The initial reviews are in for Apple’s first upgrade in four years to its Apple TV 4K streaming device, and it's the pricey OTT player's rejiggered Siri voice-enabled remote control that seems to be stealing the show.
“The Siri Remote is the star here, and it’s the best remote we’ve ever tested,” wrote CNN. “It’s simple, minimalistic and, most importantly, intuitive to use. It’s a serious upgrade over the original …”
“The revamped Siri remote is a pleasure to use,” added Next TV sibling publication Tech Radar.
Priced at $179 for the 32GB base model and $199 for the premium 64GB version, the Apple TV 4K remains the priciest connected TV player on the market. It’s now equipped with the Apple’s own A12 Bionic semiconductor, making it faster than rival high end streaming devices, such as the Roku Ultra (MSRP $99).
At least until computer horsepower demands for streaming devices increase--and that could happen soon, if for example, Google's quest to get the AV1 codec widely adopted is successful--the new Apple TV 4K is faster, but it's just not a revolution, according to the folks who've test-driven it so far.
You can get support for core resolution standards like 4K and HDR with other popular OTT devices in the $40-$50 range, such as Chromecast with Google TV and the new Roku Express 4K+.
And as CNN also noted, the new A12-equipped Apple TV 4K is probably faster than any OTT device on the market, but it isn’t necessarily a vast computational improvement over Apple's 2017 just-as-pricey iteration.
“Those with the previous Apple TV 4K won’t see drastic performance improvements, even with gaming,” the pub wrote.
And while the remote definitely seems to be an upgrade over the last iteration, which drew plenty of criticism, it is also available as a $59.99 standalone accessory.
"If you’re currently happy with your previous-gen Apple TV 4K, we’d pay $59.99 and get the new remote,” CNN added.
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Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!