Apple TV 4K


Got my 4K today. Channels works splendidly.



Does your TV support HDR? Thew new Apple TV 4K keeps HDR on at all times. How’s the color look with HDR always on? I’m still waiting to for mine to be delivered. I’m dying!!


I can’t speak to the 4K-ness, but I can agree that so far Channels works great, in fact the stutter that tvOS 11 seemingly introduced on my 4th gen is gone on the 4K!


I haven’t noticed anything out of the ordinary. They did a good job with color mapping from everything I’ve looked at so far.


I’m seeing a weird thing where video is dim on Channels when playing. If you show the timeline, it gets bright. If you dismiss the timeline, it gets dim again.

The whole Apple TV UI looks dim too. If I switch the mode to 4K SDR, it’s bright again.

This is on the Sony 43XBR800e in my office. I’ll check it out on my 2016 LG B6 in my family room this evening.

Anyone else, feel free to report your findings. I’m struggling with the idea that this thing is designed to always have HDR on, lol.



Interested in your take on the Verge review

We also have a 2016 LG Oled and I’m really struggling with a buy of ATV 4K…Don’t have Atmos, but only being to view a few itunes 4K titles is disappointing. May have to skip this one :disappointed_relieved:

Thanks for any insight…


You can find my ranting and raving on twitter. Lol.


I am out for the evening right now. So I haven’t actuallyyyyyy gotten to play with it yet.


Not a twitterer, but I guess you are also disappointed. Link? As I’d like to read your thoughts!


Yes the colour is an issue - washed out for SDR sources (including the UI) in HDR mode and bright again in SDR mode. I too thought why keep HDR on all the time? Then I thought - why not? I never minded that the aTV stayed in 1080p colour mode when I was watching a SD black & white movie!! As long as the resolution is higher than the source and the upscaling is good and the colour mapping doesn’t distort the image then there is no downside. The Netflix app on the XBOS does the same thing; it stays in HDR mode even in the UI. IIRC the Amazon app just asks for HDR mode when it plays an HDR source.

At first sight it would appear that there is an issue with SDR colour mapping in HDR mode on the new aTV. Then I thought perhaps its just cos I fine tuned my TV for SDR in the first place. I’ve recalibrated my TVs “expert settings” (Samsung) using some settings found on the web and it looks a lot more acceptable.

The picture then passed the wife and kids test while we watched the new Pirates of the Caribbean film which is in SDR.

I have a suspicion that SDR really is very dull and all we’ve been doing over years is increasing the colour and saturation on our TVs to get more pop. Most normal users however will feel their picture is just worse. I’m very tempted to keep the new aTV in 4K SDR mode and change only when I know I am playing an HDR video.

I think Apple will get a lot of stick for this. I just read the Verge review and they are spot on. I think Apple have to give some ground on this one - they need to accept mode switching. The argument that mode switching is inelligant has validity if their solution is better but it is not. My old TV used to crackle and click and pop and switch over relays whenever it changed modes but my 4K TV does not. The screen doesn’t even blank. Yes there is a little popup that says “An HDR video is playing” for a couple of seconds but that’s it. There is absolutely nothing when switching to 24Hz or from 1080P to 4K.

They also need to accept bit streaming of audio. Until they do they cannot support audio with metadata such as Atmos or DTS:X. The argument for decoding audio internally and then sending it out as PCM is so that system sounds or other audio streams can be layered in and heard at the same time. Microsoft had this approach for the XBO for a long time but eventually had to support bitstreaming to allow Atmos etc for their UHD disk player.


The new aTV doesn’t support Atmos anyway (hopefully will if Apple ever climb down over supporting bitstreaming audio). I believe the colour issues will get ironed out. A temporary solution is to keep it in SDR 4k mode and switch to HDR mode when you actually watch an HDR source.
What I have found is the A10 processor is a big step forward for games. For example F1-2016 would really struggle with frame rates to the point where the game was difficult to play. With the new aTV it is buttery smooth.


Any benefit in upgrading to the 4K version? I use Channels for TV and Plex for movies(1080). I do have one 4K TV and the rest are 1080. I have 4 Apple TVs.


I ran some tests with an Apple TV 4 and an Apple TV 4K. All of this was done going to my LG OLED65C6.

4K SDR vs 1080p SDR (Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales)

  • Can’t tell much of a difference
  • Based on the picture of the Disney logo in Pirates of the Caribbean Dean Men Tell No Tales the 4K SDR picture appears very slightly better
  • Basically a test between my TV upscaling or the Apple TV 4K upscaling
  • I’d give the nod to the Apple TV 4K upscaling slightly better but they were both extremely close

4K HDR vs 1080p SDR (Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales)

  • 4K HDR has a much darker picture
  • 4K HDR conversion seems to leave some artifacts highlighted by looking at the Disney logo at the beginning
  • 1080p SDR wins

4K Dolby Vision vs 1080p SDR (Pirates of the Caribbean Dead Men Tell No Tales)

  • 4K DV has a little darker picture (not as bad as HDR)
  • 4K DV conversion seems to leave some artifcacts highlighted by looking at the Disney logo at the beginning
  • 1080p SDR wins

4K Dolby Vision vs 1080p SDR (Deadpool)

  • The color of his suit is different in each, so colors are definitely different
  • The color of his suit in DV better matches the color on the 4K UHD case
  • 4K DV has much better cloud details
  • 4K DV has much better image quality (especially notable in background)
  • 4K DV definitely wins

4K HDR vs 1080p SDR (Deadpool)

  • The color of his suit is different in each, so colors are definitely different
  • The color of his suit in HDR better matches the color of the 4K UHD case
  • 4K HDR has much better cloud details
  • 4K HDR has much better image quality (especially notable in background)
  • 4K HDR definitely wins

4K DV vs 1080p SDR (Pacific Rim)

  • No contest, 4K DV blows it out of the water

Summary: Leave Apple TV in 4K SDR until playing something with HDR/DV and then switch to that (at 24Hz) and switch back to 4K SDR when it’s done. Apple really needs to implement automatic switching from SDR to HDR/DV at 24Hz then back to 4K SDR at 60Hz when the content is done playing.


With regards to Channels. It is very weird but Maddox is right. The colours are very muted until an interface overlay in introduced - the quick bar or the scrubber. Once they are on screen the underneath picture regains it’s vibrancy which disappears again when the UI elements go away.


Fantastic work @timstephens24!!

Yeah, seeing that I’m always going to want to be in 24hz for movies and my 2016 OLED won’t do DV in 60hz anyways, it guarantees switching. So there’s real no sense in keeping it in HDR mode.

Add in the fact that it actively makes things worse, it’s a no brainer. It’s just such a shame it’s defaulted to such bad settings :confused:


Yeah I confirmed it on my LG B6 last. So it wasn’t just my tv.

Keeping your Apple TV 4K in SDR mode of course fixes this. But we’ll be investigating why it does it at all.


Yeah I was surprised it was that bad, and add the Channels issue with it dimming is just boggling. I really hope Apple fixes this stuff, but they probably won’t unless they’re really pressured by media outlets.


Thanks for summary …was going to post as a question but saw you had already tested and confirmed.:grinning:

What a pita…here’s hoping Apple will get this straight with an update.:wink:


I will say iTunes 4K HDR/DV movies are FABULOUS. I’m done with UHD discs.


One caveat to leaving it in SDR. No HDR versions of those incredible screen savers, lol.