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How to Play Dolby Vision videos on the 2021 Apple TV 4K

Apple TV 4K

It looks identical to Apple’s first 4K streaming box introduced back in 2017. And the day-to-day experience of using it doesn’t feel dramatically better when compared to that device. The biggest improvement is undoubtedly the redesigned second generation Siri Remote that comes bundled with the new Apple TV 4K. But you can buy that separately for $59.

Those who have long sung the Apple TV’s praises will find more to like with this updated hardware. It now has Wi-Fi 6 for speedier, more robust wireless performance. (A gigabit ethernet jack remains on the back for wired connectivity.) The biggest internal change in the latest model is an upgraded chipset. Apple has moved on from the A10X Fusion to the A12 Bionic. But the A12 is far from Apple’s latest and greatest silicon; It’s an improvement, but not some game-changer for Apple’s set-top box.


apple tv 4k

How to watch Dolby Vision iPhone videos on the 2021 Apple TV 4K

  • If you’re not sure if you’re shooting in Dolby Vision on iPhone 12 Pro or Pro Max, head to the Settings app
  • Swipe down and choose Camera
  • Now choose Record Video
  • For Dolby Vision, you’ll want to pick 4K at 60 fps as well as turning on the toggle below next to HDR Video (Dolby Vision max for iPhone 12/mini is 30 fps)
  • You can also toggle between 4K 60 and 24 or 30 as well as 1080 60 or 30 fps when in the Camera app

iPhone TV 4k

On the outside, the Apple TV 4K is impossible to distinguish from its predecessor. It’s still the same nondescript black box that calls little attention to itself on a TV stand. I wish Apple would have done away with the glossy, dust-magnet sides, but we’re not so lucky. The company is sticking with the traditional set-top box form factor even as many competitors have moved to more discreet HDMI dongles that are usually hidden from view behind the TV.

iPhone TV 4k


  • In the Photos app, to check which of your existing videos on your iPhone are Dolby Vision, look for HDR in the top left corner
  • To play Dolby Vision videos on your Apple TV 4K, open Control Center (pull down from the top right corner)
  • Choose Screen Mirroring > tap your Apple TV 4K
  • Press play on your video
  • That’s it!

Apple has mostly resolved an issue with raised blacks in Dolby Vision content, according to HDTVTest’s Vincent Teoh. However, the 2021 Apple TV 4K still doesn’t support bitstream audio passthrough, so the company hasn’t addressed all the wants of home theater enthusiasts. But it’s still checking off the essentials like Dolby Vision, Atmos, and HDR10.

Apple TV 4K HD

The iPhone TV’s home screen is still the same old static grid of apps. And Apple does what it can to steer you into using its iPhone company Apple TV app. Which aggregates TV shows and movies from numerous services and is also where you’ll find Apple TV Plus originals. Ted Lasso is coming back soon, in case Apple hasn’t hammered that message into your brain enough already. The Apple TV app fine and more than competent recommendations (provide you aren’t looking for anything from Netflix),

but aside from the Apple TV Plus section, it hasn’t changed a whole lot and feels stuck in place.

The Apple TV 4K Modem

Thankfully, Apple has evolved and added to tvOS elsewhere in recent years with new features like multiuser support,

Apple Fitness Plus, and HomePod home theater audio. Speaking of which, the new Apple TV 4K lets you play audio through any HDMI device through the original HomePod. I don’t have Apple’s speakers around to try this myself, but early reports suggest that ARC audio works fine for video content. However, latency might be a dealbreaker if you attempt gaming with HomePods as speakers.

Another new trick of tvOS that’s also available on older Apple TV devices is an automatic calibration feature that uses your iPhone’s camera to process color patterns on-screen and adjust the image to make it look as good as possible. This doesn’t actually alter any of your TV’s settings; the Apple TV is optimizing its own picture settings, and you can toggle between this calibrated “balanced” result and the default to see the difference.

iPhone TV 4k

The consensus seems to be that Apple’s feature can lead to improvements — often producing a warmer image — though most higher-end TVs come with accurate settings out of the box, especially in cinema or calibrated mode. If you’re serious about picture quality, it’s worth doing a legitimate calibration to get the best outcome across all of your TV’s various inputs.

Apple TV

The Apple TV is Apple’s set-top-box that runs tvOS. The company currently sells the 2015 Apple TV HD and the 2021 second-generation Apple 4K models. Alongside the product, Apple also has the Apple TV app, which is available also for Android users and lots of smart TV owners, and Apple TV+, the company’s video streaming service with exclusive original content.


The first-generation Apple TV was unveil in September 2006. The product, which would be called iTV, couldn’t have this name since the British terrestrial broadcast network ITV already held the right to the name in the UK and threatened to take legal action against Apple.Shipped six months later, the first Apple TV had a 40GB HDD, and a 160GB HDD option was later released.The second-generation Apple TV was announced in September of 2010 and was the first model to run on a variant of iOS. In a smaller, all-black case, it was one-quarter the size of the original Apple TV. The HDD was replaced by 8GB of internal flash storage, enough for buffering purposes. Also different from the first set-top box, this one was only used for streaming content. It also supported output up to 720p over HDMI only.

Apple TV 4K


The third-generation Apple TV was released almost two years later in March 2012. It included the A5 chip and support for 1080p output. As of 2021, the third-generation set-top box still works with streaming services.

Including Apple TV+, Apple TV Channels, Amazon Video and Netflix.

The fourth generation, or the Apple TV HD, was the biggest revamp to the set-top box in years, and it launched in September 2015. With a brand-new black remote charged via Lightning cable, it introduced the tvOS operating system with an App Store allowing downloads of third-party apps for video, audio, games, and other content. This device includes the A8 processor and support for Dolby Digital Plus.

Two years later, in September of 2017, Apple introduced the fifth-generation Apple TV, or the Apple TV 4K, which supports 2160p output, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and includes the A10X Fusion processor. This model is similar to the fourth-generation model with the only difference being the addition of vents on the base and the removal of the USB-C port.

The sixth-generation Apple TV, or the second-generation Apple TV 4K, was introduced in April of 2021. With a similar design to its predecessor, the main change is the A12 chip and the second-generation Siri Remote.

Apple TV HD (fourth-generation)

Apple TV HD (fourth-generation)


Launched in 2015, the Apple TV HD uses the A8 chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 1080p and 60 fps. Only available in 32GB storage.

The set-top-box uses the Siri Remote, featuring Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 1.4, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, IR receiver, USB-C for service and support built-in power supply.

The fourth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on 14.4 with 14.5 already tested.

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