Zwift has been offering limited beta offerings for its members looking to pair their virtual indoor training rides with the high quality video of Apple TV service since last spring. And while that sounds like just another ploy to get you to but more expensive electronics, it actually turns out to be the most affordable way to get an immersive setup with the virtual training system.
A few weeks ago we knew that Apple TV compatibility was coming, when Zwift got their big Mayan Jungle update. Now full 4K functionality is here with the latest app on tvOS 11, also pairing with the newest version of their iOS app dubbed Zwift Mobile Link. The update brings up to 4K video streaming functionality to users with the most recent two versions of Apple TV – generations 4 & 5 that support on board applications. And it ends up being a relatively affordable way to start training with Zwift.
The update works with the most recent two versions of Apple TV – generations 4 & 5. Now for $150/160€ you can get a streaming setup with Apple TV, or for $180/200€ you get the more advanced Apple TV offering 4K video. It all benefits from Apple’s own latest video processors optimized for this type of virtual viewing environment. That’s a lot cheaper than pretty much any other computer you would need to build to power the video processing, plus of course you get the other Apple TV functionality as well.
Of course that isn’t really all you need, since there is still the cost of a TV and a smart trainer. But that has alway been an issue, so at least the Apple TV connectivity brings down the cost to render the virtual environment to your big screen.
The Apple TV setup does have a few limitations since it is only Bluetooth LE compatible (no ANT+) and can connect to just two Bluetooth devices directly at one time (although it seems more can be connected with the paired Zwift iOS app.) If you need ANT+, you’ll have to use a Bluetooth bridge. Pairing with an iOS phone or tablet does seem to offer the best functionality, as you can use the Zwift Mobile Link device to more easily control your environment and communicate with other riders out on the virtual road.