viewers with access to content from a pretty long list of local providers like CBC, CraveTV, FXNow Canada, and AnimeLab.
The other major differentiator that Apple announced at the event is that later this year, it’s bringing a dedicated live sports tab to the Apple TV 4K, featuring every live sports game and the option to include or remove scores.
Low Cost 4K Video
The 4K content movie pricing also definitely is worth mentioning, because it’s a massive bargain. Apple has announced that its catalog of 4K content will be available at the same price of HD content (typically between $10-$20) thanks to some determined haggling the company’s business team did with studio executives earlier this year.
Cue also announced that, as an added incentive, Apple will provide free upgrades of 1080p HD content already purchased by iTunes customers (with the caveat that 4K versions are available).
Apple’s Original Content Ambitions
While initial reviews for Apple’s original series, Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps have been mixed, Apple is doubling down on its original content initiative. The Wall Street Journal reported last month that Apple has $1 billion set aside to not only produce original content, but also procure titles that are only accessible on the new Apple TV. It’s bidding for the rights to all manner of content ranging from the James Bond franchise, (which is owned by Warner Brothers) to the entire Bollywood film catalog of the Eros Group, an Indian movie studio.
With a competitive pricing scheme and exclusive access to 4K content, the new Apple TV just might outpace its competitors, even if it’s not the cheapest set-top box on the market. The Apple TV 4K starts at $179 for 32GB of internal storage, while the 64GB version is priced at $199. It will be available on September 22 and pre-orders begin on September 15.