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Next-gen Apple TV may finally support 4K streaming

Apple TV Fifth Gen

Recently unearthed data strings from Apple’s HomePod firmware have provided us with some insight into what changes might be coming to an updated version of the venerable Apple TV. Originally spotted by developer Guilherme Rambo, the next iteration of the Apple TV will seemingly include support for streaming 4K content along with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision.

The pertinent tweets from Rambo can be seen below.

All told, the fifth-gen Apple TV will finally enable users to enjoy 4K content with incredibly vivid colors and much improved contrast and color accuracy. Notably, this isn’t the first indication pointing to Apple finally hopping aboard the 4K bandwagon. Just a few weeks back, some iTunes users observed that references to 4K and HDR content curiously began showing up in their purchase history. What’s more, a Bloomberg report from earlier in the year claimed that Apple was already busy testing a 4K Apple TV in order to better compete with set-top boxes from the likes of Amazon and Roku.

Indeed, it’s hard to deny that the current fourth-gen version of the Apple TV is somewhat over priced when stacked up against competing devices. Specifically, the entry-level Apple TV will cost you about $149. In contrast, Amazon’s Fire TV costs $89.99 while the Roku Premiere can be had for as little as $69.99.

Apple’s TV efforts in recent years have been lackluster at best, and embarrassing at worst. While there have been some improvements in recent years, it seems that the Apple TV is always trailing behind the competition, both in terms of affordability and features. The Siri remote that shipped with the 4th gen Apple TV, for example, was lambasted by many users for being incredibly difficult to use.

To this point, Ken Segall noted a few months back:

The Siri Remote is a gorgeously designed object — it’s just a terribly designed remote.

It’s a thin slab that feels like, well, a thin slab. Its shape doesn’t contribute one iota to ease of use. There are a number of remotes out there that fit the human hand nicely, and put the most-used buttons at one’s fingertips.

Lapses of this type make it difficult to defend Apple when it is accused of favoring design over function. It’s hard to think of the Siri Remote as anything but design run amok. It’s beautifully annoying.

With word that the next-gen Apple TV will finally offer some long overdue improvements when it comes to picture quality, we can only hope that some Siri remote and UI improvements will be introduced as well. One thing’s for sure, though, the Apple TV at this point has nowhere to go but up.

A life long Mac user and Apple enthusiast, Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 6 years. His writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and most recently, TUAW. When not writing about and analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions, the most recent examples being The Walking Dead and Broad City.