Published on September 12th, 2017 | by Brad Gibson


Apple TV 4K says au revoir to USB-C

I and many others had a terrible feeling it would be nixed and sadly it was.

I’m talking about the USB-C connector that’s been part of the fourth-generation Apple TV set-top box since its inception in September of 2015 and is now history on its replacement, the Apple TV 4K.

The USB-C connector has always been dubbed by Apple as a port for “service only”. So limited has been its use that Apple doesn’t include a cable with the fourth-generation Apple TV, which speaks volumes. Many have wondered over the years that if this model was primarily restoring its operating system and settings via a wired or wireless Internet connection anyway why the USB-C port was even added in the first place. Quite frankly, so did I.

Experts tend to agree the Apple TV 4K will do a restore exactly like they do on Macs by what’s called a recovery/DFU mode over a WiFi connection. Apple has honed this approach down to a science and now it apparently feels it works perfectly enough to nix the USB-C port.

But for many others, the port has been the primary way to interface with a computer for things like taking screenshots of screen recordings. To record video, it was just about as simple as it got…connect your Apple TV to your Mac with a USB-C cable, open QuickTime player and press Record.

Now with the Apple TV 4K, it won’t be as simple and it definitely won’t be as cheap. The only option for video grabbers will now be third-party capture solutions like the Elgato HD60 S which starts at $160 and until it’s upgraded to support 4K will only record in 1080p.

Here’s the problem I have with this…while video-grabbing gamers are a small piece of the user base that makes keeping a USB-C port a no-brainer, Apple is sending a bad message to gamers it tried to woo at today’s special event that the Apple TV is not anywhere near a gaming solution.

About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

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