If there is one market that has not suffered from the health crisis, it is the TV market. While the containment measures followed one another, consumers enjoyed themselves in ways other than sipping hoppy drinks on the terrace.

In the developed countries, it was the television set that won the day. According to Omdia, a record 16.8 million TVs were sold in the US between July and September 2020.

At the same time, the closure of movie theaters pushed studios to release their blockbusters on streaming platforms. As a result, the number of subscribers soared. Since 2020, movies are also made at home.

All the planets were therefore aligned for Apple to renew its Apple TV. And it did. During its last keynote, the Apple unveiled the Apple TV 4K (2021), a smooth evolution of its famous TV box sold at 199€ with 32 GB of storage (219€ for 64 GB). And yet, it still makes us fall in love with it.

What is Apple TV?

First unveiled in January 2007 at the Macworld Conference, the Apple TV is probably the most famous TV box today. Originally, it allowed access to series and movies purchased or rented on iTunes directly on the TV. A revolution at the time.

Today, the Apple TV allows access to all streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, MyCanal, Apple TV+, Prime Video, Molotov etc.) in an optimized interface that Apple has the secret.

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In France, the purchase of a TV box is sometimes questioned, as most operators deliver boxes capable of launching the most popular streaming services.

However, the Apple TV still has a strong following. And each new iteration allows Apple to invite itself into new living rooms, despite increasingly fierce competition. While some Android boxes are coming to tickle Apple, none of them is really able to keep up with the Apple box.

Why is the Apple TV so popular? What’s that little extra that makes the difference? We explain it all in this test of the Apple TV 4K (2021).

Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) 32GB at the best price Base price: €199

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Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) 64GB at the best price

price Base price: €219

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What’s new in the Apple TV 4K (2021)

This year, Apple isn’t revolutionising the genre and is offering an Apple TV 4K that’s pretty close to its older sibling launched in 2017. Nevertheless, there are a few new features to further enhance an already compelling experience.

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Before we get back to the new Siri Remote, let’s tackle the technical side. The new Apple TV 4K (2021) is now decked out with all the latest premium standards: 4K, HDR at 60fps, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos audio.

If you don’t have a TV that supports all of these standards, the new Apple box won’t be of much interest to you. The Apple TV HD, on the other hand, is a good alternative, while waiting for better.

For those who have a TV that is compatible with all these technologies, the experience will be even better. iPhone owners will even be able to optimize the colorimetry according to the room in which the Apple TV is positioned.

By pointing the iPhone at the screen, the sensors in the Face ID module analyze the colors of the screen and calibrate the whole thing for optimal image quality. Ingenious.

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Among the other new features, we’ll mention Thread, a new protocol that allows you to connect your home devices to the same network. Will this make the Apple TV the central element of a home automation system? Not yet, but the next version could well be.

Add to that the integration of the A12 Bionic chip promising better performance. In concrete terms, navigation in the interface is even smoother, faster and remains the benchmark in terms of ergonomics. By the way, this new chip ensures excellent performance with the games offered in Apple Arcade.

However, we would have liked to see a more recent component to maintain this level of performance for as long as possible. A question of cost perhaps, of margin no doubt.

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Finally, we should mention the integration of all the latest standards in terms of connectivity: yes, the Apple TV 4K (2021) has an HDMI 2.1 port and is WiFi 6 compatible.

tvOS, still the benchmark

If the Apple TV is so popular, it’s also and above all thanks to its integrated software tvOS. Apple has managed over the years to refine an already extremely intuitive interface.

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In 2021, tvOS is more ergonomic than ever and allows you to do much more than watch movies/series. In the control center (accessible via a long press on the TV button), you can access all the profiles of the house. Of course, each profile is fully customizable.

It is also in this menu that we find all the connected devices of the house. The Apple TV then becomes a new home automation control interface.

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Above all, tvOS puts content at the heart of its use. Symbol of this philosophy, the addition of a section of movies and series available in 4K HDR, so you can fully enjoy the new features of the Apple TV.

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We also welcome the symbiosis between Apple devices. The iPhone can be used as a remote control, text input can be done through the phone (a detail for some but so much easier in everyday life), the HomePod mini can be used as a wireless audio output

, just like the AirPods.

In short, whether you like Apple or not, you have to admit that tvOS is a few years ahead of the competition.

Zoom in on the Siri Remote on the Apple TV 4K

This is THE big news with the new Apple TV. Apple has added a new remote control to its TV set, called the Siri Remote. It’s all aluminum (100% recycled), and it’s in keeping with the design of the first remotes.

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For added convenience, the Siri Remote becomes the central remote in your living room. No more juggling between your TV and Apple TV remote. A simple press of the Siri Remote’s Power button turns on the TV on the Apple TV’s Home.

It’s not a question of completely denying the choices made with the previous generation (and completely giving in to critics). The central button is still touch-sensitive and allows you to navigate through menus, move forward or backward in the content or display contextual menus.

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For those who are allergic to touch, the Siri Remote has physical buttons that allow you to perform the same actions. So it’s up to each person’s taste.

For a more intuitive navigation, Apple adds a Play/Pause button, a Mute button and volume keys. A specific button allows you to return to the TV/Control Center menu.

But the main attraction of this Siri Remote is its dedicated button for the voice assistant. With a simple press (to be held while you say your words) you can take control of the content you’re watching by voice. Above all, the Apple TV can scan all your services: it is therefore fully capable of identifying the content you want to watch according to the services you use.

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For example say “Watch La Casa de Papel” and the Apple TV will automatically launch the program on Netflix without asking for additional information

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The only limitation in France: access to live programs. To the request “Watch Roland Garros on MyCanal” the Apple TV answers

nd that it does not support this function in our geographical area. On the other hand, no problem for replay programs, which is not so bad.

Finally, the Siri Remote can be charged via a lightning cable. In the absence of an autonomy indicator, we opted for a weekly recharge.

The Apple TV 4K is also a game console

Don’t get me wrong, the Apple TV doesn’t pretend to replace a next-gen console. However, it does offer a very enjoyable gaming experience for two reasons.

First, it’s compatible with most Bluetooth controllers on the market. And if you already own a Playstation or Xbox, you can use those controllers to play. Good news: next-gen consoles are also supported.

Second, the entire Apple Arcade catalog is available on the Apple TV. And while some fanboys may feel that Apple’s service has nothing to do with a console, we’d argue that it’s all about the fun of the game. In that sense, Apple Arcade is becoming more and more interesting.

The Pommé game service has more and more attractive licenses, some of which have nothing to envy to some console games. Examples include Ocean Horn 2, NBA 2K21, South of the Circle and the nugget The Pathless.

Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) 32GB at the best price Base price: €199

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Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) 64GB at the best price Base price: $219

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What we think of the Apple TV 4K (2021): a cinema in your home

The title of our review left no room for doubt: the Apple TV 4K (2021) is the best TV box available today. It’s more powerful, but still has a sleek, intuitive and well thought-out interface.

The new Siri Remote makes the experience even more enjoyable and the technical improvements will delight movie fans. Finally, one-time gamers can enjoy a few hours of fun on some of the licenses available on Apple Arcade.

If you don’t have a TV box yet (or one that’s a little dated) and you want the best TV experience possible, this Apple TV 4K (2021) is for you. If you already have the first Apple TV 4K, it may not be worth it.

Apple TV 4K (2021)

£199

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Design and finish

9.5/10

Interface and ergonomics

9.5/10

Techno price ratio

9.0/10