2021 Apple TV 4K Review: Seeking a blockbuster, given a Band-Aid

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Comments

  • Reply 41 of 65
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,393member

    Beats said:
    On the 2017 version of the Apple TV 4K, playing NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition as part of an Apple Arcade subscription, textures on the player's jerseys are so low resolution that I'm convinced it must be a bug of sorts. Upon setting up the new 2021 Apple TV 4K, I launched NBA 2K21 Arcade Edition to see if there were any improvements. The menu and game seemed to load faster, but those low-res eyesore textures were still there.

    ...you do realize Apple's device doesn't alter textures in a developer's game, right? That's on them to do.

    No one gets this. Apple Arcade is just sh** in general. Apple is gonna get crushed by gaming services very soon if they don’t take this segment seriously.

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Arcade games have to still support iPhone 6S. So you can have an M1 device but the games are still iPhone 6S quality. 
    This IS a weird requirement.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the 6s will be abandoned this year. It’s the one I’m using right now and its performance is miserable even without having updated past iOS 12.x. I can’t stop feeling like there’s some mechanism actively making it worse, Minh by month, just to drive me to buy a new phone (mostly the keyboard behavior; I assume this is due to web services, because how could it develop lag without software updates???).
    Beats
  • Reply 42 of 65
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,393member
    Beats said:
    What a crappy update. I waited 3.5 years for this sh**. Minecraft leaving Apple TV was enough but then a bunch of other high quality games left the tvOS Store shortly after. My best PAID games are GONE. Ducktales, a game that ran on NES (1984) left Apple TV!!!!!

    Apple TV has been the worst gaming experience ever and I’ve owned turds like Virtual Boy and Gamecube(2001) which would absolutely ANNIHILATE Apple TV if it were released in 2021.
    This is why I despise internet-only distribution. Games and other media just suddenly vanish and are unavailable from the place they used to be available. I hate this with a passion. I’m still over here buying CDs and very seriously looking at Blu-ray players and discs for some things I really like re-watching semi-regularly. I wish I had started earlier on Blu-ray because things I like are actively going out of print there.
    Beats
  • Reply 43 of 65
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 767editor
    jwdawso said:
    Another Neil article where he has no clue who AI and Apple customers are. 
    If you, the reader, think AI "core" readers are the "typical" Apple user, you're really mistaken in that regard.

    For instance, if you think that, then you think that nearly the entire Apple user base wants a Mac mini tower, with PCI and PCI-E storage. The reality is, almost nobody outside the "core" AI readership gives a single crap about it. In fact, most prefer thin and light everything, instead of the constant cry that we get here for a shitload of ports, and thick to support that.

    Reviews like this have to appeal and apply to the larger audience, and not just the AI "core." Related to this, we've turned off comments on tips, because of ridiculous comments like "Why did you write this, this is obvious" -- when it really isn't to most.

    The AI "core" is 30% of our total readership, and dropping, as Apple's reach grows and we grow in readership. We're not abandoning that core, but there is zero chance we're going to ignore the other 70%.
    Almost any Apple customer (AI reader or not) who already owns a 2017 Apple TV 4K has very little reason to upgrade to this model. If you own a pre-2017 Apple TV and want to stay in the ecosystem, or you're new to the platform, and you don't want to use a device that spies on you, sure, you'll be happy — but you waited four years for this? Reviews shouldn't exist in a vacuum, and this device needs to be compared to the four-year-old previous-gen model.

    The new hardware is a borderline non-update, aside from the remote.
    edited May 26 dysamoriamuthuk_vanalingamxyzzy01mike54CloudTalkinasdasdBeatsllamaentropyselijahg
  • Reply 44 of 65
    dysamoriadysamoria Posts: 3,393member

    Reviews like this have to appeal and apply to the larger audience, and not just the AI "core." Related to this, we've turned off comments on tips, because of ridiculous comments like "Why did you write this, this is obvious" -- when it really isn't to most.
    I agree with everything you said, but the problem with this part above is that the info might actually be wrong. I emailed a potential correction to the article about Safari history clearing. Never saw an update to the article and never got a response explaining to me whether my info was wrong, or what.
  • Reply 45 of 65
    Everyone was hoping for a M1 but we got the three year old A12 instead. I guess Apple was afraid people would hack it to run MacOS.
    “Everyone” meaning you, apparently. Literally just you. Nobody thought that. You’ve slipped up here, gone a step too far—only an actual troll would say that.

    People were hoping for the A14, yes. The M1 in a $180 streaming box, no.
    edited May 26 muthuk_vanalingamfastasleepxyzzy01watto_cobra
  • Reply 46 of 65
    Everyone was hoping for a M1 but we got the three year old A12 instead. I guess Apple was afraid people would hack it to run MacOS.
    “Everyone” meaning you, apparently. Literally just you. Nobody thought that. You’ve slipped up here, gone a step too far—only an actual troll would say that.

    People were hoping for the A14, yes. The M1 in a $180 streaming box, no.
    Agree with you on this. No one was expecting M1, except the OP. I saw many people asking for A12Z, instead of A12. But I don't remember seeing anyone else asking for M1 in Apple TV refresh.
    tenthousandthingswatto_cobra
  • Reply 47 of 65
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,191administrator
    dysamoria said:

    Reviews like this have to appeal and apply to the larger audience, and not just the AI "core." Related to this, we've turned off comments on tips, because of ridiculous comments like "Why did you write this, this is obvious" -- when it really isn't to most.
    I agree with everything you said, but the problem with this part above is that the info might actually be wrong. I emailed a potential correction to the article about Safari history clearing. Never saw an update to the article and never got a response explaining to me whether my info was wrong, or what.
    Nobody on staff has any emails associated with this tip. Email it to me at Mike at AppleInsider.com

    I can't guarantee an email response. We literally get over 10,000 emails a day across us all.
    edited May 26 muthuk_vanalingamfastasleepBeatswatto_cobra
  • Reply 48 of 65
    AppleZuluAppleZulu Posts: 1,104member
    iadlib said:
    In a completely baffling move, the new 2021 Apple TV 4K does not include support for spatial audio with the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro.

    It’s not a “completely baffling move” if you do a little research or someone takes the time to fact check an article... Apple’s implementation of spatial audio requires gyroscopes and accelerometers on both the headphone side and the device side in order to compare the difference and modify the audio coming from your AirPods Pro/Max. 

    Clearly the AppleTV doesn’t have or need such sensors.   Implementing spatial audio would require a modification of some kind in the methodology that Apple uses to achieve the effect, perhaps acoustic mapping from the HomePod lineup or some other method. It does support traditional (higher quality) surround sound on your headphones though. 
    It's not a good assumption that we don't know how Apple implements Spatial Audio. Apple's implementation in code and firmware requires gyros and accelerometers on ONE device mandatory, and two devices optionally. It is only required on two devices as the code stands if the host device is battery-powered and casually mobile, and the Apple TV is clearly not. Obviously, you have to have them on the listening device.

    However, knowing that one device is stationary -- the Apple TV, like you said -- requires a single variable change, and not even a change in how the devices communicate as the API stands today.

    Apple actively chose to not support it on the Apple TV.
    I think it's a conscious decision on Apple's part not to implement a thing that a large number of users will misconfigure and not understand why (and therefore complain about it).

    Spatial audio for movies and TV implemented on an iPad or iPhone coupled with AirPods Pro or Max orients the audio to the action on the screen. Turn your head, and the audio stays with the screen (most of the time). In this configuration, the screen and processing hardware are in one device, which is almost certainly centered in a single user's field of view, and the content oriented upright form the user's perspective. That limits a lot of variables that can't so easily be assumed for the AppleTV. 

    First, the ATV and television screen are separate devices. The ATV is probably somewhere near the TV, but it doesn't have to be. It's highly improbable that it will be centered above, behind or below the screen, and is more commonly off to one side or the other.  Second, there is often more than one viewer watching a television screen, and they can be directly in front of it, off to one side, and may or may not be viewing the screen from a vertical position. This creates a lot of variables to overcome if the intent is to have spatial audio orient to the action on the screen. That wouldn't be impossible to overcome, but it would require additional hardware connected to the screen and probably in the AirPods, or alternatively, it would require a clunky user interaction to initialize a calibration routine every time a viewer sits down to watch. (OK, look at the screen. Are you in front of it or to the left or the right? Are you lying down or sitting up? ...) What happens if you get up to get up to get a snack from the kitchen and then come back and sit down in a different place?

    Another option is for the spatial audio to simply remain oriented as though the viewer is always centered and upright, like stereo audio is now. That might be o.k., but the more accurate and elaborate positioning of sounds in an Atmos sound mix might be weirder to an out-of-position viewer than stereo. Plus, since it's a new feature, more people would complain if it sounds wrong even if they have never noticed that stereo in headphones is misaligned if they're lying sideways on a couch.

    So if I were Apple, I think I'd take a pass on bringing that feature out, too, until an automatic, reliably accurate solution is available to make it 'just work' no matter where a viewer is in relation to the screen.
    edited May 26 fastasleepwatto_cobra
  • Reply 49 of 65
    sanssans Posts: 55member
    This will be a much needed upgrade for me. I just got a my 1st 4K tv and my old aTV HD (now on bedroom duty) won't cut it.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 50 of 65
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 3,140member
    I upgraded an old 3rd generation so the new Apple TV is a huge upgrade for me but I get what AI is saying. I don’t care about games; we use ATV to stream iTunes, Netflix, Disney+ and Hulu content. Compared to things like Roku ATV is horribly overpriced, unfortunately there isn’t really a better solution for our use.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 51 of 65
    spice-boyspice-boy Posts: 1,436member
    Not a TV night goes by without my cursing at my ATV remote. $70 plus tax seems to be a bit much just to clean up my French so back to cussing. 
    elijahg
  • Reply 52 of 65
    sdw2001sdw2001 Posts: 17,583member
    nhughes said:
    jwdawso said:
    Another Neil article where he has no clue who AI and Apple customers are. 
    If you, the reader, think AI "core" readers are the "typical" Apple user, you're really mistaken in that regard.

    For instance, if you think that, then you think that nearly the entire Apple user base wants a Mac mini tower, with PCI and PCI-E storage. The reality is, almost nobody outside the "core" AI readership gives a single crap about it. In fact, most prefer thin and light everything, instead of the constant cry that we get here for a shitload of ports, and thick to support that.

    Reviews like this have to appeal and apply to the larger audience, and not just the AI "core." Related to this, we've turned off comments on tips, because of ridiculous comments like "Why did you write this, this is obvious" -- when it really isn't to most.

    The AI "core" is 30% of our total readership, and dropping, as Apple's reach grows and we grow in readership. We're not abandoning that core, but there is zero chance we're going to ignore the other 70%.
    Almost any Apple customer (AI reader or not) who already owns a 2017 Apple TV 4K has very little reason to upgrade to this model. If you own a pre-2017 Apple TV and want to stay in the ecosystem, or you're new to the platform, and you don't want to use a device that spies on you, sure, you'll be happy — but you waited four years for this? Reviews shouldn't exist in a vacuum, and this device needs to be compared to the four-year-old previous-gen model.

    The new hardware is a borderline non-update, aside from the remote.

    I have an Apple TV 4 (non-4K) and an Apple TV 4K that I bought last spring.  I don't use the 4 anymore, as the apps on my new, budget 70" Roku TV work fine, and obviously support 4K HDR (the 4 does not).   My 4K is in my "man cave," hooked to a 55 inch 4K TV that I bought at the same time.  It's going through a 10 year old Denon surround receiver, so it  won't do HDR.  That is probably my next upgrade.  

    What you say is spot on.  There is no reason for me to upgrade my 4K.  Zero. If I want, I can buy the remote (since my original is on the fritz, I may just do that).  But if you have an HD, a 4, or anything prior, this is a great time to buy.  My own 4K replaced an Apple TV 2, which was on its last legs.  
    nhugheswatto_cobra
  • Reply 53 of 65
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,296member
    supadav03 said:

    NBA 2K is a joke on ATV. The Switch runs 2K better, even in handheld mode. I’ve pretty much all but given up on playing games on my ATV. There is really no compelling reason to. 
    Talk about overly dramatic.  My son and I had a blast playing NBK 2K21 last weekend on the new ATV.  The only downside was that I couldn't find a way for us to play on the same team, but that's a limitation of the poor port and not the ATV itself.

    Is the ATV going to compare to a dedicated gaming device?  Nope.  But for those of us who don't want to drop hundreds of dollars on a dedicated system + games, the ATV provides a decent gaming experience alongside all the other things it does at a reasonable price.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 54 of 65
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,296member
    Everyone was hoping for a M1 but we got the three year old A12 instead. I guess Apple was afraid people would hack it to run MacOS.
    “Everyone” meaning you, apparently. Literally just you. Nobody thought that. You’ve slipped up here, gone a step too far—only an actual troll would say that.

    People were hoping for the A14, yes. The M1 in a $180 streaming box, no.
    Everything OAD posts is about how he wants a completely hackable, configurable system for every device.  There are just some tech people who are so far down the rabbit hole, they no longer see the light of the rest of the world anymore.
    muthuk_vanalingamwatto_cobra
  • Reply 55 of 65
    dewmedewme Posts: 3,689member
    nhughes said:
    jwdawso said:
    Another Neil article where he has no clue who AI and Apple customers are. 
    If you, the reader, think AI "core" readers are the "typical" Apple user, you're really mistaken in that regard.

    For instance, if you think that, then you think that nearly the entire Apple user base wants a Mac mini tower, with PCI and PCI-E storage. The reality is, almost nobody outside the "core" AI readership gives a single crap about it. In fact, most prefer thin and light everything, instead of the constant cry that we get here for a shitload of ports, and thick to support that.

    Reviews like this have to appeal and apply to the larger audience, and not just the AI "core." Related to this, we've turned off comments on tips, because of ridiculous comments like "Why did you write this, this is obvious" -- when it really isn't to most.

    The AI "core" is 30% of our total readership, and dropping, as Apple's reach grows and we grow in readership. We're not abandoning that core, but there is zero chance we're going to ignore the other 70%.
    Almost any Apple customer (AI reader or not) who already owns a 2017 Apple TV 4K has very little reason to upgrade to this model. If you own a pre-2017 Apple TV and want to stay in the ecosystem, or you're new to the platform, and you don't want to use a device that spies on you, sure, you'll be happy — but you waited four years for this? Reviews shouldn't exist in a vacuum, and this device needs to be compared to the four-year-old previous-gen model.

    The new hardware is a borderline non-update, aside from the remote.

    I think your article is spot-on and the rating you assigned it is completely fair. It is a product refresh, not a product redesign. It's a needed refresh to an already great product with a few functional tweaks but it doesn't really break any new ground. I'm just happy that Apple is still in the game with what started out as a hobby.

    I think there are a lot of varying opinions about what the Apple TV should be that fail to recognize the reality of what the Apple TV really is. The Apple TV is not an ecosystem agnostic streamer or its own little closed system for running games tied to a proprietary console. The Apple TV is a device that brings a compelling chunk of your investment in the Apple ecosystem and associated content over to your TV so you can consume it in a living room, family room, or home theater setting. That alone is a key differentiator compared to non-Apple offerings and it only reinforces the value of investments I've already made in Apple's ecosystem and content purchases.

    Having all of the media from what used to be iTunes (music and video) and my Photos collection on my big screen TV and pumping it through my AV receiver is a really big deal for me. Having access to streaming services like YouTube, Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, and Discovery+ gives me a huge number of choices for what to watch and when to watch. These are bonuses on top of the core feature set.

    I'm not a hardcore gamer, so the games on Apple TV and Arcade are good enough for my casual use and to fill in some downtime with mindless diversion without falling into a huge timesuck portal that I will live to regret entering, and with less risk of being chastised for wasting time, by myself and by other people in my life. Again, these are bonuses on top of the core feature set.

    I don't use any of the HomeKit features, but they are in there. Being able to use my HomePod as a sound bar for Apple TVs that aren't hooked to a receiver or some other sound system is something I use and appreciate. It's a great clutter-free way to bring better sound to any TV.

    All I'm saying is that Apple TV is mostly about taking several things that are "Apple" up a notch or two and throwing them on to your TV, which is where a lot of people spend a lot of time. My Apple TVs "appleify" my TVs. No other competing product can make that claim and no smart TV (yet) brings the full appleification experience to a TV.

    For me, the Apple TVs have always been super reliable and low maintenance, which allays any acquisition cost concerns that I may have. I don't need Apple TV to be a full blown computer. All of my TVs that are equipped with an Apple TV have either a Mac mini, a NUC, or a Raspberry Pi connected to an HDMI port on the same TV. Some of my TVs have more than one computer connected to them in addition to the Apple TV. If I was a gamer I would undoubtedly park a PlayStation or XBox on one of the TV's HDMI ports, perhaps instead of a computer, but probably not. I like having a computer in the mix to check out my home security cameras, plug in a webcam for virtual meetings, keep up with email, and run a full blown web browser from my TV.
    edited May 27 watto_cobra
  • Reply 56 of 65
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,425member
    Beats said: Correct me if I’m wrong but Arcade games have to still support iPhone 6S. So you can have an M1 device but the games are still iPhone 6S quality. 
    That's not how it works. Apple Arcade games scale the graphic quality to the level of SoC being used, similar to how PC games work. The 6S would just be the base configuration, meaning the lowest hardware that can run the game. Everything above that would get corresponding boosts to performance/quality relative to the SoC being used. The games will load higher res textures, use more polygons, use more advanced lighting and atmospheric features, etc. the higher you go in the processor pyramid. 

    Yes and that’s a problem. The games cannot be native iPhone 7 and above. They’re like those “HD Remakes” that look like crap when compared to new games.

    Glad to hear polygons and textures scale up but this also explains why the games look so bad (6S base). 
    elijahg
  • Reply 57 of 65
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,425member
    crowley said:
    Beats said:
    What a crappy update. I waited 3.5 years for this sh**. Minecraft leaving Apple TV was enough but then a bunch of other high quality games left the tvOS Store shortly after. My best PAID games are GONE. Ducktales, a game that ran on NES (1984) left Apple TV!!!!!

    Apple TV has been the worst gaming experience ever and I’ve owned turds like Virtual Boy and Gamecube(2001) which would absolutely ANNIHILATE Apple TV if it were released in 2021.
    If you think the GameCube was a turd then I have no interest in your views on any game console.

    Lack of focus on online gaming (Apple TV has this problem in 2021!!), Small 3rd party library because of Nintendo’s arrogance (Apple TV has this issue also), crappy support for current standards(Nintendo sneakily removed a modern feature in later hardware). That last one is similar in how Apple refuses to allow developers to natively support high end hardware and slapped us in the face with an A12. Nintendo removed the “digital port” in later manufactured consoles which supported the then rising-in-popularity 480p.

    This is just a comparison to Apple TV being a gaming turd. GameCube will absolutely destroy Apple TV if it were released in 2021 gaming-wise so I’m not completely dissing it but the similarities are there. These were issues Nintendo could have tackled but ignored(like Apple is doing in 2021). It was hard to defend Nintendo’s Ethernet adapter when 1 or 2 obscure games supported it. Meanwhile Microsoft was going all-in on online gaming with Halo 2 and other hits.

    from Wikipedia:

    ”Nintendo remained pensive with its online strategy for the duration of the GameCube's lifespan, defiant of growing interest from players and the success of Microsoft's Xbox Live online service.”

    I was a HUGE HUGE HUGE GameCube fan back then like I am AppleTV now and the disappointments kept slapping me in the face and the hardware was hard to defend.
    elijahg
  • Reply 58 of 65
    charlesncharlesn Posts: 157member
    I'd call it a 2-star upgrade of a 4.5 star product. 
    muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 59 of 65
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,425member
    Everyone was hoping for a M1 but we got the three year old A12 instead. I guess Apple was afraid people would hack it to run MacOS.
    “Everyone” meaning you, apparently. Literally just you. Nobody thought that. You’ve slipped up here, gone a step too far—only an actual troll would say that.

    People were hoping for the A14, yes. The M1 in a $180 streaming box, no.
    Agree with you on this. No one was expecting M1, except the OP. I saw many people asking for A12Z, instead of A12. But I don't remember seeing anyone else asking for M1 in Apple TV refresh.


    Actually, I may have started the M1 Apple TV trend. Way before it was even called M1 I said Apple should use the Apple Silicon Mac chip. No one thought of it before and people were hopping on board. In that comment thread about 5 people agreed.

    And no, we don’t expect it to be $180, more like $299.
  • Reply 60 of 65
    BeatsBeats Posts: 2,425member
    AppleZulu said:
    iadlib said:
    In a completely baffling move, the new 2021 Apple TV 4K does not include support for spatial audio with the AirPods Max or AirPods Pro.

    It’s not a “completely baffling move” if you do a little research or someone takes the time to fact check an article... Apple’s implementation of spatial audio requires gyroscopes and accelerometers on both the headphone side and the device side in order to compare the difference and modify the audio coming from your AirPods Pro/Max. 

    Clearly the AppleTV doesn’t have or need such sensors.   Implementing spatial audio would require a modification of some kind in the methodology that Apple uses to achieve the effect, perhaps acoustic mapping from the HomePod lineup or some other method. It does support traditional (higher quality) surround sound on your headphones though. 
    It's not a good assumption that we don't know how Apple implements Spatial Audio. Apple's implementation in code and firmware requires gyros and accelerometers on ONE device mandatory, and two devices optionally. It is only required on two devices as the code stands if the host device is battery-powered and casually mobile, and the Apple TV is clearly not. Obviously, you have to have them on the listening device.

    However, knowing that one device is stationary -- the Apple TV, like you said -- requires a single variable change, and not even a change in how the devices communicate as the API stands today.

    Apple actively chose to not support it on the Apple TV.
    I think it's a conscious decision on Apple's part not to implement a thing that a large number of users will misconfigure and not understand why (and therefore complain about it).

    Spatial audio for movies and TV implemented on an iPad or iPhone coupled with AirPods Pro or Max orients the audio to the action on the screen. Turn your head, and the audio stays with the screen (most of the time). In this configuration, the screen and processing hardware are in one device, which is almost certainly centered in a single user's field of view, and the content oriented upright form the user's perspective. That limits a lot of variables that can't so easily be assumed for the AppleTV. 

    First, the ATV and television screen are separate devices. The ATV is probably somewhere near the TV, but it doesn't have to be. It's highly improbable that it will be centered above, behind or below the screen, and is more commonly off to one side or the other.  Second, there is often more than one viewer watching a television screen, and they can be directly in front of it, off to one side, and may or may not be viewing the screen from a vertical position. This creates a lot of variables to overcome if the intent is to have spatial audio orient to the action on the screen. That wouldn't be impossible to overcome, but it would require additional hardware connected to the screen and probably in the AirPods, or alternatively, it would require a clunky user interaction to initialize a calibration routine every time a viewer sits down to watch. (OK, look at the screen. Are you in front of it or to the left or the right? Are you lying down or sitting up? ...) What happens if you get up to get up to get a snack from the kitchen and then come back and sit down in a different place?

    Another option is for the spatial audio to simply remain oriented as though the viewer is always centered and upright, like stereo audio is now. That might be o.k., but the more accurate and elaborate positioning of sounds in an Atmos sound mix might be weirder to an out-of-position viewer than stereo. Plus, since it's a new feature, more people would complain if it sounds wrong even if they have never noticed that stereo in headphones is misaligned if they're lying sideways on a couch.

    So if I were Apple, I think I'd take a pass on bringing that feature out, too, until an automatic, reliably accurate solution is available to make it 'just work' no matter where a viewer is in relation to the screen.

    This is a simple fix. TrueDepth camera. This is something I’ve wanted since Apple bought PrimeSense but I’m probably asking for too much.

    This will also add a plethora of other features such as FaceID sign in, TrueTone, AR games, dance and motion games, AR apps like exercise, shopping and yoga, Animoji Karaoke and who knows what else.

    @applezulu ;
    edited May 30 elijahg
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