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Page 2 – News Debris For The Week Of September 18th

A Magnificent Review of the Apple TV 4K

There are reviews, and there are reviews. Some are a rehash of the press release. Some are simply product descriptions that are labelled a review and are basically phoned in.

But every once in awhile, I see a review that’s superior in every respect. Not only is the product analyzed and terms of features, price and performance, but it’s also tested in prospective operational surroundings. That way, design decisions are unmasked, properly critiqued and put into intelligent context for the customer.

Image credit: Apple

The review I’m so pleased with is this one from CNET’s David Katzmaier

This is no doubt the best review ever of an Apple TV product. And so if you’re in the hunt for a new 4K/UHD TV system and you’re contemplating the purchased of an Apple TV 4K to go along with it, this is essential reading.

By the way, David Katzmaier has been my guest on Background Mode. His expertise in all things video was also punctuated in that podcast, and it’s a great supplement to his review above.

More Debris

• There is a persistent story in the Apple community. It’s that macOS Snow Leopard was the greatest version of macOS of all time. Indeed of any UNIX-based operating system. That’s because, after years of refinement, Apple reached the pinnacle of an amazing GUI on top of BSD Unix. Everything after that, it could be argued, was simply adding features and gaining better integration with iOS. (APFS and a few other features excepted.)

Snow Leopard Box

Of course, we were also more naive at the time, particularly with respect to security. One would likely pause first before exposing the original version of Snow Leopard to the internet today. But some still do, I have heard, and with success. (Not that I endorse the idea.)

In any case, Snow Leopard is remembered fondly by many. And so I present this gem that recounts the cool things about this amazing version of macOS (then called Mac OS X) from 2009. “Reliving that Snow Leopard Magic” by Stephen Hackett.

• Forbes has made a living out of criticizing Apple in ways that I don’t agree with. Here’s an article you should be aware of despite its questionable thesis. “Apple TV 4K Falls Victim To Video Streaming Format War.” The argument is that the Apple TV 4K should have provided support for the VP9 video codec and that its omission is some how grievous and detracts from the product. The article concludes:

If the lack of VP9 streaming support really is down to politics rather than technical oversight, I guess all we can do is hope that Apple’s eventual rapprochement with Amazon can soon be repeated with Google too.

I disagree. H.265/HEVC is going to be the streaming 4K/UHD video codec going forward. The fact that Google has decided to come up with its own format for YouTube, for its own purposes, doesn’t compel Apple to bend over to Google’s initiatives. If you want to watch YouTube videos that use VP9, there are other avenues (Chrome). Hats off to Apple for understanding the future of streaming 4K/UHD video to set top boxes.


Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weekends.

6 Comments Add a comment

  1. craigf

    Actually, the new Apple TV is doomed from the get go because it doesn’t support Flash or RealPlayer or PlaysForSure files. 😜

  2. macjeffff

    The new Apple TV looks like a winner to me. I don’t appreciate reviewers who presume to tell me what I need or don’t need, what is too expensive, etc. I wonder how many “less expensive” 4k movies to I’d have to buy to make the new Apple TV’s price seem reasonable?

  3. cubefan

    Only statement I disagree with is ‘Lack of 4K content’, we watch Netflix 4k content frequently and over here satellite is optionally 4k. Armed with an upscaling Blu-Ray player – admittedly used very infrequently in comparison with a standard Apple TV4. I don’t think Apple ever release a product WITHOUT considering which standards to support and a proprietary codec on YouTube isn’t a standard. If in doubt, wait, implement the proper standards and do it well.

  4. CudaBoy

    I’d say Tiger over Snow Leopard, but hardware changes by far make Snow Leopard the last OS with Steve Jobs vision in it,. I miss skeomorphism – now you have a “Launch Pad” on a “Desktop” with a “Dock” WTF and it looks bad ,Quicktime can’t manually scale skewed video windows any more …it (Sierra) acts bloaty unstable especially on boot ups.
    4k? Too late Apple – where’s your 8k and 360º video that Youtube supports (the 360, not the 8k), and yes Google WILL dictate to you just as you finally realized they do SEARCH for your default on everything now. Only the clones would see value in Apple’s late entry into old tech like 4k and have the balls to charge more money for no reason when others are on to AR and VR and quantum dot displays, 360º cams and the “makers” but noooo, keep selling those phones, stay simple my apple. 🍎

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