Apple TV is embracing 4K as the way of the future with its fifth-generation release.
The big announcement was made during tonight's media launch (September 12) that the digital streaming service is finally embracing 4K Ultra HD resolution with the release of Apple TV4K later this year. Pre-orders from $179 begin on September 16 in the US, with a release date of September 22.
Apple's decision to go the 4K route puts the tech giant in the unenviable position of follower rather than innovator, since competitors Google Chromecast and Roku already offer the higher resolution.
However, Apple TV4K's use of high dynamic range (or HDR) means the coloured icing on those Bake Off cakes will look even more vivid if your Apple TV is connected to an HDR-compatible device. HDR10 and Dolby HDR will both be supported.
The upgrade will be powered by the A10X Fusion chip, making it twice as fast as the previous generation. Even better, any movies that you've previously bought on iTunes will be upgraded to 4K free of charge.
Live sports and news are also coming to the Apple TV app, with notifications coming directly to your devices. A dedicated sports tab in the app will show you a full listing of live games (complete with live scores), prioritising them based on your viewing habits. Plus, Apple Music will be integrated as well.
Of course, Apple TV4K will also be able to interact with your favourite apps and games from the App Store – including the exclusive new gaming title Sky from Flow and Journey developer thatgamecompany. Sky will also be playable on iPhone and iPad.
Apple TV has lagged in sales behind its competitors in recent years, so clearly this 4K upgrade is an attempt to turn the fortunes of the digital media player around.
Rumblings that Apple was working on a 4K upgrade first popped up around this time last year, but there was no definitive announcement made at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference back in June.
Apple recently did extend an olive branch to one of its tech rivals in striking a deal to bring Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV after years of snubbing the popular streaming service. Netflix will also be supported with Apple TV4K.
Apple's head honcho Tim Cook announced the upgrade to Apple TV along with the latest models of iPhone and Apple Watch at the brand new Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California.
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