Thursday, September 21, 2023

Apple TV 4K review (2022): still the best streaming box by far

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After Apple And last but not least gave us a decent Siri remote last year, I couldn’t imagine the Apple TV 4K getting much better. It’s not like anyone is clamoring for an 8K upgrade – all we need these days is support for fast 4K streaming, as well as the multitude of HDR (high definition range) formats out there. The new Apple TV 4K can easily meet those demands, but what’s really impressive is that it’s much faster than before and it’s a lot cheaper at $129 (from $179)! Finally, there is an Apple TV that I can recommend to anyone without hesitation.

Gallery: Apple TV 4K (2022) | 6 photos

Let’s start with what’s new: This year’s Apple TV 4K is powered by an A15 Bionic chip, which was launched with the iPhone 13 (and is still used in the iPhone 14). That’s a huge leap from the 2018-era A12 in the previous model. The new box also comes with 64GB of storage, instead of a meager 32GB. If you plan on loading a ton of games and apps, there’s also a 128GB model for $149, which adds an Ethernet port and support for the Thread internet-of-things protocol. Finally, Apple has integrated HDR10+ support, which is similar to Dolby Vision for delivering more accurate HDR in any scene.


  • Fast A15 Bionic Chip
  • Excellent Siri Remote
  • Large app library
  • tvOS excels at multitasking
  • Much cheaper than before


  • Ethernet only on the $149 model

At first glance, the Apple TV 4K looks the same as the previous models: a sleek black box with obscenely rounded corners. Look a little closer, though, and you’ll notice that it’s actually smaller, like a prop rendition of its predecessor. Apple says it has 20 percent less volume than before, due to the loss of the fan from previous models (it runs silently) and is powered by more efficient hardware. Apple won’t say what exactly led to the dramatic price drop. But I bet it has to do with easier manufacturing, as well as a drop in component price across the board.

If you want to hear me sound poetic about Apple’s Siri Remote, check out my review of the latest Apple TV. I’m still in love with it a year later: it’s easy to hold, has all the basic functions you could want, and it’s much harder to lose than the previous super-thin remote. I’m still baffled as to why we were forced to use a glass-backed remote with a crappy touchpad on the original Apple TV 4K. Long live the new model and its touch-sensitive, directional clickpad.

Apple TV 4K (2022)

Devindra Hardawar/cafe-madrid

So sure, the hardware is great, but how’s the software? Setting up the Apple TV 4K is now surprisingly easy, assuming you’re already committed to Apple’s ecosystem. After plugging it in, all I had to do was tap the box with my iPhone to send my WiFi and iCloud credentials. I chose to sync my home screens, which bypassed all the apps from my current Apple TV. At that point, all I had to do was log into my usual streaming haunts and I was good to go.

After using every Apple TV the company has released in the past ten years, when I started using this new model, I immediately had one thought: This thing is fast. That’s not to say the last version wasn’t slow in any way. But there’s a spiciness in this year’s box that just feels liberating. I can easily swipe through all the apps on my home screen, launch Netflix a few seconds faster than before, and browse my library of movies without breaking a sweat. No more minor loading delays or pinwheels.

It may just be that I’m experiencing the rush of a brand new device, one that’s uncluttered by a year of use. But using the new Apple TV 4K feels like the difference between using an iPhone X and an iPhone 14 — everything just happens faster, with a greater sense of urgency. I found that most useful when switching between apps and different videos. While I was catching up Guillermo del Toro .’s Cabinet of Curiosities on Netflix, I was able to quickly switch to my YouTube channels while my wife needed a bathroom break, then resume the creepiness when she returned. Again, this is something I often did with the previous box, but now the Apple TV feels completely free.


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