Apple TV 4K – why I may jump in
If you’ve subscribed to my newsletter, watched any of my videos, or even read some earlier blogs here on my Medium page, then you’ll be aware that I am quite in to AppleTV+ and their originals. Beautifully shot, fantastic sets & screenplay and wonderfully cast too. All round, a great experience. Having found it, and using it more and more, it got me looking at my current viewing subscriptions, and how things could change. The new Apple TV 4K is just stunning me…
Apologies in advance, as this blog may well end up being quite UK-centric, but hopefully, there will be bones among it that you may find of interest. Like many of my age, which I shall delicately avoid….my viewing habits were born from the satellite revolution of the 90s. I was a very early adopter of satellite broadcaster BSKYB (yes, I truly amthat old!). It was a revolution back then, and I have been dragged, blindly, along with it ever since. Sky is the most vague and complicated service out there. I called them yesterday to find when I was out of contract, in order that I could cancel my sub with them. Luckily, I am out of their grasp, but of interest, in that call, they very nearly halvedmy monthly fee. It was a ‘special offer indeed, sir’, and ‘only for one day’. What are the chances, if I call back today, I will get an even better offer? After being with them 22 years, they told me that my offer was not as keen as if I were a new member…..which seems a little odd! Also, had I agreed, I would be tied in to another 18-month contract, with the subsequent annual raises. So, I have not signed up, yet, at least while I consider my options.
Is it time for a change
Clearly, my viewing habits will not be the same as yours, but I have taken time to look at what I watch, and what choices I have. I am partial to a bit of tennis. Well, Amazon takes care of much of that year round, and I get it free with my Prime subscription. Snooker – yup, I have got back in to that, and the Discovery+ app can take care of me there. Formula 1 and cricket are two other sports I enjoy to while away my hours watching, and here is where it gets oddly perverse. In the UK, we have a service called NowTV. No contracts, pay month-to-month and cancel any time. They offer the exact coverage that Sky give me, and why is that? Because it is owned by Sky! Checking last night, I can take advantage of all sorts of free periods and special offers. And, even when they stop, the sum of all those subscriptions is still cheaper than what I was offered yesterday with Sky, and with no lengthy contract.
So, let’s say from November to March where there is no Formula 1, I simply suspend my subscription to that package, a good saving is made. The only thing I seem to be foregoing, is the ability to record programs, but with so much on various catch-up services now, I doubt that will be a massive loss.
Hi def viewing with Apple
I have three smart TVs at home. All of them decent, but not crazy high end. All have built in apps, which includes Apple TV. So, I was lazily thinking that there was no need to get an Apple 4K box. Seems I was only partly correct, and here is why. The built-in apps do not necessarily give you all the benefits of watching through an Apple box. The first of those is the 60fps playback and super-crisp 4K resolution. That HDR capability will give more vibrant colours and make live action more punchy. Being knee-deep in the fabled Apple ecosystem, I will have numerous other benefits as well. Integration to HomePod Minis, Spatial Audio and Dolby Atmos, and being able to pair two sets of AirPods at any time being the first that spring to mind. Apple’s originals such as Morning Show, Slow Horses, and We Crashed will look even better watching through an Apple box. The box does come with two storage options, 32 GB or 64 GB if you store lots of movies, but that is not something that will really matter to me. All the catch-up services such as BBC’s iPlayer are part of the in-built apps, as is Now TV and YouTube.
Time for change?
It’s odd, but I still find myself sitting on the fence and not quite jumping, and I don’t know why. Habit, I reckon, is the largest contributing factor. Having been with Sky for so long, I am used to the interface and where to find things. But surely, that is no reason to stay-put, is it? The amount Sky takes from my account each month is just obscene. The apps and services I was looking at, also offer greater viewing flexibility as well. I believe I can be logged in to six devices on one account at any time. Imagine watching Formula 1 in true HDR on my soon to arrive MacBook Pro 16” with a 120Hz, mini LED panel! I then thought Sky had me on multi-room, but in the cold light of day, I realise that once I have signed in to say, NowTV on the various TV’s, I effectively have it!
What to do then? Well, I think a step-by-step approach is best. For instance, there is a Grand Prix coming up this weekend. I think I may order an AppleTV box and a one-month subscription to the NowTV sports package. I will then make an active effort not to reach for the Sky remote. If I find I have not missed it at all, then I will know I am on the right track. I have to give a 30-day notice period to Sky, so in that month, I will try out the various apps on a month’s basis and see how it goes.
I think I am being lazy and wary of change, and that needs to stop. Just because I am comfortable with what I have, for the money I am paying, it does not make it right.
How about you? Have you switched? How do you find the viewing experience through an AppleTV box? Have you tried any of these other services? I’d love some feedback….and may be a little push too!
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Originally published at https://www.talkingtechandaudio.com/blog on May 02, 2022.