It’s been a long time since Apple TV was considered a “hobby.”
That’s what it was considered by the company, which saw it as an experiment in the early days of the internet-connected set-top box. But after a big push in 2015 with the introduction of its own software — tvOS — Apple has grown increasingly serious about getting the box into your home.
Before unveiling the iPhone at an event on Tuesday, Apple showed off a new Apple TV box, which plays higher-resolution 4K video and High Dynamic Range, or HDR. It features the A10X Fusion chip. The graphics are 4 times faster and the CPU is 2 times faster than before.
Talking about how TV has moved from black and white to color and so forth, Apple CEO Tim Cook said now TV is at a new inflection point: 4K.
“Each stage brought with it a more true to life experience, a more immersive experience,” Cook said.
Apple is also turning attention to sports and news. Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, said that if your favorite team is playing on ESPN, it’ll be prominently featured on Apple TV. Sports-related features will also include notifications and showing you the score of a game, if you want. Apple is also bringing local services to Apple TV.
Apple TV is one of the company’s key media plays at a time when there’s a massive convergence into video and programming. Google‘s YouTube has introduced both a premium tier subscription service and a live TV offering, and lets you stream video through its Chromecast player. AT&T is acquiring Time Warner and also offers its own live and on-demand streaming video service.
Apple itself has also been creating its own shows like “Planet of the Apps.”
What this means is you’ll be watching your shows courtesy of different players in the coming years, whether it’s Google, Roku or Apple.
Apple is working with streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video to bring 4K titles to the service.
From iTunes, 4K movies will cost the same at HD titles, and if you’ve already bought an HD movie, you’ll get an upgrade to 4K automatically, for free, Cue said.
Future Market Insights projects the TV set-top box market will more than double by 2027, hitting about $46.1 million from $22.3 million in 2017. More and more people are turning to these devices to help them coral the various streaming services they use.
Apple still needs to play catch up. As of the end of March, Apple has about 15 percent of the set-top box market, coming in behind Roku, Amazon and Google, according to a report from Parks Associates.
Apple TV 4K, starting at $179, will be available to order September 15 and will ship a week later. The TV app will also be coming to Australia and Canada, as well as France, the UK, Germany, Norway, and Sweden by the end of the year.
Apple Sept. 12 iPhone event live coverage: Follow CNET’s live blog in real time.
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