Apple TV 4K & HomePod

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by enc0re, Jul 19, 2017.

  1. enc0re, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    enc0re macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    #1
    At WWDC it was mentioned during the keynote that there would be an Apple TV announcement (or something in that space) later this year. I think we're all expecting an Apple TV 4K at some point.

    Personally, it's high time for me to upgrade my AV receiver. It doesn't have 4K so I have to use ARC and all the compromises associated with that at this point.

    But here's what's holding me back. It seems that Apple would be wise to follow in Sonos' footsteps and use HomePod (or related AirPlay 2 products) as a sound system that integrates with Apple TV 4K. Maybe the Apple TV 4K could even come as an integrated center channel option. Think Sonos Playbase but with an ATV in there.

    I've been looking high and low for rumors on when the Apple TV 4K announcement may come so that I'll know if something like that is happening this year. I'd feel pretty silly buying a fancy new Heos receiver and maybe some new Atmos floorstanding speakers only to have Apple release a solution I'd rather have.

    Has anybody seen or heard anything about when the new Apple TV may drop?
     
  2. HobeSoundDarryl, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #2
    Nobody except Apple can answer that last question.

    We don't even know with confidence that a 4K version is coming- just an implication that there would be some :apple:TV news later this year. All we really know is that Amazon Prime is coming.

    As to Homepod being used as a surround sound system, we don't know that it has the capabilities to be placed like that, or even if individual HomePods can be configured as left & right channels for just Stereo playback. Conceptually, they could function mostly as mono speakers aiming more for "whole house" sound than as some challenger to the traditional surround sound speaker market. We saw nothing that implied they could be assigned as FL-C-FR-SL-CR-SR.

    Second, do you want Apple deciding the quality of your main speakers? The competitors to Homepod can sound quite good in how they are used. But if they were able to be used in a surround sound setup, I suspect I'd definitely view (er HEAR) them as notches below better speakers made especially for that purpose.

    Third, considering what each HomePod will cost, you could buy some great dedicated speakers for the same money. Then, conceptually, Apple will develop an Amazon Echo Dot challenger that you could plug into your next receiver and let it emulate HomePod functionality with much better speakers and audio processing.

    None of that is meant to put down Apple or Homepod- just pointing out that it's unusual for any speaker to be a "one size fits all" solution for home theater. And at $349 each, 5 of them is going to be $1,745 which can buy an awful lot of great speakers without an Apple logo. In fact, you can probably buy yourself a nice 4K-capable receiver AND better surround speakers for that same budget.

    Relative to quality, all we've heard so far is that they seem to sound better than existing speakers + Apple saying they are a superior speaker. What we haven't heard yet is objective opinions by people possessing Homepod outside of Apple HQ... and testing them head-to-head with speakers from other companies. We also can anticipate end-of-year updates to competitor products which are likely to step up the speaker quality if they believe that Apple is using a better speaker.

    So, by the time you could actually buy Homepod, there will likely be new versions of competitor speakers that sound better than current incarnations. You can also get some objective reviews and learn if they can even function as you are hoping they can function (I'm doubting they can be used as you want to use them). In the meantime, I'd think about my $1,745 in terms of what it could buy in non-Apple speakers... and probably a new 4K receiver too.
     
  3. enc0re thread starter macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2010
    #3
    I agree that nobody but Apple knows what will happen. But perhaps we have some credible rumors out there I hadn't hear about yet.

    And yeah, I know my way around DIY home theater sound reasonably well. For example, I'm currently running Klipsch Reference speakers in a 5.1 setup through a Denon receiver. It sounds real nice.

    At the same time, I'm at the point in my life where I'm happy to sacrifice some money and sound quality for a nicer out of the box integrated experience. So if with this upgrade I have native integration with Apple Music (Heos doesn't have that), with Siri around the house with other HomePods and what not, and if the whole thing ties into my HomeKit enabled lightswitches and stuff: that would be nice.

    I almost went the Sonos route for that reason. But they just don't sound good enough (for me) after trying them out. I'm hoping Apple HomePod will have a higher sound quality level even if it doesn't reach all the way to receiver plus passive speaker level.
     
  4. HobeSoundDarryl, Jul 19, 2017
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604

    HobeSoundDarryl

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2004
    Location:
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    #4
    In spite of some (likely very biased) reviews by people invited to the Apple event and listening in an environment chosen by Apple with music selected by Apple, etc, I'm personally doubting that these will sound better- especially significantly better- than Sonos. Yes, people were saying they thought it sounded better at the event, but that's Apple people in a very biased environment. Apple people will claim anything in support of Apple, so I'd take all such comments as those kinds of comments. Once they are actually available to the public, there will be some real reviews in real settings with users choosing their own music for head-to-head comparisons. Speaker sound quality pretty much begs for objective ears.

    Since you have such great speakers now, I doubt that relatively cheap HomePods are going to sound better. So- if it was me- I'd take up to that $1745 and find myself a newer receiver that delivers on up to all of your wants. If HomePod is reasonably successful, I suspect Apple will roll out their cut of an Echo Dot. That will give you Siri and the brains of HomePod while pumping the music through the new receiver and your existing speakers.

    I'm fully hearing you on desires for Apple integration, etc. I'm just doubting that you'll be happy with the probable tradeoffs from Klipsch Reference to HomePod if Sonos was judged too inferior. And since Apple didn't even offer a hint of it, I really doubt that HomePods can be used as 5.1 surround speakers. If they could, that seems like something Apple would have at least referenced (lining up interest to buy 5 HomePods at a time). I suspect HomePods are trying to be Alexa Echo with (maybe) a better quality speaker but probably a lessor quality virtual assistant, not anything to compete with Klipsch Reference speakers (though, if you wait a while, some Apple fan(s) will show up gushing that the sound quality is superior to every speaker in the world, regardless of price).
     
  5. JeffPerrin macrumors regular

    JeffPerrin

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2014
    #5
    I seriously doubt you'll find the HomePod an improvement over your current home theater set up. ;) (And besides, Apple made no implications whatsoever that home theater is their target application for this product.)

    //
     
  6. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2011
    Location:
    Peoria, IL
    #6
    I personally think you would be better off waiting to see if there is a new Apple TV5 that supports Airplay2, or if the Apple TV4 gets updated to support it?

    I also have to believe we will start seeing AV receivers updated to support Airplay2, or at least new models that are compatible with it just like they have ones now that support Airplay.

    I'm not sold on the HomePod being used for surround sound. I believe it is specifically designed for "room filling" sound where the music is coming from all around you at the same time. That is not what you want with a home theater system. You want discreet channels that create sounds from specific locations so you can tell where the sound is emanating. Especially now with object based surround sound like Dolby Atmos.
     

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