Apple TV 4K didn't "wow" me.

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by BoricuaHec01, Dec 26, 2017.

  1. BoricuaHec01, Dec 26, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017

    BoricuaHec01 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #1
    So I was excited to get an Apple TV 4K for Christmas in hopes to stream movie and show content in 4K HDR but it didn't impress me (Don't tell my fiancé that lol). I have the Samsung 4K HDR 8000 Series and thought I would be able to see content beautiful. The Apple TV automatically set my display to 4K HDR 60hz so figured I was set so I wanted to test it out. I downloaded apps and movies and shows through that looked terrible and close to standard definition. Then I purchased a couple of 4K movies through iTunes and still wasn't impressed. My 4K Blu Player looks so much better and also Netflix through my TV apps. Is there something I need to do to take full advantage or is this how it is? I was hoping the display would look like the awesome screensavers on the Apple TV. Advice and input? Thank you.
     
  2. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #2
    Damn! Hi Boricua Merry Christmas buddy!
    Firstly, I guess picture quality won't be as good as your 4K BluRay player and i'll be honest just like iTunes music, Apple's iTunes & ATV has NEVER HAD the WOW FACTOR (picture & sound) But it's still a decent quality picture wise. It still looks like a stream even to me as a casual viewer but firstly
    1. What size is your TV?
    2. Have you played around with your TV settings?

    Try setting the 'Match' settings on. Here you'll get the correct frame rate - 24p for a film and the correct HDR/SDR.
    But do try and play with your TV settings . ALSO VERY IMPORTANT set to 'Quick Start' Settings>Apps>iTunes Movies and TV Shows>Quick Start>On
    If it's off, it's possible that it's not playing in 4K.

    Lastly, films do differ in quality. I've never had a bad iTunes film for picture - BUT, are you used to watching 4K BluRay? I'm not, so I can't compare. Last nights film for Christmas day with my family was a good example. I rented Office Christmas Party from iTunes. The picture was very good BUT the sound was bl**dy awful - highly compressed, extremely flat, dull and lifeless. The whole time I kept thinking - damn that's what those cheeky AV guys on MacRumors talk about when mentioning Dolby HD etc. Apple seriously needed shaming on this one as it was not good!

    ATV is definitely a lovely streaming box and it should give you a decent image. on my 40" Panasonic it's great but on a 65" it may not be as nice - maybe screaming for 4K BD.

    Also is you WiFi reliable? Is it dropping?

    PS Respect to your fiance- what a lovely gift!
     
  3. z06gal macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    #3
    I find the 4k HDR playback to be stunning in my setup. I rarely use a bd player anymore and probably won't when Dolby Atmos playback is added
     
  4. vince22 macrumors member

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    Oct 12, 2013
    #4
  5. BoricuaHec01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #5
    Thank you for the kind words, she did hook it up this year for sure lol. Anyways, my tv size is 65" and did hear I'll lose display quality for being so big. I did play with the settings at first but kept in pretty much default, has way too many settings to mess with. Also, all my HDMI cables are 4K HDR compatible. I'll try that Quick Start option later on to confirm. You're right about certain films that vary quality. One of the movies had better quality then the other. I'm new to the 4K life but do notice the quality in the 4k blu ray versus regular television. My wifi is up to par, I'm at 75mbps so that shouldn't be an issue. Thanks for the advice.
     
  6. Citizen Cook macrumors member

    Citizen Cook

    Joined:
    May 29, 2017
    #6
    I don’t think a 65” TV is large enough to see the benefit of a 4K resolution.
    Ideally you need an 80+” diisplay and should be sitting aroun 4-6feet from it.
     
  7. Cordorb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 8, 2010
    #7
    David Charlap posted this over in Macintouch

    I keep at least ONE know good High Speed cable about for testing
    Always nice to know at least one item that is not the problem :)

    These days, there are four different kinds of HDMI cables:

    Standard - up to 74.5MHz / 3.96Gbps - HDMI 1.0-1.2 features, including 1080i and 720p
    High Speed - up to 340MHz / 8.16Gbps - HDMI 1.0-1.4 features, including 1080p, 4K at 30Hz, 3D and deep color
    Premium High Speed - up to 600MHz / 14.4Gbps - HDMI 1.0-2.0 features, including 4K at 60Hz and HDR
    Ultra High Speed - up to 1.2GHz / 42.6Gbps - all HDMI features (1.0-2.1), including 4K, 5K, 8K and 10K at 120Hz

    Standard, high speed and premium high speed are all available with or without Ethernet. Ultra high speed always includes Ethernet.
    There is also an automotive version of standard HDMI with special connectors designed to protect against weather and vibration.

    Any cable certified for a particular frequency will be able to support all of the HDMI features designed to work at or below that frequency.
    Trying to drive a signal that requires more bandwidth than a cable is certified for may not produce a stable image (or any image at all).

    For an Apple TV-4K, the maximum resolution (according to the spec sheet) is 2160p at 60Hz. That resolution uses 5.63 Gbps,
    which means a high speed cable is required. Fortunately, certified high speed cables are not very expensive
    (unless you need very long ones, then they can cost quite a lot).
     
  8. BoricuaHec01 thread starter macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #8
    I use the Rocketfish HDMI that's rated at 18Gbps, I think that's sufficient. Of course Apple recommends their Belkin that's rated at 48Gbps but think that one is a gimmick and will stay with my Rocketfish.
     
  9. oldhifi macrumors 65816

    oldhifi

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2013
    Location:
    USA
    #9
    I got to see a 4k TV this Christmas and was not impressed, I'll keep my plasma..
     
  10. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #10
    The Apple recommended cable is the first HDMI 2.1 cable. I bought it because as someone who loves design, the design is identical to the mains lead and since I have my ATV proudly on display, everything had to look symmetrical :) Us marketing guys have to survive on one thing - attention to detail :) :) :)

    We've just watched 'Hampstead' from iTunes and it looked great and sounded great and it was a 1080p film upscaled of course by the ATV to 4K.

    Got to say though, 2 days of watching movies with family and friends and my gosh, I seriously do not want to watch any TV for at least another week thanks :)

    Ha, I don't think you need a 80" TV to appreciate 4K. Seriously, 80" for a TV would be my absolute idea of HELL.
    The problem for me is that they look so absolutely disgusting when they are switched off - a huge black hole in a beautiful room for 23 hours a day!

    Boricua, I guess 65" TV of yours may be showing the limits of streaming - possibly compared to 4K disc.

    Also the Quick Start option is essential. I reckon that you may of been streaming in 1080p or even 720p!!! Could explain all possibly.

    Any other questions, please ask! And I won't bog you down with tech specs. I've run radio stations for the last 17 years and I got to say, reading some posts on here confuses the heck out of me :) And it's just TV!!! :) :) :) :) :)
     
  11. davidmartindale macrumors member

    davidmartindale

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2011
    Location:
    PNW, USA
    #11
    It's probably a network connection issue that is preventing the content from being streamed at that high of a bandwidth. What is your upload and download speed on the ATV? Download speediest by ookla in the app store to find out what the actual Apple TV is getting.
     
  12. Matthew Essex macrumors member

    Matthew Essex

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2014
    Location:
    Hertfordshire
    #12
    Resolution is now a small part of the picture, get on some av forums and tweak the HDR settings on your TV the. Watch a movie that has a good transfer.
    When set up right HDR makes movies look seriously good and although iTunes can not compete with the discs it can look stunning.
    Unfortunately this whole 4K HDR has not been plug and play look good.
     
  13. tonyhan macrumors newbie

    tonyhan

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2010
    #13
    I am new to 4K also, can you explain why the Quick Start option is essential? I have my Apple TV 4K connected to my 65" LG B7 OLED.

    Thanks!
     
  14. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #14
    For some reason it simply plays the movie immediately in 4K! Terribly confusing and maybe Apple should explain why they provide this function and why when switched to 'off' it causes problems for many!
     
  15. 400 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2015
    Location:
    Wales
    #15
    It will probably be subjective (eye brain combinations differ among people) but I can see the difference on a 55 at 7'. I have seen all the charts and other things that say you cannot and that you can, however get a well master 4k from source and it is sublime.

    Of course you need a good source mastered/original at 4k or higher.

    65 is now the price of what a 55 was a few years ago for some, I know where my money would be going today if I were looking.
    :)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 28, 2017 ---
    With regards cables, as mentioned above in a few posts (Cordob), I do not use expensive ones. I use this as a guide.
    https://www.hdmi.org/consumer/finding_right_cable.aspx
    At the moment I am running on a cable that came in at £3.50 or so (one each for Blu ray, BT TV for 4K, Apple TV). They are certified High Speed.

    I have one Premium High speed at £8 cost. Tried it to see what the apple cable test does and it is the same result for both.

    All onto a 2015 OLED and it is good.
     
  16. Michelasso macrumors regular

    Michelasso

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #16
    All I know is that I could see the pixels in my sister's 40" 1080p TV from a 2-3m. distance. And I sure don't have eagle eyes. I was quite surprised, actually. But I jumped from a 32" 720p TV to a 49" 4K TV (which I watch at 1.5-2m distance) so I thought the difference between 1080p and UHD wasn't much there.

    Indeed let's not forget that on 4K TVs it's harder to see the difference between 1080p and UHD content because of the TV upscaling. To see the real deal one must turn the upscaler off. I did it once with my PS4 base and the result was quite ugly.

    In any case I see no difference whatsoever in picture clearness between the 4K image in the Apple TV 4K and the native apps in my Android Bravia. Talking about Netflix, Amazon video, downloaded demo videos at 59fps. But I do believe the 1080p videos look better from the TV apps, with the Bravia upscaler. Then, if anything, my feeling is that the ATV 4K deals better with colours. But I can't swear on it.
     
  17. 400 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2015
    Location:
    Wales
    #17
    It really is all down to the user sat infront of a particular panel. The best judge is whoever owns the Mk1 eyeball looking at that set not a set of "rules" from the internet.

    I do not go looking for pixels, rather what the pixels do with the image. I am looking for definition, e.g. blades of grass on a pitch or the crowds, are there blobs or can I make out hair on a long shot into a crowd. I apply the same in the films and shows. It is all in the definition, sudden changes in content, fire or water, brick walls etc. Clues are there if you can see them.

    I am happy I can see the difference.

    The upscale on my set shows no advantage or disadvantage over the Apple TV, I expect there are differences on other sets.

    However, put a 4k show or film from blu ray on, one that has been mastered well from a 4k or higher source and a good set will show it and show it well. That saying I accept that a streaming service will have drawbacks to the blu ray. On balance I like the Apple TV, the keepers will be on Blu ray, the video replacement for the SD library that I my or may not watch will be Apple TV, 4K from Apple is quite good when all things are considered.
     
  18. Michelasso macrumors regular

    Michelasso

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    Feb 20, 2012
    Location:
    Treviso, Italy
    #18
    @400 Oh, don't misunderstand me. I do see improvements between UHD and 1080p streams (well... Not always if they are on Netflix, that's it), if that's what you're saying. As a proof of concept I had the feeling Netflix was streaming Unabomber (which looks great at 2160p, unlike some other shows) at 1080p, I enabled the "developer HUD" and it was streaming at 1080p indeed for quote some time. Then eventually it raised to 2160p (well, I know. This doesn't prove it was 1080p when I first noticed it).

    Then I mentioned the pixels because they are visible at a short distance. And so is the difference in resolution. Meaning that I saw the aliasing after turning off the TV upscaler using the PS4 (making de facto the image uglier). But this wouldn't be an option with the ATV 4K. Oh, but the YouTube 4K video on my TV look way better than the 1080p version in the ATV 4K.

    Still I don't understand why for the OP iTunes 4K content should look worse than.. Netflix! To me Netflix is often the worst.
     
  19. lsutigerfan1976 macrumors 68020

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    Sep 14, 2012
    #19
    Genius! We should all ditch our tvs and get an 80 inch instead. Thank god I came here and read this! lol
     
  20. 400 macrumors regular

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    Sep 12, 2015
    Location:
    Wales
    #20
    @Michelasso, hope the OP will get a good solution to this. All things considered.

    OP, apols for the derail.
     
  21. BoricuaHec01 thread starter macrumors 6502

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    Sep 17, 2012
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    #21
    Quick Start was On so I'm good there. Maybe I was just asking for too much with this device. Don't get me wrong, certain content looks stunning but I can see why it won't be up to par with discs. I've been enjoying my Ultra HD Blu Ray player instead, man now that looks amazing. I'll just use the ATV for iTunes rentals and certain movies that I can't find on disc.
     
  22. archer75 macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #22
    Something is definitely wrong. The ATV4k with 4k content should look amazing(pretty close to discs) and the upscaler is so good that my bluray rips look like 4k.
    Either you have a setting wrong or not enough bandwidth, either from your ISP or a wireless network issue. I don't know if you're running wireless or not.
     
  23. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #23
    Yar, I agree. One thing that i've noticed on this forum is that the people that have the most problems with ATV are using SAMSUNG TVs!!! Is there maybe hidden settings in the TV to tweak?
    Mind you my little (to some) 40" Panasonic TV EX700 seems to make everything look pretty polished. Right this minute, I'm watching 17 year old VHS video tapes of MTV The Real Hawaii and they still great from my sitting distance :) :) :) Real shame these series aren't on iTunes as I've got old VHS of them :)
     
  24. archer75 macrumors 65816

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    Jan 26, 2005
    Location:
    Oregon
    #24
    Yeah it could be the TV. I've always felt samsungs were overrated. I'm using an LG OLED so maybe that's why the difference is so much greater to me.
     
  25. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2009
    #25
    Today I bought 'Moonlight' a film that I loved and have been meaning to buy on iTunes for a while now.
    We've just watched it this evening and WOW, the quality of that film really did have the wow factor. Here in the UK, our Moonlight file is still 1080p HD SDR but my word did the picture and indeed sound truly shine on this one! Just incredible!!! Beautiful film but it has left me feeling kind of sad but in a nice way :)
    Well done to the independent film company for the sheer quality of this production. And really excellent to see that the quality has not been lost during its iTunes compression. I imagine the 4K (2K I believe) HDR iTunes file will shine even more. Plus the iTunes Extras is excellent - 102 Hi Res photos which really popped on the screen along with some really nice footage in LA etc.
    A quality production like this really shows how great the ATV can be!
     

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