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The new Apple TV 4K might look similar on the outside, but the inside has been packed with a more powerful processor that takes everything from gaming to movies to the next level. Plus, there’s a new Siri remote that’s more comfortable to use and includes new features and (much-needed) button changes.
But now, after the hype from the event is over, we need to ask the tough questions:
Is the 2021 Apple TV 4K really worth it? If this would be your first Apple TV, should you get it? And if you’re already an Apple TV 4K owner, should you ditch your system to buy the new Apple TV 4K?
Here’s what you need to know.
What Makes the New Apple TV 4K Great?
The new Apple TV 4K brings a few new features to the table this time around, albeit they aren’t exclusive to the newer model. What is exclusive is the new, more powerful processor.
The 2021 Apple TV now comes with the A12 Bionic chip – admittedly, it’s not the most powerful chip Apple has ever created. This chip was introduced back in 2018, and it was first used in the iPhone XS, XS Max, and iPhone XR.
Still, that doesn’t mean the new Apple TV is a push-over. Despite being an older chip, it’s got enough power to boost the system’s performance to another level. Although, that’s an easy feat since the older Apple TV 4K featured the years-older A10X chip.
The A12 Bionic allows the new Apple TV 4K system to improve its existing features as well as allowing new ones. For the first time, Apple TV will support 4K High Frame Rate videos in High Dynamic Range, or HDR for short.
Likewise, you’ll be able to play Dolby Vision videos on your Apple TV, which is especially handy if you have an iPhone 12 Pro or iPhone 12 Pro Max, which are the only iPhones that can record video in that format.
Moreover, AirDrop has been improved on the new Apple TV 4K, so you’ll be able to stream your videos at 60 frames-per-second without lag.
Besides that, there’s a new color balancing feature that automatically lets you adjust the colors on your Apple TV. You just have to point your iPhone to the Apple TV, and the system will do the rest. The colors will be automatically adjusted without you having to change them manually.
Although, it’s worth mentioning that you’ll be able to use this feature on an older Apple TV 4K as long as it has the tvOS 14.5 software update installed and you have an iPhone with iOS 14.5 and Face ID.
The New Siri Remote Is Better Than Ever
The Siri Remote had one of the biggest changes, at least in its design. Now, the Siri button will be on the right side, similar to the iPhone. I know. Shocking, right? But wait, there’s more.
Now, the Siri remote is made out of one piece of recycled aluminum, and it brings more precise control over what you watch. Starting with a clickpad that’s far easier to navigate when choosing what you want to watch. Not only that, but it’s also touch-enabled, meaning you can swipe, jog, and make gestures to browse your movies or even playlists in Apple Music.
As mentioned before, the clickpad has a touch-enabled outer ring (think click wheel) that helps you fast forward or rewind (jog) more precisely with a simple gesture. And the best part of all? You don’t have to buy the new Apple TV 4K to get it. It’s been confirmed that the new Siri Remote will work with older Apple TV systems. That way, if you’re comfortable with your current Apple TV system, you can choose to buy just the new Siri Remote instead.
Fair warning, though, it isn’t exactly cheap. This magical remote will cost you $59. It’s not the most affordable, but it beats buying a whole new Apple TV.
So, Is the New Apple TV 4K Worth It?
Sure, a new Apple TV 4K sounds nice, but at a starting price of $179, it’s better to think twice if you actually need to upgrade. If you don’t really need the faster processor, 4K High Frame Rate HDR, or Dolby Vision, then there’s not really a compelling reason for you to buy the new Apple TV 4K.
Yes, it seems that Apple is trying to make Dolby Vision a thing, but it might still take a couple of years before it becomes a more mainstream video format. That being said, Apple is working with big networks like Fox and HBO to use Dolby Vision more frequently. Still, you can wait a while before making the leap.
Plus, since the color balancing feature and Siri Remote will be available for older systems, you can just update your Apple TV 4K and order the new remote to make it feel like you have a brand new system.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to get your first streaming system, the 2021 Apple TV 4K is a perfect choice. You’ll get amazing video quality, with a powerful processor that’ll let you play games smoothly on Apple Arcade, watch your favorite 4K shows, and work out using Apple Fitness+.
Whether you’re new to the Apple TV world or ready to upgrade, orders for the new Apple TV 4K will start on April 30th, and the system will be available in the second half of May.