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Zwift Setup: AppleTV 4K vs iPhone

Zwift Setup: AppleTV 4K vs iPhone

– [Host] Morning Trainiacs, we
have something very exciting. Today, we are upgrading
from Zwift setup with this. This is seriously what I’ve
used, the old iPhone 5 SE, to the Apple TV 4K. Now, what we’re gonna do,
is I’m gonna walk ya through how to set up Zwift on the Apple TV 4K, and then I’m gonna give
you some of the impressions of the quality difference between this, for in between $100 -$200, and this, free if you’ve already got it, but fairly costly if you don’t have it. I’m lookin’ forward to this. (upbeat music) Alright, so the reason that
I chose the Apple TV 4K for the Zwift setup, is because
after doing some research on what the best bang for
your buck Zwift setup is, came down to this versus
a full gaming setup. Now, these are the two options
that get you the very best quality Zwift experience,
as far as how good the graphics are, how
smooth the experience is, how easy it is to feel like
you’re immersed in the game, and sure, there are
quality differences between the Apple TV 4K and a full gaming setup, but a full gaming setup
might cost anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000, this is less than $200,
so lets get into it. Alright, so setup is pretty simple. Basically you just unbox the few things that come in the box. So in the box you’ve got
an Apple TV 4K brick, you’ve got the cable, and
you’ve got the remote. Eveything comes charged,
ready to go, out of the box. You have to take all the wrapping
off, then you have to plug in the Apple TV 4K to the power
source, and then there isn’t an HDMI cable, so you’ve got
to make sure that you have an HDMI cable that you plug
into the TV, and there is an optional direct line where
you can directly hook up a wired internet connection
into the Apple TV 4K, but in my case, I’m just doing it off
of the internet WiFi. So then it’s going to take
you through all the prompts to set up the Apple TV
4K, fairly simple, you can just select to do it through your phone. Bring the phone close to the Apple TV 4K and just follow the prompts. Once you do that, and you’re
logged in to the Apple TV, turn on the TV and go to
the Apple Store and search for Zwift, and one of the cool
things about the Apple TV 4K is that you can now just say Zwift. Zwift, and then it will spell Swift, but it’ll still find Zwift. Now once you end up getting
Zwift on, open the app. You’ll have to log into your account, and then what you’ll have to
do is pair all of your devices to the Apple TV 4K. The issue with that, is that
the Apple TV only allows three connections to the
device, so one is taken up by the remote, another
has to be taken up by your smart trainer, so that
leaves you to choose between heart-rate monitor and a cadence sensor, but we want all of ’em. So what you can actually
do, is you can use the Zwift Companion app
to do all of the pairing, so what you can do is
as you start setting up all of the devices, it’ll
prompt you when you select the third device, like the cadence or the heart-rate monitor, and
it’ll say do you want to use Zwift Companion to do the
Bluetooth pairing, in which case you say yes, you go to
your phone, you open the Zwift Companion app, you
click in the bottom right, where more is, click settings,
click device connection, and then make sure that that
toggle switch is toggled on. Now, if your like me and
you’ve got devices all around the place, might have a hard
time selecting which ones to connect, so you’re just
gonna have to go back and forth a little bit, tryin’ to
disconnect and reconnect, and you do that on the
Apple TV with the remote, and eventually, I had to
switch from run and disconnect my Stryd Foot Pod, so
that it would recognize the trainer as the power source. If you do that, you’re done. It’s all connected, and
you are in the game, and I get it, this is nice. Let me go through this ride and then I’ll show you
some sample footage. (upbeat music) Alright, so that’s about two hours done, at a little faster than Iron Man pace. That hurt, that hurt. Now, when I first started
using this, the connection with the cadence sensor,
it wasn’t really working. It was only reading about 35 cadence. The Wahoo KICKR also
wasn’t being controlled. The climb wasn’t being
controlled by the KICKR, but all I needed to do was go
into the Wahoo Fitness app, refresh all of those connections, and that got everything sorted. And then came back and all
good again, but there is a significant difference in quality between this and the iPhone. I’m gonna grab some footage,
I’m gonna be running, we’re gonna put ’em side-by-side
and I’m gonna show you the difference in quality. Experience is significantly better. I need some food, whoa! So, alright, Trainiacs, I’ve
got a little bit of footage here for us to take a look
at, comparing two of the more common ways to get Zwift on a TV. Now of course you can do an
iPad, that I’m not a big fan of that because you get bars on the side, but the orientation of
an iPhone is the same as most of the TVs out there, so that’s how you get the most
screen real estate on a TV. Now, one of the issues
with using your phone is that when you have a
Airplay connection, and you’ve just connected the phone
to the TV via Airplay, you end up getting a lot
of skipping depending on the reliability of the WiFi
and the Bluetooth connection. Now, you can, to improve that, get a Lightning to HDMI adapter. That ends up then draining
a lot of the battery, and if you don’t have a spare
phone, then you are using up your phone, whereas with
Apple TV, costs $100 -$200 depending on which one you
get, and as I’ll show you, the quality is a lot
better and you still get all of that screen real estate. So, lets go right back to the beginning of this footage here, and
I tried to ride basically the same course, at about the same effort, in New York. On the left we’ve got the iPhone, on the right we’ve got the Apple TV. What you see, is that the
detail in the trees, the leaves, is significantly better on
the Apple TV, so take a look at the trees, and I recognize that this is a recording of a recording, but it gives you kinda
the general impression. Like here you know it’s a tree, but there you can see all
the individual leaves. You can also take a look at the road as we’re passing by here. Here you know it’s a road,
but there isn’t the same texture and depth that
you’ve got with the Apple TV. Also, this is a really good
example, as you come up to things like barriers and
things like this, archways, you can see the shape of it,
but lets take a look at it in full view with the Apple
TV, and what you can see is that theres’ just a ton more depth. There’s little bits of texture. You’ve almost got a
feeling of, well I guess, texture and depth. I’m running out of words
to say, apparently. Not good at thesaurus-ing. Now also, take a look at
the edges of the rider, so we’ll give you a
really good example here, and you can see the edges
of all the riders around me very, very crisp and
defined, but now, go at it the other way on the iPhone, and you see that everything’s just
a little bit pixelated. So, it’s not as crisp, it’s not as sharp. Now, I wanted you to look
here specifically at the flag. So take a look at the flag
as we come up to it here. Now, you’re probably not gonna see a whole lotta texture or definition. You’re gonna know that it’s
a flag, and that’s about it, but if we can find a spot,
basically perfect timing, where we’ve got a flag
coming up with the Apple TV, what you should see is
that there’s little bits of rippling and waves. There you go. So you can see just that
little bit of rippling, little bit of waves. It helps give you a sense that
you are actually in the game. Now, obviously the color is
going to be a fair bit richer when you use the Apple TV
4K, because what it is, is it’s a 4K image that’s
scaled down to 1080P, HD. That’s actually what we
do with these videos. We shoot them in 4K,
scale it down to 1080P, because that gives you
a really rich color, if you don’t have smudges on the lens. One of the things that you
have to know about that 4K scaling down to 1080,
is that it doesn’t quite scale perfectly, you do lose
a little bit of real estate on the edges, and the things
it’ll make a difference on, is you might lose a
cadence number when you go over a hundred, so I was losing the one, and I would just see 04,
if my cadence was high. Whereas with an iPhone, it’s not as rich. I mean, it’s a great quality
screen, but when you take that image and you blow it
up from something this size to something this size, you’re
gonna lose a heck of a lot of detail, whereas with the Apple TV 4K, it’s actually going the other way. And of course, latency. You don’t have to worry about
all the dongles and everything to get this to work without
skipping with the Apple TV 4K. It’s going to be instant, and you’re not gonna have
any skipping whatsoever. There’s one other spot
that I wanna show you here that gives you a really good example of the texture and the depth. I wanna show you this right here. Take a look at this pillar
that’s coming up on the left. You know that it’s a pillar. You kind of have a good
sense of the shape of it, sort of square, but when
we take a look at that with the Apple TV 4K, let’s see
if we can speed that up, you’re gonna see that there’s
a heck of a lot of depth and richness, and fine
little details in there that you don’t get on the iPhone. Oh, I like that! So that’s the differences
between using an iPhone, just via Airplay to get Zwift on your TV, and just using an Apple TV 4K. Significantly different, for
only, I’m on, $180 – $200, which is far, far less than the $1,000 – $2,000
that you could spend on a gaming computer. That’s the next level up
beyond the Apple TV 4K. What you’ll get with a gaming
computer is a little bit of shadows, and just a
little bit more richness, but in a lot of the videos that I saw, it wasn’t really that
significatnly different, and for the 5-10x different price tag, I went with the Apple
TV 4K, and I don’t know, I’m pretty into it! So that’s it Trainiacs! If you aren’t already
following me on Zwift, go follow me there. It’s gonna be Zwift season. Once they come out with
the team riding function, the private function
that we’re gonna reserve for Team Trainiac. We are gonna be doin’
some group rides there, so you can follow me. First name is T, last
name is Riathlon Taren, so I show up as Triathlon Taren. But if you search Riathlon
Taren as the last name, I think I should pop up. Go follow me there. Improve your Zwift setup, because it’s Zwift season
Trainicas, Zwift season.

27 thoughts on “Zwift Setup: AppleTV 4K vs iPhone”

  1. No comparison Apple TV much better can’t believe your not already using it Taren ….👌🏻 merry Christmas 🎄 and a happy new year 🥳 successful racing next year ……I’m off down the pub 🍺🍺🍺

  2. Hi Taren, I’m using a iPhone 8’s and a AppleTV 4K. After many rides I figured out that for me in my Setup it works best to run Zwift on the IPhone and do a Screenshare with the AppleTV. One reason is that I can switch between watching movies on AppleTV and Zwift. If I run Zwift on AppleTV this doesn’t work. Additionally sometimes the CompanionApp and Zwift lost connection for some 10 seconds and sensors were lost. Connection of my Kickr and sensors to my IPhone is much more reliable. Ok the graphics are better on AppleTV. However I prefer a ride without problems.

  3. Using a regular laptop and the biggest advantage in my opinion is that I can use an ANT+ dongle to connect all devices. In a pain cave specifically built for the purpose like yours the Apple TV solution is of course much easier to hide.

  4. I just use my laptop on a chair in front of the bike that is connected to my Apple Watch and TacX Bushido. On the bike I set up a Quadlock so I can also run the Zwift companion app with the phone on the handlebar and look at it if I want to. Tv is running Netflix 🙂 No cave for me…. just pain 😀

  5. This helps a lot getting myself a ZWIFT setup for Christmas and was going to use my phone but might need to invest in Apple TV

  6. Hi Taren,
    Great choose, I have the same in my setup… by the way don't forget to use a one free subscription of Apple TV+, is included on your Apple TV , RIDE ON👍

  7. Your $1000-$2000 is way off…well, maybe not for canadians. All you need for zwift is a cheap laptop. Most integrated graphics are way more than enough for zwift. Please compare more reasonably.

  8. There is the option of simply attaching your MS Windows laptop to a internet accessible TV (…of which most have a gaming source option through HDMI … example would be a Samsung 4K TV ). The problem with your Apple option is that there are much fewer Apple products than Microsoft laptops.

  9. Apple TV works best, is easy to set up, and is the most cost effective. Remarkably, neither Trainerroad nor Sufferfest offer an Apple TV app. Seems like they’re missing out on a ton of subscribers.

  10. Another option to connect your devices to the Apple TV is to use a 4iiii Viiiiva heart rate monitor. It also acts as an ANT+ bridge. You pair your trainer, speed/cadence sensor, power meter, etc. to the HRM via the 4iiii app, then you pair the HRM to the Apple TV. It sends all your data (HR, power, cadence, etc.) through a single Bluetooth channel to the Apple TV.

  11. Most smart trainers broadcast cadence so no need to use as a separate BT channel. That said the Apple Watch works great with Zwift for HR on Apple TV through the Companion app.

  12. I used to watch Taren’s videos all the time. However, his videos have become commercials more than informative. Just a small example, the hat with a useless supplement’s logo. As channels become more and more commercialized, the less and less credibility therein.

  13. I agree with your review- I've been Apple TV for a few months and it is much better and very affordable. One issue to be aware of while using the phone App – when you join the game don't turn on the app just yet. Connect the two devices you want (smart trainer and HR monitor) and (key here **) make sure the Bluetooth symbol is displayed up in the top left corner of the main Zwift screen (where you pair devices etc – the first screen you get once you select the account to ride). If it displays a message about using the Apple TV in the upper left corner then you have to click that Apple message to flip it over to the Bluetooth symbol. Then you can add your third device and tell it yes to use the App… start the app.. boom done. It is not as complicated as I have made it sound, but for my first few tries I couldn't get my third device to connect.

    Once you get everything paired and running once things are much smoother from that point forward. And as I have beat to death here, make sure the Bluetooth symbol is in top left corner every time BEFORE you add that third device.
    BIG DOWNSIDE of Apple TV.. the remote. To quote DC Rainmaker – "it makes you want to punch yourself in the [email protected]"… so true. It is painful.

  14. I cant do it. I tried swift on phone and apple TV. Spent so much time messing with the dang thing I just ended up taking my bike outside and riding it. After the fourth or fifth time I talked to customer support. They weren't very supportive (told me to go buy smart trainer). After that I spent more then 20 minutes setting it up numerous times before I finally just gave up, canceled swift. Havent missed it one bit! Go outside and RIDE YOUR BIKE!

  15. The difference in quality from ATV to a computer is about as big as what you're seeing with the iphone. An actual computer will get you 4k and more detail ATV is not in 4k even with the 4k model. Ease of use for ATV is arguably better but I find my PC fast, stable and I'm up and running within 2 minutes. I also prefer ANT+ to bluetooth which requires a simple cheap dongle and becomes a bit more complicated with ATV. Value for dollar, the ATV edges out computers for most, but if you want the best quality stability and flexibility use a computer. Doesn't matter if its PC or Mac – SSD, decent graphics card, 16GB ram and a good internet connection and you're off to the races.

  16. How do you get a ride you did in Zwift in the Apple TV app into Strava? On a computer later? Does the companion app let you do it? Does it let you take screenshots?

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