Apple has announced a new Apple TV 4K, which includes its A15 Bionic chip, HDR10 Plus support, a USB-C powered remote, and a lower starting price of $129. The streaming box now also gets a storage bump compared to its 2021 predecessor, with the entry-level model including 64GB and the $149 step-up model including 128GB.
The new price point definitely puts Apple’s box, which used to start at $179, more in line with competitors from Roku and Amazon (though it’s definitely still a premium option).
What is Matter?
Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard that provides a common language for smart home devices to communicate locally in your home, without relying on a cloud connection. It uses Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols and, at launch, will include smart sensors, smart lighting, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats, connected locks, and media devices including TVs.
All this means that if a smart home device you buy has the Matter logo on it, you should be able to set it up and use it with any Matter-compatible device and in any Matter-compatible platform. Matter-compatible devices should start to become available toward the end of this year.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home are some of the big smart home platforms signed on to support Matter, and we expect to see updates arriving on these platforms over the coming months.
Unlike the previous generation, the base model is missing a few features compared to the slightly more expensive one. The $129 model is Wi-Fi 6 only, whereas the $149 model has an Ethernet port and includes a Thread radio for better smart home control (including for products that use the Matter standard).
Apple’s supporting Samsung and Amazon’s HDR10 Plus standard on both models, in addition to the Dolby Vision HDR standard that the previous Apple TV 4K supported. That should let you get the full HDR experience for most of the content you’re watching, whereas before, certain masters weren’t supported.
It’s probably not worth the upgrade if you have the 2021 Apple TV 4K, but now it’s a compelling competitor
Aside from that, perhaps one of the most exciting upgrades is that the remote, which features the same controls and general design as the previous model, now charges via USB-C instead of Lighting — yet another loss for the shrinking pool of devices using Apple’s proprietary connector.
Finally, there’s the chip upgrade; Apple doesn’t specify whether it’s the model of A15 found in the iPhone 13 or the iPhone 14, with the latter having one extra GPU core, but realistically, that’s not going to be too big of a concern. When we reviewed the 2021 Apple TV, it was notable that it used the A12 chip. It’s no slouch, to be sure, but with Apple pushing it as a gaming device to go along with its Apple Arcade service, it was notable that it didn’t have the latest and greatest. The new box arguably doesn’t, either, but it’s definitely a more modern chip.
You can preorder the new Apple TV today, and Apple says it’ll be available on November 4th.