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Apple TV 4K brings home the magic of cinema with 4K and HDR (apple.com)
35 points by runesoerensen 13 days ago | hide | past | web | 69 comments | favorite

I'm generally not an Apple person, so take my opinion with a grain of salt, but I'm just that not that excited for anything they are doing. It feels way behind Google Home and Amazon.

> It feels way behind Google Home and Amazon.

Between Apple, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft - Apple is the only one I would invite into my home to listen to my activities. Perhaps it's just marketing, but the other three have not done anything to earn my trust. Apple at least appears to be concerned about my privacy.

I know Amazon's intentions and their profit motive: to get me to buy things. This makes me okay with an Alexa in my home. Google is murkier, but I feel assuaged a bit because they have -- hands down -- the best 'knowledge engine' for a speaker.

Microsoft will never, ever have a live mic in my home. I have done everything I can find to neuter any background listening my Win10 PC can do.

Apple wins on the privacy front, but they have neither the broad knowledge available that Google does nor the 2 years of experience that Amazon does.

I feel completely the same way. I have appreciated the control Google has given us now as well with being able to manage some of the data stored on us. I know they see everything I do, but between the well-working product and ~illusion of~ control, they have me. On the other hand, it will take a lot for me to trust Microsoft again.

I feel you about Apple a bit... but you lost me with those other two. They seem even more boring with their offerings.

Oh, plus free upgrade to 4K version of things I've bought? Awesome, that is the dream of buying online media... I once ripped my 300 movie DVD collection and couldn't be bothered to upgrade or redo anything in blu-ray. The free upgrade was truly a best case scenario for me, and I was excited to hear about that.

Free upgrade to 4K is pretty awesome. I'm still trying to accept that DRM-free isn't going to happen with video, and at least moves like this make me feel a _little_ better about it.

$179? Unlike the iPhone and Macbook, I think it's really hard to argue the Apple TV is better than its much lower cost competitors.

It doesn't have to be better, just on par. The reason to buy one is because you have a 4K TV and you are already buying TV/Movie content from Apple, use Airplay, Apple Music, etc. It's a really easy experience v.s. juggling multiple providers and TV sticks.

Likewise, if you're already deep into Google territory and are buying content from Google Play Music/Videos, YouTube RED, have an Android phone, etc - a Chromecast is the obvious choice since that all works seamlessly in that environment.

Who is still buying/renting movies from Apple iTunes anymore? Their share of the market has fallen in half in recent years. [0] The better experience, as demonstrated by market success, is provided by cross-platform networks like Amazon and Comcast.

[0] http://appleinsider.com/articles/17/07/09/apple-itunes-video...

The last generation should've had 4K. Way overdue.

What percentage of TVs in the wild, even among Apple buyers, were 4K at the time? What percentage of streamed content on 4K-supporting devices was 4K? Even a small price increase might have made it a bad idea for a product intended for the general (even the general potentially-Apple-buying) market.

"Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been."

At the time (released in sept 2015) 4K TVs were actually generally available: https://www.avforums.com/article/best-4k-ultra-hd-tvs-2014.1... and Netflix already supported 4K videos. Youtube had it years before that.

Apple has always been on the forefront of technology, with things like Retina displays, long before other vendors. I think they should've been there with 4K too.

> Apple has always been on the forefront of technology, with things like Retina displays, long before other vendors. I think they should've been there with 4K too.

They used to be. That is generally untrue for the last 5 or so years with only minor exceptions (mostly limited to the iPhone).

Way overdue. My Nvidia Shield set top box has 4K HDR and it's over 2 years old now and basically cost the same then as the Apple TV costs today.

Also has had Amazon for nearly a year now, can stream actual AAA PC games, has Chromecast built in.

How do you stream PC games?

I've been pretty happy with my current Apple TV, and am moderately tempted to upgrade to ATV 4K. My 4k TV has had no 4k devices connected to it since I got it last year.

The biggest drawback is that damn glass remote. I dropped it on my hardwood floor and now it has a rather large chip in it. Thankfully its not on the touch surface.

My biggest annoyance UX-wise is that the touchpad button takes input without capacitance on the touchpad. This means I'm inadvertently pausing videos all the time when the remote is between my couch cushions. This is completely baffling, since this should be a solved problem, my MBP's touchpad doesn't accept clicks without capacitance.

There are rows of 4K TVs at Costco and WalMart. Apple is late to the party.

How many people are actually watching 4K? I only have a 1TB data cap. I come dangerously close to it every month, and that's with all 1080P or less.

I wonder how many people hit their caps, switch down to 1080P, and realize they can't tell the difference from the couch anyway.

> I wonder how many people hit their caps, switch down to 1080P, and realize they can't tell the difference from the couch anyway.

I have to stand closer than ~6ft away from my now-considered-tiny 42" 1080p TV to tell the difference between 720p and 1080p. At my couch's distance of ~12ft I don't notice the difference between DVD quality and 1080p with most content. According to an online calculator that confirms those numbers so I think it's probably somewhat reliable, I'd need a 78" TV to get the benefit of 1080p at 12' away. I can't even imagine what kind of absurd seating/TV arrangement I'd have to have for 4K to matter. Couch 4ft from a 70" screen? Something like that?

In a monitor, yeah, bring on the extra pixels. In a TV though? Why?

Movie video in ultra-high resolution isn't that interesting because it's composed by humans. You're being told where to look. Watching 2160p video on a desktop of walking or driving through interesting places with a stabilized camera gives a real feeling of presence. You can look where you choose (especially with spherical video) and see the detail. [1] (Shenzhen) [2] (Harajuku)

[1] https://youtu.be/NTcx0OHehdE?t=57 [2] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiQ4YDH3g80

Is that the kind of thing one might watch on TV (so, not a monitor) enough to make it worth the 4K upgrade? Cables, receiver, TV, all of that. Seems like more of a VR thing to me (though I don't have a VR rig, so what do I know). On a TV it'd be more a novelty than an actual thing you'd sit down to watch for minutes to hours every single week, I'd think.

I think HDR is going to be to most people what 4K is, only because it won't be commonly available at lower resolutions.

Similar to the hi res audio formats don't sound better because of the hi res, but because the studios chose to release better masters with higher dynamic range for the format.

You recognize that Apple TV isn't an actual TV, don't you?

GP might have meant 4K has been around for a long time and that they're late to the delivering 4K content party.

The model launched two years ago (Apple TV 4) remains at $149. That hardware hasn't gotten cheaper at all in two years?

The spec-bumped 4k one is $179.

It should have been $99/$149.

I agree. Something changed with their pricing strategy in the last couple of years. They used to keep and shift previous generations down the price curve to eat more of the spectrum of demand, but now they seem to be shifting new offerings up the price curve instead.

They simultaneously reached a saturation point in most rich markets.. and stopped being able to innovate themselves into higher price points. Steve used to be around to to direct them into risky but likely profitable endeavours.. Like for example doing zero profit on the Apple TV to grow critical mass. Not so much any longer. This is so fcking sad. Instead of building computing jewels, the Apple of today is focusing on building actual... jewels.

Steve did a major fuckup to give control to Tim.

That may be one element. I think of what they do and how they talk about it as invoking the spirit of Steve, but not quite knowing what his spirit stood for. (I suppose when one approaches death knowing that cancer is eating you, one struggles with clarity of mind and purpose to fittingly identify and choose one's heir to keep the revolution going.)

Their cheapest iPod is now $199. Their cheapest iPhone is $349. Their cheapest TV-streamer is $149. They've steadily eliminated the lower-price options they had, by neglecting to offer older product generations, or by eliminating the simpler models. The iPod shuffle was $49, iPod nano $149, Apple TV was $99 (often just $49).

It's as if they no longer want to participate in the lower range of the supply-demand curves. Before the iPhone you could walk into an Apple store with any price in mind from $50 on up, and you would find some decent iPod that would fit your budget every $50-step up (once you had chosen the most expensive iPod, there were headphones available to absorb further spending interest). At some point they decided the spending floor should be $200 or more, instead of wanting everybody to buy Apple products and thus participate in the personal computing revolution. Even their HomePod is absurdly priced starting at $349...

4K benefits will be lost without Dolby Vision or DCI-P3 TVs.

People notice color more than resolution, and right now there aren't enough people that own high color-space TVs. They instead have crappy 4k TV and that's going to limit the market, with people thinking that's going to be good enough.

HDR10 is the dominant standard and it supports that. The KS8000, arguably the most standard/common 4K TV of the last year, doesn't even have DV support.

I'm not sure that will actually hurt them. Pretty much all TVs support HDR10.

The vast majority of consumer HDR displays aren't capable of displaying the full P3 Gamut - let alone making a proper dent on Rec. 2020.

And again, Apple not including a gamepad by default or offering an official one.

Playing with the included remote is super limited so games have to be designed with that in mind.

Game devs won't risk making a game that needs a third party accessory, so Apple again killed all gaming potential for the Apple TV.

The product page is up now: https://www.apple.com/apple-tv-4k/

Sadly, no mention of if the device supports 120Hz output (even if it's only at 1080p) to avoid 3:2 pulldowns.

Same terrible interface. Same terrible remote. But in 4K now.

I use my iPhone so I don't care about the remote that much. The 4K aspect is much more important to me because, honestly, the Android TV experience that is included with my TV is much, much worse. It was pretty reasonable at first, but I think an update has basically destroyed wifi stability and netflix constantly refuses to connect.

Finally, I can use my 4K TV reliably.

That's precisely why I hate the remote - because it's so much like the iPhone app, which I also hate using. The only improvement with the remote is that you don't have to wait eons for it to connect every time you want to pause.

I just want a clicky directional pad. Just put the Siri button on the old remote.

I just can't believe they are doubling down on their worst reviewed product. 1.5 stars on their own site.


100% because it depends on your TV not the device sending the signals, assuming the source device supports rec 2020 at all that is...

HDR is just another gimmick that will probably not scale into anything long-lasting, nor anything beneficial to the consumer.

It's being used to remove all that remains of the realism and life-like immersion of visual media in this insanely media-illiterate world. Right up Apple's alley, actually.

EDIT: People who are downvoting me are doing so because they don't know anything about video.

EDIT #2: I am very disappointed in the non-factual answers to my post, and that people would choose to downvote rather than jump in with anything even remotely accurate or helpful. These technologies are major components to the future of the web, and people on HN best become media literate if they want to keep their comfy jobs.

HDR imaging and HDR video are different techniques to produce more dynamic range. HDR imaging is compositing multiple images and using tone mapping to fit more dynamic range into regular image. If have a HDR display that can show the extra dynamic range, then don't need to do the tone mapping which tends to be the fake looking part.

HDR video is usually recorded with the higher range. Are there videos where high dynamic range is compressed into standard dynamic range? Or where HDR is synthesized from regular video?

Most of the TV and movies you've been watching since things went digital are cases where 'high dynamic range' has been jammed into a standard dynamic range container (most features and high-end drama would shoot either raw or record sensor data using some form of logarithmic transfer function to maximize the amount of information per bit or encoding). All information coming from the debayered raw or camera's widest 'record gamut' that's outside of the Rec.709 (or P3 for cinema) colourspace has simply been mapped down to an equivalent Rec. 709 / P3 value via a Look Up Table, graded down to fit within the output gamut, or simply clamped/thrown away.

HDR now gives a lot more to play with from a post production standpoint (when shot raw or using some logarithmic transfer function to encode the sensor data), as more of the picture information coming off the camera sensor can be utilised (where exposure, recording format and compression allow)

Isn't the whole point of HDR to make things even more lifelike and immersive?

From a technical standpoint 8-bits-per-color was never enough to display anywhere near the full spectrum. I've also personally been peeved with the flat, weak-ass dynamic range on most TVs and anything to add a few bits to the stream seems like a win in my book.

Unless, somehow, this ends up stuck in a rut in the uncanny valley (or someone wants to make the filesize argument), how is improved dynamic range a bad thing?

Not only that but it also allows to display colors outside of the sRGB (Rec. 709) gamut.

No, displays which can support colors outside of BT.709 allow this to happen. HDR processing is just a post-processing gimmick used by Hollywood to make things look even less realistic and more plastic.

Strictly speaking you are right, but in practice HDR term is used to describe both HDR and wide color gamut.

> HDR processing is just a post-processing gimmick

Can you explain how it's a gimmick?

If you are confusing HDR for the process of taking an existing Rec. 709 signal and gamut mapping into a subset of Rec. 2020, I agree that is a bit gimmicky.

This (ab)use of the technology has nothing to do with the HDR standards however, what true HDR video is, nor what material mastered for HDR is or is capable of, and shouldn't define how you see the technology (or present it to others).

You can't address the full color gamut without increased signaling bandwidth, which HDR provides. Or do you really want your 10bpp TV outputting 8bpp?

Of course not. If you want to increase the dynamic range of color, all you have to do is increase the sampling bit depth of the picture being captured.

HDR is a specific technique which involves cheaply processing pixels to fit a different color curve than it was captured in. It's not lifelike, it's candy-like.

I think you may have some technology terminology confusion. There are 4K panels that really can display colors that are physically impossible for other panels to display.

It is true that these systems ship with fake-o postprocessing to take conventional content and smear them into these new colors, but that's a stopgap, and you aren't actually obligated to use them, you know. Just like TVs tend to ship in what I call "claw your eyes out mode" for display, but it's the work of just a few seconds to turn them back to something sane for any decent quality panel. (There are certainly panels that have no decent quality setting, no matter how much you fiddle; if you care, do some research. I do and did.)

Per what I see of your other comment, whether you like it or not, there are standards being called "HDR" that includes true expanded gamut support: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_video#Stand...

No, the new standard is called "HDR10" [1] and it standardizes the use of BT.2020.

Can we not even trust people on HN to only speak to what they know about?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-dynamic-range_video#HDR10

HDR10 is an instance of an HDR standard. All of them include higher gamut color except SL-HDR1, which is not itself an HDR standard but an encoding mechanism for embedding HDR in SDR.

So it appears all the "HDR" standards include higher gamut settings, making the simplification true enough for me to call it correct.

> Can we not even trust people on HN to only speak to what they know about?

Not any more than we can trust the old curmudgeons to not beat their knowledge into others by force I guess.

I'm not an old curmudgeon - I am a young guy who knows a lot about digital media technologies and their underlying principles.

Don't trivialize my specialized knowledge by saying I'm old. The only reason you can watch anything on youtube today is because people like me cared about standards and best practices -- and most importantly, cared about being right about things.

Typical "break stuff, stop reading books" mentality of engineers my age. It's sad.

"Old curmudgeon" has nothing to do with age, but attitude. You might be young, but doesn't mean you don't have a "get off my lawn" attitude throughout this thread.

That matters why?

More often than not the old curmudgeons are right, young shits just don't want to accept it

I agree completely and am often called a curmudgeon myself. That doesn't mean the attitude isn't off putting to others, even when I myself am doing it.

What's wrong with being off-putting? Why do so many seem to want to embrace this disgusting care-bear idea of discourse? A discussion isn't lively without at least one provocateur.

There are three standards - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. Apple TV will support the first two, the last one wasn't mentioned.

They did the same thing for half a century with vinyl, calling it "equalization", because the response curve for vinyl records doesn't really line up with human perception. Ironically, there were so many competing equalization curves that the RIAA finally had to step in and impose their standard (the "RIAA equalization curve"), of which all phono preamps follow to this day.

I don't know the technical details of HDR but this sort of curve compressions is a common trick for matching a medium to our perception. Unless important info is lost, who cares?

Or, can anyone present a head-to-head comparison between 10bpp+ or "HDR"?

The RIAA curve was used to standardize the frequency response of vinyl records.

HDR post-processing is not being used to standardize the color subsampling accuracy of digital video files. It is being used to coerce pixels to following one particular subset of high-gamut color curvatures. It is NOT the same thing as 10bit color, nor as wide-gamut color spaces. It is a post-production trick used to make your eyes more enticed by the picture.

It is not about higher fidelity picture, it is about higher engagement viewers.

Fair enough, I stand corrected on my wide-gamut assertions. If HDR is only about hacking the luminance channel that is rather... disappointing. Here I was thinking wide-gamut was finally becoming fashionable...

Still, I don't think HDR is a net negative even if its just improvements in luminance -- LCD TVs are especially bad at representing shadows and I have grown tired of watching thousand-dollar TVs treat dark images like a cheap laptop. Was hoping HDR would do something about that :/

BT2020/2100 covers 'Wide Gamut' and 'Higher luminance' (PQ / SMPTE ST:2084) - both of these in tandem are at the core of all existing HDR standards (aside from HLG which I'll save for another discussion).

Bit depth will give you a value per color channel between zero (black) and the upper bound for that bit depth (2^n - white). How the image data is encoded in those values is very much standardized for all display colourspaces (though whether the hardware is capable of displaying the full range of those values correctly is a different story).

HDR is certainly not a fad - the current crop of displays are nowhere close to being able to display the full potential of the technology yet (100% of Rec.2020 gamut @ 10,000 nits)

AndrewUnmuted - are you perhaps confusing 'true' HDR with upscaled / gamut mapped rec. 709 material? e.g. taking an existing rec. 709 master and mapping the color to a larger colourspace?

Netflix, Amazon and several other OTT providers have their original content mastered in true HDR from the get go - no post processing 'tricks'. The main limiting factor is the acquisition source, which is why Netflix have gone down the route of specifying acceptable cameras for use on their original content productions.

Hi, as an owner of an OLED HDR tv, I heartily disagree. Have you seen Planet Earth 2? 3D was a gimmick. HDR is here to stay.

Planet Earth 2 was shot in UHD [1] - there was no LUT-based 8bpp->10bpp upsampling needed because it was already captured in BT.2020!!

What the hell is wrong with everybody here?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultra-high-definition_televisi...

I'm not sure what your point is. BT.2020 is 10- or 12- bit, so an tv that can take advantage of HDR (i.e. 10 bit) will most accurately match what was filmed.

e: I feel like you might be confusing 'HDR' with 'HDR upsampling'.

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