Apple TV 4K

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by jwolf6589, Aug 11, 2019.

  1. jwolf6589 macrumors 68000

    jwolf6589

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    Dec 15, 2010
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    Colorado
    #1
    Whats so big about the chip in the 4K apple TV if the Apple TV HD works just fine? Is it for those that play games? I do not play games nor do I have a 4K TV so I am happy with the A8 chip in my ATV. Yeah that chip was slow in my old iPad Mini 4 but for the ATV it works fine.
     
  2. JBGoode, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2019

    JBGoode macrumors 6502

    JBGoode

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    #2
    The A8 is pretty long in the tooth. I've never seen an Apple TV HD in action, but if you look at the performance in phones, the A10 is clearly a lot faster than the A8 and with the added graphic performance of the A10X, the difference is night and day. It would definitely be better for gaming and just an overall smoother experience, and if one must have an Apple TV, the 4K is a no brainer at this point.
     
  3. bodonnell202, Aug 11, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2019

    bodonnell202 macrumors 65816

    bodonnell202

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    #3
    I just got one when I upgraded to a 4K TV so I could watch 4K content. Before that the Apple TV 4 was fine for 1080p. I suppose it would be better for gaming too? Not sure, I’ve never really gamed on an Apple TV.
     
  4. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    #4
    I guess that the A10X with its power is required for the demands of 4K Dolby Vision film along with Atmos. It's future proof. AV1 compression for next year is demanding in use, so the A10X shouldn't have any problems coping. (This is where you will see the Fire boxes cough and splutter and freeze with their entry level phone/wearables components).

    The A8 was really not good - from the awful iPhone 6 days. The A9 was a different beast and showed Apple's direction.
    The Apple TV HD really should not be sold today and even Apple seem a bit embarrassed by it judging by the non existent one page given to it on the Apple site.

    Apple TV HD really needs to be dropped. It adds confusion to the range and doesn't deliver when compared to the exceptional Apple TV 4K.
     
  5. nburwell macrumors 601

    nburwell

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    May 6, 2008
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    DE
    #5
    I have not noticed a difference in performance between our ATV 4K and ATV HD (4th generation) models. Although our TV in the family room is 4K, hence why we have the ATV 4K hooked up there for 4K content. Otherwise, our 4th gen. ATV's would work perfectly fine for us (we only use our ATV's for streaming -- no gaming at all).
     
  6. jwolf6589 thread starter macrumors 68000

    jwolf6589

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    #6
    Thats my experience. The ATV HD works just fine.
     
  7. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #7
    AV1 is just the compression, outside of its container, contents, and players support for software and hardware decoding it doesn't mean much. AVC/h264 can be encoded at a level (profile) too complex for the AppleTV 4k to decode in real time. Conversely an AppleTV HD can play a HEVC that is simple enough for its CPU to decode.

    Regardless, where it matters when it comes to the AppleTV is what content providers like Netflix, Amazon, Youtube can stream to the AppleTV.

    The protocol used for streaming live or prerecorded video with Apple devices is call HLS (HTTP Live Streaming). The protocol is limited to AVC (h264) and HEVC (h265) codec. The stream used is based of the device and while there are level enhancements available for enhancements the codec doesn't change.

    So like the AppleTV not supporting VP9 4K YouTube it won't support AV1 4K YouTube.

    Apples protocol is designed specifically for hardware support for good reason though, namely software decoding support or its lack thereof. Software decoding requires constant upkeep and always has room for improvement. An OS update can break the core functions or access to the core functions of a software decoder and if the content provider drags their feet or just decides to never update the app again well...it will never work again. Plus, software decoding is 'per device' and its unrealistic to think devs outside of the software decoding players (VLC for example) would be able to keep up.

    TL;DR : Next AppleTV will have AV1 hardware support if it being a standard Apple decides to or is forced to adopt.
     
  8. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    Feb 9, 2009
    #8
    Since Apple is part of the AV1 group now, I'm sure that Apple products will in time support this through a OS update.
    Very very exciting times ahead for the work of streaming. It excites me :)
    Every year, the ATV just gets better and better. Outside of Apple, i've never come across anything that has this level of constant improvement :)
     
  9. cynics macrumors G4

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    Jan 8, 2012
    #9
    MacOS will likely see native software support much like it did with HEVC. And as a side note I feel they did an excellent job. My 2013 iMac would struggle with HEVC in some of the best HEVC players while now those same files play smooth as silk. There are limitations but when being realistic the results are very good.

    I apologize that I should have been more clear in regards to the AppleTV.

    Hardware acceleration is done by a dedicated chip or core on the package. Its a physical object that is specific to a codec or set of codec. In most circumstances including this one, adding AV1 requires a SoC that is not the A10X for native hardware support.

    This is a physical limitation of the SoC just like Intel CPU's. Broadwell had no HEVC support. Skylake has support for HEVC 8 bit. Kaby Lake has support for HEVC 10 bit. Ice Lake has HEVC 10 bit 422/444. Its possible to make a video that plays nice and smooth on an Ice Lake laptop but will stutter and become pixilated on a Skylake desktop.

    Software decoding (CPU decoding) can still be done by 3rd party apps or even implemented into the OS by Apple.

    The important part is knowing that even if Apple allows AV1 with their HLS protocol VOD content providers will only seed a specific codec to a specific devices based on their video support at a hardware level. Software decoding doesn't follow the same standards hardware does so encoding a stream isn't possible and if a profile is determined its unreasonable to think VOD content providers would cater to everyones different and constantly changing needs.

    A video encoded using HEVC (Main profile too) can be made to playback smoothly on the AppleTV HD. I just grabbed a video from get together off my iPhone and ran it through HandBrake using x265. This is a HEVC 1080p60 played in VLC on the AppleTV HD. To that point my 2013 iMac encoded that 3 minute video in 5 minutes with the CPU.

    IMG_6646.jpg

    Regardless of its ability to play Netflix or other services don't seed HEVC 1080p content due to the AppleTV HD. This is the way h264 was, h265 is on the AppleTV HD, VP9 is on the AppleTV 4k and AV1 will be on the ATV 4k.


    Edit: the quality of the above can be improved upon and still play but I didn't want to wait an hour.
     
  10. TrenttonY macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 14, 2012
    #10
    I never owned the 4th gen Apple TV but I have the 5th gen (4K Apple TV) and it still lags, even on my 1080p tv. So if your expecting a lag-less experience, I guess wait until next generation.
     
  11. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    #11
    What is it lagging on? Lagging is something that i've never experienced on the ATV 4K even though it's our main box which is always used.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 16, 2019 ---
    Thank you for the explanation buddy. Much appreciated - very cool :)
     
  12. TrenttonY macrumors 6502a

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    Nov 14, 2012
    #12
    Some of the UI throughout the system. Most of the time it happens in Multitasking.
     
  13. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #13
    I have used every ATV model since the original, and purchased the ATV4 (ATV HD) at its launch. In my home, the ATV3, ATV4, and ATV4K are still in daily use.

    I have said many times on this forum that I think that ATV4 with the A8 was under-powered at its launch.

    I purchased an ATV4K last summer, and it is very noticeably smoother and quicker when launching apps, switching apps, and very little lag. The A10X is a beast in the ATV4K, and the ATV4 should have had an A8X or A9X at its launch.

    It is sad that Apple is still selling the ATV4, especially at the prices they are selling it for.
     
  14. jwolf6589 thread starter macrumors 68000

    jwolf6589

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    Colorado
    #14
    I must have a good model then because I don't notice any lag.
     
  15. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    #15
    It probably has more to due with type of usage.

    I noticed the lag got worse with the more apps I installed.
     
  16. Michelasso macrumors 6502

    Michelasso

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    #16
    Well, let me put it in this way: you may have some 4K videos, in HEVC or less, and the Apple TV 4K will play them just fine on a Full HD (1080p) TV with apps like Infuse. Not sure about "Computer" because I never use it for videos. An Apple TV 4th generation connected to the same 1080p TV may (most likely will, if they'll play at all when in HEVC format), just struggle.

    For 1080p content sure it has no issues. The Apple TV 4th generation still has more CPU power than many Android (including FireOS) boxes and TVs out there. Although the 4K versions of those boxes/TVs have HEVC (and Google/YouTube's) VP9/VP9.2 HW decoders. So they play 4K content fluidly, even YouTube in 4K HDR unlike the ATV 4k, but lagging as crazy on the UI.

    Then sure. The A8 is a quite inferior CPU than the A10. Anyone wanting to play games is better be with the second.

    As usual for Apple, the problem with the Apple TV 4th generation isn't its HW, which is good for 1080p content, it's its ridiculous price. I preferred to buy a Fire Stick TV for the small TV in the kitchen. 5 times the price (take or leave) wasn't worth the lag free experience.
     
  17. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

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    #17
    I agree - the A9 chip should have been given to the ATV 4 HD. I bought my fiancé the iPhone SE nearly three years ago and four yearly OS upgrades on, it's still as fast as day one - pretty incredible!
     
  18. jwolf6589 thread starter macrumors 68000

    jwolf6589

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    Dec 15, 2010
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    Colorado
    #18
    Yeah I play HD videos and lower. I don't play games neither so the 4th Gen works just fine for me. When I say lower than HD quality I am talking about TV shows from the 1960's that I watch.
    --- Post Merged, Aug 17, 2019 at 6:10 AM ---
    I have 11GB free.
     
  19. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #19
    Is this out of 32GB or 64GB? How did you measure it?

    This is most likely an estimate that includes cached data.

    AFAIK, there is still no way to determine the actual used or free space on tvOS, not even with Xcode tools.

    For example, you may have only a few GB of apps install on your ATV, but as you use them, especially apps that play video, the OS keeps temporary data from that apps stored on the internal storage. This is good for multi-tasking, as you can come back to an app after a while and pick up right were you left off.

    If more space is needed for permanent storage items such as apps, or temporary data from a newly opened app(s), the OS frees up some of the existing cached data.

    In testing, I was able to see the internal storage of my 64GB ATV4 fill up to less than 1GB of data before the OS decided to free up some space, and it instantly went to 15GBs free.

    Basically, tvOS can cache a lot of data.

    The downside being that it is really hard to determine how much permanent data is actually used.
     
  20. upandown macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 10, 2017
    #20
    Thank you for this. I’ve been curious about the UI performance comparison as I just bought a 4K tv and will be upgrading the Apple TV. Logic would indicate the A10x should be smoother overall, I’m surprised to hear people don’t see a difference but like you said could depend on free space.

    Now the question is when will next Apple TV come out lol
     
  21. Michelasso macrumors 6502

    Michelasso

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    #21
    You can see the free space with Xcode. Just go to the menu Devices/Simulator and choose the ATV. There is also a (partially free) app, called "Disc Space", that shows the disk space used. The value reported matches with the one from Xcode. I can't find it in Google, because I don't know if there is a web version of tvOS App Store.

    My understanding is that what isn't free is used by the OS, apps, data anche caches. The latter get auto purged once the free space is too low. Like the Aerial screen savers, which are the ones taking GB of data.
     
  22. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

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    Sep 23, 2014
    #22
    I looked up the app in the tvOS App Store, and it is the same one I use. It costs $0.99 now, but I got it a few years ago when it was free, and was the only storage app available for the tvOS at the time.

    The problem with this app, and Xcode, is that the information that is given includes cached data from apps that the OS will dump as soon as the space is needed.

    This isn't a good method for determining free space, as the amount dumped by the OS at any given moment could be as much as 15GBs in my testing.

    For example, my 64GB ATV4K has the Disc Space app, and currently shows 1.97GB free space. If I start messing around with an app, especially one that caches a lot of data, the free space will continue to go down a little until the OS dumps part of the cache.

    This can free up a few GBs to well over 10GBs of space per dump in my testing.

    Well, yeah, this is basically what I stated in this post:

     
  23. Michelasso macrumors 6502

    Michelasso

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    #23
    Oh, I see now what you meant. One problem is that it's ambiguous what's cached and what is actual data. For example, with Infuse 5, the videos metadata (the actual Infuse 5 data) was used as cache. As the Aerial screensavers. So it happened to me few times that once my free space reached the low threshold (due to the screensavers), all my Infuse 5 data was wiped as well by the auto-purge. Only the App's settings were saved (mounted resources and so on). It should be fixed now in Infuse 6, which uses iCloud.

    But yeah. There is no way to count how much is actually cached. iOS gives a full spectrum of what is using the mass storage. Not sure why Apple doesn't add a simple diagram like that in the tvOS settings.
     

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