I'm working on my review for Apple TV 4K right now. Prior the beginning my review, I queried and bugged a lot of people in a lot of positions to know about just what the best setup would be for the new Apple TV. Basically, I never go on vacation and have no life, so I had a little bit of money saved up to spend on it, but not a ridiculous amount.
Since I keep getting asked for recommendations, I figured I'd just hurry up and pass these along. So, here's what I got based on what the best and the brightest told me to get:
Apple TV 4K
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Of course. This is the new Apple TV 4K box (opens in new tab) itself. Powered by an Apple A10X processor, it's capable of delivering 4K HDR (high dynamic range) video in both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. (It's the Dobly Vision part there that's important — most experts would agree content provided in Dolby Vision is superior to HDR10.) It can also do Dolby 7.1 audio, with Dolby ATMOS audio support supposedly coming in an update. (And yes, it's frustrating it didn't ship with ATMOS already supported.)
I got the $199 64 GB model because it stores more and I prefer to have the extra space than to have to wait (and use bandwidth) for re-downloads.
See at Apple (opens in new tab)
LG C7P OLED 4K HDR TV
To watch 4K HDR content you need a television capable of displaying 4K HDR content, and the LG C7P OLED 4K HDR television (opens in new tab) — available in 55- and 65-inch models — is the one all the experts are not only recommending but buying themselves. A lot. OLED (organic light emitting diode) technology means when the panel is dark, it's pitch black dark. But it also has the brightness and contrast ratio to really show off details in both light and shadow. It also covers over 90% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, so reds are deep and greens are vibrant. It also supports Dolby Vision, which you want, and Dolby ATMOS, which you can take advantage of even if Apple is running late.
HDR is a far bigger difference than 4K, and this is the TV that really makes that impossible to unsee. (It also runs what's left of webOS, which makes me smile. And cry.) You can find cheaper and more expensive panels but this is really the sweet spot.
See at Amazon (opens in new tab)
Belkin Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable
Apple doesn't make an HDMI cable for 4K HDR but if they did, it would probably be pretty close to the Belkin Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable (opens in new tab) . Now, this is the one area where my expert friends and contacts gave me wildly different advice. Some said "HDMI is HDMI, doesn't matter if a rat chewed through it, it just works" and others said, "Dude, gross, use a proper HDMI 2 cable that can transit the full signal". Since I'm spending so much on the components, I figured I'd err on the side of not connecting them via a crappy rat-chewed cable.
At $29.95 you can certainly find a cheaper cable or stick with an older cable. But I'm not even letting a potential bottleneck get in the way of my HDR.
See at Apple (opens in new tab)
Total cost was under $4K for 4K. Go figure. And most of that was the TV. I could have spent a lot less and gotten a lot less, or spent a lot more and gotten a little more, but this was the best kit at the best price, and it all came highly recommended.
And yeah, I didn't get into sound systems — yet. I am a fan of Dolby ATMOS and will be looking to upgrade to an ATMOS receiver and speaker system at some point after Apple TV 4K gains support. (I currently use a SONOS Home Theater but they've yet to offer Dolby 7.1, much less ATMOS, and have neglected AirPlay entirely.)
If anyone has any other recs, please let me know!
Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.
If you can't afford 3 grand for your TV, but still want 55" 4K HDR, check out the Sony XBR55X900E 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV, available for just over 1 grand on Amazon: 4/5 stars, 167 reviews, available with Prime shipping, ships from and sold by Amazon. For some reason I cannot post links (thanks iMore), nor can I even put in the exact price (thanks iMore), so just search for "Sony XBR55X900E" on Amazon. Dear iMore, it was very difficult to write this comment, because you don't allow prices or links. This discourages your users from commenting.
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You don’t necessarily need to spend $30 on an HDMI cable, but it should be certified... (From OWC): “Apple's doc recommends cables with a "Dolby Vision mark" (tested with 4K Apple TV they say). Their example 2M Belkin Ultra High Speed cable is $29.95 at Apple's store and the specs list "up to 48 Gbps" - that's the (future) HDMI 2.1 spec rate. (The Apple TV 4K's specs show an HDMI 2.0a port - which is up to 18Gbps. I don't know of any retail HDMI 2.1 spec products yet. Hopefully a 4K Apple TV teardown shows what chip they're using.)
I've never seen a 'Dolby Vision' marked (or 48Gbps) HDMI cable (yet), but for current HDMI 2.0x 4K/UHD HDR/DV, a (HDMI 2.0x/18GHz) Certified Premium HDMI cable (6ft/as short as possible) worked reliably with a 4K/UHD HDR10 60P movie disc - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk. (The only UHD/60P movie disc to date and a good stress test for cables, as other HDR10 and all DV discs to date are 24P.) IMHO Apple should have included a cable. (Some 4K UHD Players do, as it helps minimize returns due to cable related problems.) 6ft Certified Premium HDMI 2.0/18Gbps cables are under $10 retail at some sellers. There's also a free HDMI Premium Cable Authentication App to verify the code on the box label.)” See: http://www.hdmi.org/manufacturer/premiumcable/faq.aspx
And the above mentioned app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/hdmi-premium-cable/id1065242072?mt=8&at=... see also: About 4K, HDR, and Dolby Vision on your Apple TV 4K
$30 is idiotic for an HDMI cable.
The Amazon brand ones are fine and are $8 for 6 feet.
I agree, $30 is a lot for a cable, unfortunately I tried the one you mentioned and couldn't get Dolby Vision to activate. Not sure if it was just a dodgy cable or it was maxing out the bandwidth, but seemed to handle HDR 10 just fine.
I have tried cheapo HDMI cables before and they tend not to last long. I'm with Rene on this one and have already ordered the same cable.
I have a similar setup: Apple TV 4K, LG OLED C7P, 10’ Zeskit Cinema Series HDMI 2.0 cable. I’m having some issues that perhaps others have solved. 1) My Apple TV 4K seems to crash (tv goes black, then says there’s nothing on the input) and then resumes on the home screen. 2) The TV’s ‘Dolby Vision’ label keeps appearing in the top right corner of the screen, as though it’s detected a change in the input signal. 3) Some content looks really grainy and sparkly. I’ve tried to match my TV’s picture settings to what RTINGS suggested. Has anyone had similar issues or had success solving them? Thanks!
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