The Case for Apple to Finally Just Make a TV

Nilay Patel:

One of my biggest issues with the new Apple TV 4K is that it doesn’t automatically switch the mode your TV is in to match the content. It’s one of the biggest and longest-standing issues in the living room: you want to run the TV display at a refresh rate of 24Hz when you watch 24fps movies, but animating a user interface at 24Hz looks like garbage. Apple and others deal with this issue by running everything at 60Hz, but that creates visual issues for 24fps movies — kind of silly because you buy all this stuff to watch movies, not menu animations. There are endless forum threads about adjusting TV settings to handle the motion problems that come with playing 24fps video at 60Hz.

At the same time, Apple recently introduced the ProMotion display on the iPad Pro, which dynamically varies the refresh rate of the LCD panel to match the content being displayed. When you watch a movie, it slows down to 24Hz to match the 24fps frame rate of most movies, and when you’re scrolling around a web page or playing a game, it can ramp up to 120Hz for maximum smoothness.

So, what if Apple made a TV with ProMotion that dynamically adjusted the refresh rate for the content being displayed, just like the iPad Pro? It would run at 120Hz on the homescreen and in games, slow down to 24Hz to display movies and TV perfectly, and ramp up again when you hit the home or Siri button to bring up the interface again. And live sports apps like NFL Sunday Ticket and MLB At Bat could run at 60Hz for smoother motion — the Xbox One Sunday Ticket app already runs at 60Hz.

Like Patel, I really don’t expect Apple to make a TV, but I sure wish they would, and he really makes a great case here. Especially the fact that previously, the cable box was king, but today, there’s a sizable (and growing) market of cord-cutters who just want to use streaming apps.

Apple should make a cell phone running a stripped-down version of OS X” was a longstanding pipe dream, too.

Thursday, 28 September 2017