Apple TV 4K

This week, I want to comment on a news item that’s already been covered.

Why does it appear that Apple is going to ship a new Apple TV 4K? It is most assuredly not an 8K capable device. There’s not enough 8K content available for streaming yet, nor will there be any time soon. Yes, I know, up close, 4K content will look terrific on an 8K display. That’s the same argument for buying a 4K TV now. Namely, HD content, up close, looks terrific when (auto) scaled up to 4K.

We don’t know if the video system of this rumored new Apple TV 4K can deliver 8K via HDMI 2.1. The A13 chip probably can in principle, but there might be other issues.

More to the point is the actual fact of getting, possibly, a pre-8K Apple TV 4K product update. Apple has been criticized in the past for taking too long between updates of the Apple TV hardware. But the theory that Apple is on the brink of a new release suggests both a product vision and energy and an awareness that it needs to be a first class platform for its services.

But more Apple Arcade than Apple TV+, however. The current model nicely supports all the current, important streaming 4K technologies: HDR10, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

So why the discussion of Apple Arcade? I believe it has to do with frame rate. The current broadcast standard specifies 60 Hz frame rate. That is, OTA, cable and satellite. 60, period. Now your TV may interpolate frames to achieve an effective screen refresh of 120 Hz, for smoother action scenes, but that’s internal to the TV.

Streaming video has no such restriction. So games can be streamed at 120 or even 144 Hz for fast, smooth action. The current Apple TV 4K is limited to 60 Hz frame rate. So perhaps a higher frame rate is the forward thinking by Apple. The TV used, of course, must itself be capable of absorbing the higher frame rate.

And for more on that, see the excellent explanation at Digital Trends Do you need a high refresh gaming monitor?

All said, it’s nice to hear a surmise about a new Apple TV 4K after just over two years.

The Week’s News Debris

• Our Charotte Henry pointed out that there’s yet another streaming service potentially on the way. “There’s ANOTHER Streaming Service on The Way.” But wait! There’s another beyond that! “A new streaming service with popular movies and shows is taking on Netflix – and it’s completely free.Can they succeed?

• There certain Apple products that should not be purchased at a given time of the year based on an analysis of Apple’s history of new product releases. Here’s the February, 2020 edition from ZDNet. “Don’t buy these Apple products: February 2020 edition.”

• Maybe the (Apple) idea that millions of customers would pay US$10/month for a quality news feed was just too much hubris. Or perhaps the hubris was thinking that such a service would know no bounds and continue to grow. In any case, the situation with Apple News+ is now leading to the idea of bundling. I agree. Apple News+ is too important to outright kill for failure to meet artificial expectations.

Star Trek Picard

Image credit: CBS

• Finally, for fun, because we talk a lot about streaming TV here, here’s an interesting analysis of Star Trek: Picard. “Star Trek: Picard Is a Fight for the Franchise’s Soul.” Synopsis: Star Trek is maturing whether we like it or not.

Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article(s) of the week followed 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 weeks.

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John: Let’s get straight to your obviously most important topic, Star Trek. As you and many others are no doubt aware, there has been a great deal of chatter in the Star Trek universe online (podcasts, websites, conventions, etc) about what is and is not Star Trek. Without rehashing those arguments, it is fair to say that there are differences of opinion amongst the fan base of whether or not current writers and producers share or reject Roddenberry’s optimistic vision of humanity’s future, with many arguing that a darker and more cynical depiction of the Federation has become ascendant. Whether… Read more »


The ultimate TV resolution is 16K.

Lee Dronick

There are few periodicals that I like in Apple News+, but most of it doesn’t interest me. I have given up some magazine subscriptions that I can get from News+, right now it is a wash. On the downside I no longer have a hard copy of Smithsonian and Popular Science with me while cooling my heels in a poorly stocked waiting room.

As with Geoduck I need to make sure I don’t take more than healthy serving of current political events, just enough to keep me informed. To that end I am finding Apple Music+ to be a plus.


I don’t use Apple News+. Don’t get me wrong, it is likely a fine product. The trouble is News. I discovered a few years ago that it’s bad for my health. Keeping abreast of every little thing and reading articles endlessly about who is doing what to whom, and what danger is creeping up today, and what might happen tomorrow, and what group may try to kill me to further this or that cockamamie cause is just too much. A few years ago I made a conscious effort to unplug. I keep up to date as needed. I check BBC… Read more »