What's New About Apple TV? The Upgrade Enables A Super High-Def Viewing Experience

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On Tuesday, Tim Cook and the Apple team announced a number of new products, including two new lines of iPhone, a wireless charging dock called Airpower, an upgraded Apple Watch, and an improved Apple TV device. But what's new about Apple TV? The company's latest generation of television-watching devices offers some cool new features, but most importantly the new Apple TV offers 4K and High Dynamic Range (HDR) viewing capabilities.

“Bring the magic of the cinema straight to your living room with the new Apple TV 4K,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Customers will love watching stunning 4K HDR movies from an impressive catalog on iTunes, while also getting automatic upgrades of 4K HDR movies already in their iTunes library and enjoying 4K content on services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, coming soon.”

HDR and 4K are two television technologies that have become popular in recent years. HDR improves upon predecessor TVs' contract and color markedly, meaning that an HDR TV displays brighter brights, darker darks, and a fuller spectrum of colors. 4K, on the other hand, refers to the quality of the picture a television displays. 4K is shorthand for the number of pixels the television can display across one horizontal line: 4,000. A 4K television can show as many as 8 million pixels at a time, which has led some to call these devise UHD, or ultrahigh definition. That the newest Apple TV is now 4K and HDR-ready means you can use Apple's television-watching device with your 4K and HDR television.

While this sort of technology may sound futuristic, Apple TV isn't the first to adopt such capabilities. According to Tech Crunch, Roku, Amazon, Google, and Nvidia have set-top boxes that support HDR and 4K, with some of these companies having offered such technology since 2015.

One cool added feature of Apple TV, which hits shelves on Sept. 22 for $179 (32GB) or $199 (64GB), is that the set-top box will allow viewers to watch live sports. Furthermore, Apple has teamed up with Thatgamecompany, a game-maker known for Journey and Flower, to develop a game just for Apple products, but particularly for Apple TV. "It’s hard to explain the game, but a good place would be to say that Sky is a game specially created to be played, and shared, among loved ones and family," Thatgamecompany said of its Apple game in a statement. "If you can imagine the delight of visiting a theme park where lasting memories are made, we envision Sky will sometimes feel like that." (If you are playing on Apple TV, you will of course need a Siri remote, which is sold separately.)

All in all, the Sky game may not seem like enough of an incentive to shell out $200 if you own a competitor device that's already equipped with 4K and HDR viewing capabilities. However, it's important to remember that Apple is investing up to $1 billion in the creation of original content. So there may come a day when you'll feel left out if you don't have an Apple TV and everyone else is discussing some hit new show created by Apple.