Apple finally offered a look at its long-awaited update to the Apple TV, which now features support for 4K and HDR (high-dynamic range) quality streaming video.
The tech giant introduced the new Apple TV 4K on Tuesday as part of the company's much-hyped product launch event at the new Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif. The company's newest version of its set-top streaming device will let Apple TV users watch streaming video in a higher resolution than was available with previous iterations of the product, assuming they are using the Apple TV 4K in conjunction with a 4K television.
" This will bring cinematic quality to virtually everything you watch," Apple CEO Tim Cook said at the event before introducing the new Apple TV 4K. Cook had previously called the higher-resolution video "the next major inflection point" in streaming media.
The new Apple TV 4K will be available for customers, starting Sept. 22, at prices ranging from $179 for 32GB of storage to $199 for 64GB. The device should help Apple better compete with streaming device rivals such as Roku, Amazon's Fire TV, and Google's Chromecast—all of which already offer 4K video streaming.
The new product represents the first updated version of the Apple TV since the company introduced the fourth-generation version of the device in 2015. Apple senior vice president Eddy Cue said during the event on Tuesday that the new Apple TV 4K's CPU is twice as fast as the previous version, while the 4K resolution offers four-times as many pixels as HD video.
Cue added that Apple is working with all major Hollywood studios, along with Netflix, to bring all of their movie and TV titles in 4K to the iTunes Store. (Apple, which previously announced this year that Amazon Prime would finally be coming to Apple TV, also reiterated on Tuesday that Prime will be available, in 4K, on the streaming device "later this year.")
Cue said that 4K movies will cost the same as HD movies on the new Apple TV, and customers who previously purchased HD movies on the iTunes Store will be able to automatically upgrade those titles to 4K. Apple also announced that it will bring live sports to Apple TV 4K, including streaming live games with ESPN. (Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, who recently announced an upcoming standalone streaming service for ESPN that will launch next year, was reportedly in attendance at Tuesday's Apple event.)
For Apple, the switch to higher-resolution 4K and HDR also comes as the company is gearing up to produce its own original movie and TV programming. Apple has so far only dipped its toes in TV entertainment market, with shows like Planet of the Apps and Carpool Karaoke, but the company is reportedly looking to invest up to $1 billion in original programming over the next year.