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Apple TV 4K (2022) Review

Verdict

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With fantastic performance, all the big apps and a slick UI mostly free of pesky adverts, the Apple TV 4K (2022) is an easy-to-recommend streaming box – even if you don’t use an iPhone.

Pros

  • Superb performance that should keep it fast for years
  • All the biggest streaming apps are supported
  • Fantastic UI
  • HDR10+ support will please Samsung TV owners
  • Optional super-fast Ethernet port

Cons

  • Still pricier than many of its rivals
  • No HDR for BBC iPlayer

Availability

  • UKRRP: £149
  • USARRP: $129
  • AustraliaRRP: AU$219

Key Features

  • Wide HDR supportHDR10+ joins Dolby Vision, HLG and HDR10
  • Very fastA15 Bionic chipset makes for exceptional performance
  • TvOS softwareLoads of apps, games and services

Introduction

The Apple TV 4K (2022) is the latest feature-rich streaming offering from the makers of the iPhone 14 and AirPods Pro 2.

As has been the objective of the previous Apple TV boxes, this new model aims to offer a high-end experience that pulls no punches and leaves no streaming stone unturned.

Upgrades over the previous model include a smaller body, wider HDR support and a chipset that’d give the best phones around a run for their money.

Design

  • Slightly smaller and lighter
  • A subtle design that blends in well
  • Remote now uses USB-C

The Apple TV 4K (2022) is a well-designed streaming box that should fit snuggly into most people’s setups. The black colour and lack of overt branding – aside from a small Apple logo on the top – give it a subtle, stealthy look I appreciate. There’s a small LED on the front to show when the box is turned on, but that’s it.

It’s a much smaller, lighter device than the previous Apple TV, which likely won’t make much difference to many as this is very much a device you’ll plug in and leave. But if you were to travel with the Apple TV (maybe to plug in at a hotel) then the smaller dimensions are welcome.

old and new Apple TV 4K
Old (L) vs New (R) Apple TV

The Apple TV 4K (2022) is squatter than the Fire TV Cube (2022) yet being a streaming box, rather than a stick that plugs directly into an HDMI port, it’s still larger than something like the Chromecast with Google TV.

There are actually two models of this Apple TV available and the big differences between the two are found around the back. While the basic version (£149/$129) has HDMI and power ports on the back, the pricier £169/$149 model adds in a Gigabit ethernet port that’s capable of faster speeds than the ethernet port on the Fire TV Cube (2022). 

Plugging the Apple TV into wired internet, rather than relying on Wi-Fi, gives a more stable, faster connection that’s preferable if you’re streaming 4K video.

The higher-end model also has 128GB storage, as opposed to 64GB, and support for the Thread networking tech that powers the new Matter smart home standard. Considering the price difference is minimal, I think the top-end model is the better pick.

You won’t find an HDMI cable bundled with either Apple TV, but you will find the Siri remote. This is a basic remote, with a responsive capacitive pad, a number of clicky buttons and speedy voice control. The Siri remote is simple, yet it works well and can control certain TVs volume and power.

The back of the Apple TV 4K 2022
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It’s nice to see Apple’s switch to USB-C continue on, with the Lightning port found on the previous Siri remote ditched for the far more modern alternative.

Having used this Siri remote for over a year now, there are a few extras I would have liked to see added. The clean design leaves no room for shortcut buttons, and the lack of a backlight makes it fiddly to use in the dark. Having spent lots of time with Sky Stream and its backlit remote, I wish Apple had added it here.

It also feels like Apple should have carried across some of the changes it made for the AirPods Pro 2 to the Siri Remote. Being able to find the remote in the Find My app would alleviate those situations where it gets lost down the back of the sofa.

Apple TV 4K 2022 Siri remote
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Interface and Apps

  • Clean UI mostly free of adverts
  • All the big streaming apps supported
  • Some benefits for iOS users

In terms of app support, the Apple TV 4K (2022) is right up there with the best streamers on the market. All the big services are here in both the UK (iPlayer, ITVX, Now TV etc) and the USA (Showtime, HBO Max, Peacock etc) along with the usual suspects like Netflix, Prime Video, Plex, YouTube and Disney Plus.

Video aside, there are big music apps (Spotify, Tidal) plus plenty of games including FM 2023 Touch that’s available through Apple Arcade. You can easily connect up a controller, a PS5 pad for example, or play basic games with the remote or a connected iPhone. 

Many of Apple’s services have stellar apps here too. Apple Music can output lossless audio and display lyrics on screen for a pseudo-karaoke system, while Fitness Plus has plenty of workout routines and combines well with an Apple Watch.

All your apps, games and services are visible on a very simple homescreen. Icons are big and easy to spot and the UI gets a lot of them into view at once. If you want a more content-focused homescreen then the Apple TV app integrates suggestions and recently watched films and shows from a number of big services – but not Netflix.

The Apple TV app is great and I have found the content it suggests very smart and in line with what I would usually watch. This app also includes original content from Apple TV+, plus anything you’ve previously purchased from iTunes.

Apple TV 4K 2022 curation
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

It helps that the interface is so fluid and smooth, and it is mostly free of the pesky advertisements that litter Roku and Amazon’s software. Aside from pushing TV Plus content ahead of others, there are no third-party adverts anywhere and this adds to the overall premium feel of the product. There is, of course, no guarantee Apple won’t add ads in the UI at some point as it has recently done with the App Store.

Searching for content is best done via Siri. You can press the microphone button on the side of the remote to bring up the voice assistant, and then simply speak the name of a film, show, actor or service into it. Siri on the Apple TV 4K is very quick and accurate, and I find myself using it a lot. Some apps even have extra Siri functionality, like being able to display actor info on screen or skip backwards and forwards.

There are, of course, lots of benefits here for those who use an iPhone or are knee-deep in the Apple ecosystem. AirPlay lets you send video and audio from a phone or iPad, while a keyboard will automatically pop up on a connected iPhone when you open up a password or search box. Connected AirPods pop up when in range and can connect in an instant – ideal for private listening.

Apple TV 4K 2022 app interface
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

Unlike a product such as the AirPods though, I really don’t think anyone should be put off buying this because they don’t have any other Apple gear. This is an excellent device, even for those rocking Android phones and Windows laptops.

Performance

  • Unmatched performance
  • Both HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision supported
  • Excellent picture

I tested the Apple TV 4K (2022) with three different televisions. A very basic Hisense 4K set, a Dolby Vision-toting Sony A80J OLED and an HDR10+ capable Samsung Q85A. This is the first Apple TV to support HDR10+, an HDR format much like Dolby Vision that’s supported TVs from Panasonic, Samsung and Philips. 

Adding HDR10+ completes the support this machine has for big HDR formats, and loading up The Rings of Power (an HDR10+ compatible title) on the Samsung TV saw an image produced that was noticeably better than the regular HDR10 output of the previous gen Apple TV.

Across all three televisions, the Apple TV 4K (2022) produced a stunning image. There’s a colour calibration tool available that gets a little bit more oomph out of lower-end sets, and it added some extra colour to the Hisense set.

The vast majority of apps available push out content in the best available quality – well, aside from two notable omissions.

While the Apple TV 4K (2022) supports the HLG HDR standard, the BBC iPlayer app doesn’t make use of it. This means the growing list of live and on-demand 4K HDR content available on the app won’t be viewable in the highest quality. The Fire TV Cube, on the other hand, supports this fine.

Apple TV 4K resolution
Image Credit (Trusted Reviews)

There’s also a lack of support for 4K HDR streams in the BT Sport app, with HDR missing completely unless you’re AirPlaying from an iPhone.

Powering the Apple TV 4K (2022) is an A15 Bionic chipset, an SoC (System on Chip) that offers far more power than anything ever seen inside a streaming stick or box before. This is the same chip that powers the iPhone 14 – one of the fastest phones you can buy.

The snappy silicon leads to exceptionally fast performance across the board. Apps open here are far quicker than a Chromecast with Google TV I used to compare – opening Netflix was twice as fast on the Apple TV – and zipping around the UI offered absolutely no lag.

Having such a capable set of internal components will allow this box to receive updates for years to come, and continue to play top games if they were to become available.

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Should you buy it?

You want the best streaming box: Great app selection, top format support and a sleek UI that’s a pleasure to use – the Apple TV 4K (2022) is fantastic.

You’re on a tight budget: While it’s cheaper than the previous model, this is still one of the most expensive streaming boxes around and there are cheaper options available if you don’t need all the features.

Final Thoughts

The Apple TV 4K (2022) is one of the few Apple products this year to come in at a lower price than its predecessor, and it’s also lighter and smaller. 

Add to that the benefits of HDR10+ streaming, a faster chipset, optional ethernet and Thread smartphone support and you’ve got a fantastic streaming device whether you’re an iPhone user or not.

There are of course cheaper options available, notably Chromecast with Google TV, various Fire Sticks and options from Roku, however if you want the very best streaming experience then the Apple TV 4K (2022) is the way to go.

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Tested for three weeks

Tested on three different TVs

FAQs

What do you get in the box?

Included with the Apple TV 4K (2022) is a power plug and Siri remote. You’ll need to provide your own HDMI cable and your own USB-C cable to charge the remote.

Full specs

UK RRP
USA RRP
AUD RRP
Manufacturer
Storage Capacity
Size (Dimensions)
Weight
Operating System
Release Date
HDR
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Smart assistants

Jargon buster

HDR10+

HDR10+ is a HDR format supported by Panasonic and Samsung as a free to use, open platform alternative to Dolby Vision. It adds dynamic metadata on top of the core HDR10 signal that tells a TV how it should adjust the brightness, colours and contrast of content for the most optimal picture quality.

HDR

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and refers to contrast (or difference) between the brightest and darkest parts of an image. HDR content preserves details in the darkest and brightest areas of a picture, details that are often lost in old imaging standards. HDR10 is mandated to be included on all HDR TVs. It’s also supported by 4K projectors.

Ethernet

The standard for wired networking. Ethernet can run at different speeds with Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps) and 10/100Mbps the most popular.

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