Apple TV 4K 2021 and Zwift: A Comparative Review

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Many regular viewers know that I’m a big user of Apple TV for Zwift. For the most part, unless I’m actively testing something that requires a PC or Mac specifically, I’m using Apple TV as my Zwift machine. I have multiple units at both the DCR Cave and at home, for both Zwift cycling and Zwift running. It’s easy to use, and in my experience generally far more stable than Zwift’s PC or Mac versions.

Back a few weeks ago Apple announced the new Apple TV 4K 2021 edition. The name didn’t change, it was called Apple TV 4K before. Instead, two key things did change: A new remote that theoretically isn't horrible, and a new processor. Beyond that there are a bunch of other ancillary things that don’t tend to impact Zwift too much, like newer HDMI & WiFi specs (HDMI & WiFi 6), as well as higher HDR frame rates.

Internally, it’s different – the new Apple TV 4K 2021 edition has a new processor in it, one that Apple boasts is far more powerful. And yes, sure. Kinda. But there’s a super important detail here. On paper the new Apple TV 4K 2021 edition (as opposed to the previous Apple TV 4K (from 2017) has a faster processor, using the newer A12 Bionic processor as opposed to the older A10X processor.

However, this ‘newer’ processor is still…three years old. Yes, for real, it’s the iPad and iPhone processor from 2018. This is not unfortunately one of the newer M1 series processors found in many of their newer product launches over the past 6-8 months. But even if it were, Zwift doesn’t natively support that processor series yet anyway (still).

In this test, I dive into all the nuances of the new Apple TV 4K 2021 and using Zwift, at least as of late May 2021. Hopefully, in time it'll change.

0:00 Intro & Overview
2:05 The New Remote
3:00 Bluetooth Sensors Limits
5:15 New Graphics Chipset
6:55 Side by Side Comparison
8:43 Wrap-up

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