If you cast your minds back to 2019, you may recall a pretty major controversy surrounding the Game of Thrones series. No, it wasn’t that they messed up the ending.
The outrage I’m referring to is the issue of episode three from season eight being too dark for audiences to enjoy at home. I remember this clearly. My friends and I thought there was something wrong with the episode because we couldn’t see a thing.
Another element you may recall from the situation is that after the show received a wave of backlash, cinematographer Fabian Wagner blamed the subpar viewing experience on audiences and their tellies.
In an interview with Wired, he said:
“A lot of the problem is that a lot of people don’t know how to tune their TVs properly. A lot of people also, unfortunately, watch it on small iPads, which in no way can do justice to a show like that, anyway.”
Well, in news that would have served us all pretty well back when we were watching GoT season eight, episode three, Apple has released its next generation of Apple TV 4K and it has some pretty neat features that will help audiences view film and television as creators intended. (I.e. not dark beyond all reason).
I was lucky enough to try the newest release from Apple and here are the features I think are worth paying attention to.
Colour Balance with your iPhone
As I touched on (read: ranted on about) above, the new Apple TV 4K has the ability to automatically colour balance your TV’s picture settings so you can experience the film or series more accurately.
Apple’s update explains that the Apple TV “uses the light sensor in your iPhone to compare your TV’s colour balance to the industry-standard specifications used by cinematographers worldwide”.
How to set it up:
- Head to Settings on your Apple TV device > Video and Audio > Colour Balance.
- A series of onscreen instructions will pop up directing you to bring your iPhone closer to your television.
- From here, you’ll get a notification on your phone. Tap Continue to begin the colour balance process
- An iPhone outline will appear on your television screen and you’ll be asked to line your phone up with the outline. Turn your iPhone around so the front-facing camera is pointing at your television.
- You can then compare the colour balanced version of the image to the original and select your preferred option.
The new Siri Remote has a new design, featuring 100 per cent recycled aluminium – nice. It’s also a little larger and more weighted than the previous generation.
If you’ve ever struggled with the fast-forward or rewind function on an Apple TV remote, there’s a new click pad that helps with that. Use a circular gesture on the outer ring of the click pad to travel between time stamps during your screen time. It’s much smoother, in my opinion.
There’s also a new power button, a dedicated Siri button and a mute button.
Other nifty features
As Apple’s updates state, the new Apple TV 4K also features:
- A12 Bionic — brings a new level of performance that will be a massive upgrade to your TV
- High frame rate HDR — plays video more smoothly and more lifelike than ever before (specifically, this has been linked to a better viewer experience for sports)
- HDMI 2.1 — supports higher video bandwidth and frame rates
- Wi-Fi 6 — improves the streaming experience with higher connection speed and more paths to communicate with your router
- Thread — simplifies and extends smart home device connectivity with a low-power mesh network
- HomeKit – Apple TV 4K can be used as a home hub to control HomeKit accessories, and allows customers to view HomeKit video cameras and doorbell notifications on the television screen.
If you’d like to get the most out of the new Apple TV 4K, it’s recommended you pair that baby with a TV with Dolby Vision HDR and AirPlay 2 support.
A reminder of some of the fun things Siri can do on Apple TV
Did you know that if you ask Siri “Hey Siri, what did they say?” she’ll automatically set the film or episode back 15 seconds and will add in captions for that clip? It’s a pretty useful trick, if you ask me.
Other things you can ask Siri include:
- What should I watch?
- Find Greyhound
- Play the latest episode of Ted Lasso
- Show me popular comedies
- Find Amy Adams movies
- Watch great dramas
- Search YouTube for Mars Rover
- What cricket matches are on today
- What’s the NBA schedule?
- When is the next F1 race?
- Who’s on the top of the Premier League table?
- Fast forward 5 minutes
- Turn on Closed Captioning
- Show songs by Prince
- Play some reggae
- Play hits from the 90s
- Play Bruno Mars
- Play more like this
- Find weather apps
- What are some new sports apps?
- Launch What the Golf
- Open Disney+
- Go to Photos
- What’s the weather in Queenstown?
- What’s the temperature outside?
- When’s sunset in Melbourne?
- How’s the NZX performing?
- Open Settings
- Play a sound on my iPhone
- Where’s my Apple Watch?
- Turn off the living room lights (if you have smart lightbulbs, of course).
The new Apple TV 4K is available now, with prices starting at A$249.00. Read the complete list of updates and features available here.