Apple used its event at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino Tuesday to introduce the Apple TV 4K, a next-gen video streamer that supports 4K resolution as well as HDR 10 and Dolby Vision.
Apple TV 4K starts at $179 (32GB) and $199 for the 64GB version, joining the HD-capable fourth-gen Apple TV that sells for $149. Apple will open up sales for Apple TV 4K on September 15, with availability starting September 22.
Apple has also configured the UI for the new Apple TV device to deliver 4K-quality images.
Apple will also offer 4K titles on iTunes for the same price as content offered in HD, and is offering to auto-upgrade existing HD movie libraries to 4K for no added charge.
Apple TV 4K will also support 4K streaming libraries from OTT services such as Netflix, and plans to do the same with Amazon Prime Video later this year.
The new box will also be faster, as it will run on the A10X fusion chip, the same that runs the iPad Pro, and the CPU on the Apple TV 4K will deliver graphics two times faster than the current-gen Apple TV.
The updated TV App for Apple TV and iPad and iPhone will also include a new sports tab that will let users see which live and upcoming games are available, and an option to view real-time scores.
A big question ahead is whether adding 4K capabilities, plus the content upgrade offer, will be enough to help Apple TV gain much ground as a platform as its chief rivals (Google, Roku and Amazon, among them) added 4K to their product menus long ago and are each gaining marketshare thanks in part to their more varied pricing and feature combinations.
Apple TV still has a tough road ahead. Parks Associates reported recently that Roku is in the driver’s seat, with 37% of U.S. homes owning and using a Roku device, ahead of Amazon’s Fire TV (24%), the Google Chromecast (18%), and Apple TV (15%).