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Should You Get The New Apple TV 4K For Zwift?

The Apple TV is an absolutely great way to run Zwift. Not expensive, quick to start and get Zwift up and running. Zwift and other cycling apps such as RGT Cycling, Rouvy, FullGaz run natively on the Apple TV, meaning, all you need is the Apple TV box and a TV.

You can simply download Zwift directly from the AppleTV App Store onto your Apple TV, login to your Zwift account, pair your smart trainer, and start Zwifting. And best of all, It connects directly to your big screen tv with just an HDMI cable and you got yourself a very good Zwift experience on your Big screen TV for only $179.

However, it runs in basic graphic profile and in 1080p resolution. It is also capped at 30 frames per second.  So it lacks some of the graphic details that you get with a higher-end system. But then you are talking about spending close to $1,000 for a PC that gives you better graphic details vs spending $179 for an Apple TV box with pretty ok graphic details. 

Apple updated the Apple TV at their Spring Loaded event last week which is great because we’ve not seen an update to the Apple TV since 2017 and rumors have been flying around since last year. 

So finally we got one.

However, I was extremely disappointed with the announcement because this is really not the Apple TV – gaming powerhouse – we were expecting. 

WHATS NEW

  • The New Apple TV 4K supports WiFi 6 which is much more reliable. 
  • New Thread smart home technology.
  • HDMI2.1 which supports up to 8k at 60 Hz and even 4k at 120 Hz
  • High frame rate and can play HDR videos at up to 60 frames-per-second this includes 4K videos.
  • A New Remote Control.

Also, the addition of the new color balance feature which allows you to use iPhones with Face ID to calibrate your TV. However, this feature is also available on older Apple TV models as well even the one from 2015.

But by far, the best thing the came out of this update is the new Apple TV remote which has an aluminum premium design with a power button to control your TV, a scroll wheel, a mute button, and its own touch surface in the center. However, you can use this remote control with older Apple TV models and you can buy the remote alone for $59.

A12 BIONIC CHIPSET

The new Apple TV comes with the A12 Bionic chipset and this is the disappointing part. This chip is two and a half years old and Apple has been using it on some older iPads like the iPad mini. It’s not much faster than the 10x fusion chip found on the previous Apple TV model. 

This is disappointing because if you are hoping for better graphic performance in Zwift, you most likely won’t see that. The A12 Bionic currently gets a basic graphic profile and up to 1080 resolution in Zwift when looking at Zwift performance on devices that are currently using the A12 chipset,

So it will be missing a lot of the graphic details like some of the reflections, sun rays, and detailed shadows which is a bummer. If Zwift continues to cap frame rate to 30 fps, then you basically have the same exact performance as older Apple TVs. 

BLUETOOTH LIMITATION

On the Bluetooth limitation issue, currently, you can only pair up to two Bluetooth devices in Zwift. For example, you can pair a smart bike trainer and a heart rate monitor. If you have another sensor that you would like to pair, like a cadence sensor or a power meter, you will have to use the Zwift Companion app on your phone as a bridge. 

It’s currently unknown if Apple removed this limitation which I highly doubt they did. And if they did, I suspect Zwift might need to make some updates to their Apple TV app to accommodate for the change so it might be a while until we find out for sure.

NEW REMOTE CONTROL

This is by far the best that came out of the announcement. However, I am skeptical if this remote control will work any better with Zwift. The navigation issue with the old remote isn’t just a remote control issue. It’s a Zwift interface issue as well. Zwift really takes the blame here because I really don’t have that many problems navigating Netflix or most other apps on the Apple TV with the old remote. So until Zwift update its user interface, navigating Zwift with the new remote control might continue to suck.

SILVER LINING

All the benchmark testing that I’ve seen on the A12 Bionic chipset has been done on devices with no active cooling. The Apple TV does have an active cooling system and a fan so it’s unknown if the A12 Bionic will perform any better. So maybe…MAYBE this will give this chipset more power than we have seen on other devices. Zwift will have to evaluate its performance and decide on what graphic profile and frame rate to assign to it. So any graphic updates will come at a later date.

The new Apple TV is available to order from the Apple website and should start shipping the second half of May. 

Apple sells two versions: 32GB storage option for $179 and 64GB for $199. For Zwift, you only need 32GB.

Thank you for watching, and see you in the next video. 

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