Whenever Apple announces something new, there’s always that buzz of excitement, especially when it comes to flagship products like the iPhone and iMac. But somehow, the Apple TV doesn’t quite enjoy that same embrace from consumers, and seems to be the “last item” on an Apple fan’s list to complete their Apple “eco-system”. I had one years ago but rarely used it; it sat in my TV console out of sight and out of mind. But Apple announced a new 4K version this year, and the features and accompanying shows are a lot more interesting.
Above: The APPLE TV 4K in box
The new 2021 Apple TV 4K looks similar to its predecessor; it’s a small, square black box that’s sleek and compact. It takes up much less space than I imagined and powering it up and connecting the device to the TV is a breeze — there’s a power cable included in the box, and you’ll need to get your own HDMI cable to connect the device to the TV. Check out Belkin’s UltraHD High Speed cable ($44, available at apple.com/sg).
Above: The remote control for the APPLE TV 4K
The controller is a gorgeous one-piece aluminium design and feels really good in the hand. Apple calls it the Siri Remote, and the clickpad is touch-enabled so you can swipe in all directions quickly.
Above: Setting up the APPLE TV 4K through the iPhone.
Once the cables are connected, setting up the device is as easy as syncing Apple AirPods; just bring an iPhone close to the box and the prompts will pop up on the phone.
So what’s new and innovative with this version of the Apple TV is the colour balance technology and high frame rate. Content is supposed to look stunning, but of course only if your TV screen has HD capability. I hooked mine up to a Mi TV P1 and ran a couple of free episodes of “See”, and got sucked into the visuals and screenplay. As expected, the streaming is smooth, and the new Dolby Atmos function delivers clear and dimensional sound.
So apart from watching Apple shows (see below for my recommendations on what to watch), the Apple TV 4K also includes Apple Music, Apple Arcade, and functionality for sharing and coordinating playback of movies with friends on FaceTime. It’s a great idea and I can imagine super fun to do if you have like-minded friends; but the highlight of this little black box for me is really the original shows from Apple that I can watch and screen on the big TV. And for this, an Apple TV+ subscription is needed. Good to note that you get three months of Apple TV+ free when you buy an Apple device, which is a decent amount of time to decide if these shows are for you. And that brings me to my recommendations on what to watch.
WHAT TO WATCH ON APPLE TV+
See is about a future where humans are blind (the humans caused this, of course), and it’s interesting to watch how people get on with not just their daily tasks without eyesight, but how they engage in actual war using all other senses (other than sight). Season one has a good storyline with unexpected twists and revelations, with lead actor Jason Momoa offering a convincing portrayal of a village leader, father and warrior — while blind. Start with this series — it’s intense and you’ll binge the entire first season over a few days. Also, you’ll be just in time for season 2 which starts this week.
THE MORNING SHOW
This drama features Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon as co-anchors on a television news channel called “The Morning Show”. Throughout the season, we get an in-depth look into the unethical and cutthroat workings behind a broadcasting corporation, and an underlying reference to the #MeToo movement and cancel culture. You’ll find everything relevant to society today, which makes this a truly engrossing show. Look out for season two starting September 17.
Mythic Quest is an original comedy that follows a team of video game developers in their office life. The individuals feel like exaggerated stereotypes of characters we can all find in any office environment, and that is what makes this series entertaining. It’s light-hearted and easy to watch. There are currently two seasons up on Apple TV+.
APPLE TV 4K is priced at $269 for 32GB and $299 for 64GB. Check out apple TV+ Subscriptions HERE.