A brand new software program replace for the Apple TV, tvOS 11.2, arrived in the present day. It provides the beforehand delayed sports activities part to the TV app and permits customers to alter the foundations about how the Apple TV 4K offers with normal dynamic vary (SDR) content material on excessive dynamic vary (HDR) TVs. The replace additionally presents customers an answer to frame-pacing issues that occurred on account of the gadget’s default habits of forcing all content material to play at 60Hz.
Arguably probably the most notable addition is a brand new setting that means that you can drive the Apple TV to match its video output settings to the content material you are watching on a case-by-case foundation.
Once we reviewed the Apple TV 4K, we weren’t thrilled that, with the intention to preserve the output HDR always on TVs that supported it, the machine used Apple’s personal processing to transform SDR to HDR. This resulted in subpar SDR picture high quality with some content material. Equally, the Apple TV 4K robotically output content material at 60Hz to 60Hz TVs, even when the supply content material was, say, 24Hz, or 50Hz.
It was attainable to manually drive the machine to particular body charges or dynamic vary settings within the Apple TV 4K’s settings menus earlier than, however the change was at all times common. That meant you might drive the Apple TV 4K to stay to SDR earlier than watching Recreation of Thrones on the HBO Now app, however you’d should dig deep into menus to do it. In the event you needed to subsequent watch Marvel Girl in HDR from Apple’s iTunes storefront, you’d should repeat all that menu spelunking with the intention to undo these settings.
That was clearly extra inconvenient than it ought to have been, so Apple promised to supply an answer in tvOS 11.2. Now there is a part beneath “Video and Audio” known as “Match Content material,” which accommodates toggles for each dynamic vary and body charge. Apple’s description of this characteristic says: “We’ll use your chosen show format to play content material with out alteration. We are able to additionally swap codecs robotically to match the content material’s dynamic vary and body charge.”
With this setting enabled, image-quality purists can keep away from the issues inherent within the default method. The machine behaves extra just like the Roku Extremely or Roku Streaming Stick+, which swap modes by itself relying on the content material chosen. This produces a slight flicker and runs the danger of handshake issues with some TVs, so Apple nonetheless hasn’t made it the default. However Match Content material is there if you wish to commerce a bit of interface smoothness for extra correct illustration of the content material—a trade-off most home-theater fanatics shall be very happy to make.
tvOS 11.2 brings one different notable change: there may be now a Sports activities tab within the TV app. It attracts reside video games and up to date previous video games from networks whose apps assist the characteristic, like ESPN. By default, the present rating is proven within the preview as effectively, however you may navigate to settings to disable that characteristic when you do not need to spoil a sport you are not planning on watching reside. The app can even allow you to observe sure groups so it will possibly notify you when video games are about to start out. The sports activities options can be found in each the Apple TV 4K and its HD predecessor.