Although manufacturers regularly refine products, the tweaks don’t always justify upgrading. Three new Apple TV 4K innovations, however, warrant replacing older versions in office conference rooms.
As part of its April 2021 Spring Loaded virtual event Apple announced a new generation of Apple TV 4K devices. Featuring the A12 Bionic processor and multiple improvements, three innovations justify replacing aging conference room Apple TVs with the new model.
1. A truly user-friendly remote control
While Apple TVs are among the easiest-to-use audio/video accessories, and the flexibility and content options the devices add within office environments are impressive—you can use an Apple TV to extend Mac desktops, display presentations, access subscription channels, view photos and videos and more. Let’s be frank: The remote control was an exercise in frustration. Just picking up the old remote often resulted in unintended functions being executed due to the top quarter of the remote serving as a touchpad. The new remote eliminates such trouble.
In place of the touch pad, Apple’s designers have integrated intuitive navigational controls with the clickpad. The new design, which uses raised buttons for common functions and the new clickpad control, decreases the likelihood of inadvertently entering a variety of commands when simply picking up the remote and attempting to orient the control within one’s grip.
Content navigation is improved, too. The new clickpad control leverages a raised outer ring that enables “jog” controls, or the ability to rotate the ring to advance through or rewind video.
With a separate mute button, the new remote adds other helpful capabilities you may find useful every time a meeting occurs. The Siri button’s been moved to the side of the remote, while a power button’s been added to the more traditional top-right location, thereby enabling powering down a conference room TV display using a single remote.
Officially labeled a Siri Remote due to the remote’s increased adoption of Siri command support—Austria, Ireland and New Zealand join 13 regions supporting the functionality—the remote’s one-piece aluminum design make it easier to use and more comfortable. Seeing as wrestling with controls, volume and content selections should be the least of concerns when returning to conference room meetings following the pandemic, the new Apple TV 4K remote eliminates those lesser worries.
2. Color balance technology
Having worked in and supported multiple industries the past three decades, I understand that for some organizations, not all conference room presentations are the same. For example, the needs for a plumbing firm that uses its conference room to coordinate projects solely among its own internal staff will have drastically different requirements than a marketing firm pitching a multimillion-dollar broadcast media ad campaign to a prospective new client.
Regardless, the new color-balancing technology baked into the Apple TV 4K helps everyone. Even small firms with equally small budgets will appreciate color-accurate representation when performing such common tasks as reviewing proposed letterhead and business cards, approving advertising slicks or simply completing regularly required video training.
Assuming there’s an iPhone with Face ID handy using iOS 14.5 or later, the new Apple TV 4K’s color balancing process uses the iPhone’s light sensors to compare color representation within the room and adjust playback to match commonly accepted industry standards. By receiving the iPhone’s sensor data, the Apple TV 4K can automatically adjust color output and contrast to provide more accurate, higher-quality playback, which is just one more way Apple devices commonly work together to make life a little easier. Those small wins add up, of course.
3. Studio-quality playback
I understand audio and video presentations serve different purposes, as just mentioned, for different firms. For those working in industries where just a large display and basic audio capabilities are nowhere near sufficient—we’re talking about advertising, marketing, audio and film production, graphic design and similar functions in which surround-sound, subwoofers and high-end displays are the norm—high-quality playback is more than a luxury, it’s a requirement, one that transcends simple color balancing.
Thanks to the new Apple TV 4K’s A12 Bionic processor, graphics performance, video playback and audio processing all benefit. The new-generation set-top box supports 4K HDR video playback up to 60 frames per second. High frame-rate support for AirPlay, too, means firms can also stream video content at the same quality from Apple iPhone 12s to the Apple TV 4K, thereby extending the box’s functionality within conference rooms.
Add in the fact the new Apple TV 4Ks also now support Dolby Vision video playback, as well as Dolby Atmos audio performance, and the upgrade costs become easier to justify. The 32GB models cost $179. The 64GB version is $199.