Apple TV 4K no longer forces you to see everything in HDR



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Sarah Tew / CNET

When I reviewed the excellent Apple TV 4K I had two main complaints: the price and the fact that it forced users to look at all in high dynamic range [19659004] ]

Apple did not lower the price (yet), but a free software update available today addresses my second concern. Now there is a configuration that allows people who care (video nerds like me, basically) to choose between HDR always active and HDR only when it should be.

The high dynamic range offers the best video quality available today, and the Apple TV 4K is currently the only streamer that includes the standard capabilities HDR10 and Dolby Vision . But it is also the only streamer that, by default, reproduces everything in HDR. And I mean everything: the main menus, the application menus, the screen savers, the games and yes, all the videos of all the applications (including the ads), regardless of their original format.

Apple representatives said the main reason for this approach is a cleaner user experience: fewer blank screens or other interruptions while the TV is set to a different signal.

In general, this is true, but the side effects of converting everything to HDR are not worth it in my book. In my original review, I complained about the confusion of "Dolby Vision" and "HDR" pop-ups on many TVs, an excessively bright picture, especially on menus, and the fact that some HDR-ified content looked worse . "When watching 'The Walking Dead', Breaking Bad & # 39; Lost & # 39; Lost & # 39; on Netflix, for example, I noticed more specks of noise in the skies, clouds of smoke and other areas, "I wrote at that time.

  Apple TV Dynamic Match Match 4K HDR

David Katzmaier / CNET

The software update, TVOS version 11.2, adds a configuration called Match Content. It is disabled by default, but when you turn it on, it basically does the same thing as all the HDR capable streamers of the competition: pbad the original video signal without converting it to HDR. In my book, that's a good thing.

Unfortunately, Apple's solution is not a panacea. This is what I learned in a couple of hours playing today with the updated box.

  • To enable the new configuration, go to Settings> Video and audio> Match content and activate both the Match Dynamic Range and the Frame Rate by coincidence.
  • With all the televisions I tried, Match Content worked as expected: things in HDR were in HDR, and things that were not, like Hulu, HBO Now and Watch ESPN, for example, were not in HDR. .
  • The only exception was Samsung MU9000 . With Match Content enabled, Apple TV 4K will not deliver the HDR, even with HDR content such as "Stranger Things" on Netflix and "Wonder Woman" on iTunes. To get HDR on that TV, I had to turn off the settings. This was not a problem in Samsung Q7 or Sony X900E both worked as expected.
  • The menus, whether within Apple TV or individual applications, are all still in HDR. And they can still be too bright, especially on TVs with very aggressive HDR settings. The difference can be jarring, especially when I jumped in and out of the menu often, for example when I watch shorter YouTube videos.
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Owners LG OLED: the update is not a cure for frequent flags like this one.


Sarah Tew / CNET

  • People with televisions that put the "Dolby Vision" and "HDR" indicators, that is, the LG and TCL HDR TVs, will still see them more often when the dynamic Matching Range is activated. In my tests with LG E7 OLED and TCL 55P607 for example, the flag appeared every time I went back to those HDR menus after watching any video other than HDR.
  • There is an additional delay, typically a blank screen, since the signal goes from HDR (the menu page) to no HDR (the video), but it's only three or five seconds on the TVs that I tried. That's remarkable, but short enough to be worthwhile in my book.
  • With the Match Frame Rate movies in 24p they are presented natively, as they should be, without converting to 60Hz as in many other streamers. The only exception is Nvidia Shield which also supports 24p output.
  • Like other 4K streamers, the Apple TV 4K still converts everything into a 4K resolution.

If you're an annoying video purist about the conversion of Apple TV 4K, especially if you have a TV that looks much better with Dolby Vision than with HDR10, the new configuration could finally allow you to justify the purchase of an Apple TV. Or maybe you want to wait until Apple presents a configuration that also disables the HDR for menus, games and applications (which would be great).

Beyond the content of the games, another element that helps Apple TV to catch up by the end of the year: an Amazon Video application . I will update my full Apple TV review when I have the opportunity to try it.

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