For several years, Apple TV has been lagging behind the competition. Now, with the introduction of its fourth-generation streaming device, Apple has burst on the scene with several innovative new features.
Apple TV Hardware
The look of the Apple TV hasn’t changed much. Like its previous version and its competitors (Roku 4 and Amazon Fire TV), it is an almost square black box measuring 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.9 inches. It’s smaller than both the Fire TV (4.5 x 4.5 x 0.7 inches) and the Roku 4 (6.5 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches), but slightly taller than both of those devices.
The back of the new Apple TV has Ethernet, HDMI, digital audio and lightning ports. The device comes with a lightning cable which is used for recharging the remote. This is highly preferable to the watch-type batteries in the previous version. There is a USB-C port, but no microSD slot. It is available in two models: 32GB of storage for $149 or 64GB for $199.
The new Apple TV runs on a new operating system that Apple calls tvOS. This brings a redesign to the interface making it much more colorful and visually appealing. tvOS also makes the setup extremely easy. Just place your iPhone or iPad near the Apple TV and it grabs all the settings that it needs including Wi-Fi. Of course, you can also do the setup manually.
While this new Apple TV supports resolutions up to 1080p, it does not support 4K like the new Amazon Fire. Although this is not necessarily a deal-breaker right now, such support would go a long way toward future-proofing this device.
Apple has integrated five major services into this new device: iTunes, Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime. There are also apps for many other services like Pandora and MLB. There is no support for Amazon but if you have a mobile iOS device you can play Amazon content on your portable device and throw it to the big screen using Apple AirPlay.