There are two new Apple TV models available, and which one you buy depends on your TV.
With so many different streaming devices at our disposal nowadays, it can be rather tough trying to figure out which one is the best. If you are firmly planted in the Apple ecosystem, then the obvious choice would be to grab a new Apple TV. However, there are two different models available, and with a few minor differences between them, you may be wondering which new Apple TV you should buy.
We have the Apple TV 4K, with its namesake signaling maximum resolution compatibility with all of your 4K televisions. While 4K has already been adopted by many, there are still some that prefer to use a 1080p or lower television. Whether it’s because you have a TV in an office or in the bedroom, you may not want to have 4K, and that’s where the Apple TV HD comes in handy.
Apple TV is sleek, neat and small enough to fit in any entertainment setup.
When looking at streaming devices, content is king, and both of these Apple TV models are able to stream your favorite shows, movies and more. The interface is exactly the same, and Apple has updated each of these to the latest version of tvOS 14.
In that regard, Apple has done the best that it can to ensure that all of the current Apple TV models are practically identical. One doesn’t provide too much of an advantage over the other when it comes to accessing apps like Netflix, Hulu, and of course Apple TV+.
Another similarity between these two is the base storage option, coming in at 32GB of onboard storage. As is the case with almost all of Apple’s products, this cannot be expanded, so if you’re looking at the Apple TV HD, you’ll be stuck with the 32GB of storage. Meanwhile, there is a higher-end version of the TV 4K available which provides 64GB of onboard storage.
It’s here that we begin to see the differences between the 4K and HD variants, outside of the name. Under the hood, Apple has equipped the 4K version with the A10X Fusion chipset, while the A8 is chugging along in the TV HD. For reference, the Apple TV HD was released all the way back in 2015, while the TV 4K launched in 2017, which is why these processors seem a bit outdated compared to their iOS and iPad counterparts.
We’ve skirted around it to a certain respect, but the biggest difference between these two streaming boxes is right in the name. The Apple TV 4K is not only able to stream 4K content, but it also has the benefit of featuring HDR10. This provides more realistic colors, along with much greater detail. Plus, the TV 4K has the added benefit of being Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified, which was quite a feat at debut considering this was the first streaming device to be awarded this double certification.
Apple’s A10X Fusion chipset has proven more than capable for gaming on the Apple TV, even though it’s just about four years old. Pair up your favorite controller to the Apple TV, and either go through the ever-growing Apple Arcade library or just download some games from the App Store for the big screen. The A8 found in the TV HD is just okay, but you will end up experiencing some stutters, and newer games won’t work very well at all on this six-year-old chipset.
Don’t forget that the newest Roku devices now carry Apple TV, as well as support for AirPlay streaming and Homekit integrations. We’d sooner recommend Apple’s native platform for the best interoperability with all of your iOS and MacOS products and features like gaming, but Roku is a popular cost-effective alternative with streaming apps as far as the eye can see.
If it’s 2021 and you’ve been holding onto your third-generation Apple TV, then we commend you. This hardware is still hanging on by a thread, but we are seeing more apps and developers move away from supporting this streaming device. The biggest of which is CBS All Access which confirmed that the app will cease to be compatible with the Apple TV 3rd generation starting on March 4th.
This is when CBS All Access will be rebranded and will transition into Paramount+. Streaming services are cropping up by the day, and CBS is just the latest to update to something newer with its vast library of TV shows and other content. But CBS All Access is not the first (nor last) app to drop support for Apple’s older hardware.
Before CBS made the announcement, YouTube announced that its app would no longer be supported on the third-generation Apple TV. Instead of leaving an older version of the app around, the company suggested that users take advantage of AirPlay if they wanted to continue watching YouTube videos on the third-generation Apple TV. It’s a sore pain point of using hardware that’s now nine years old.
SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – JUNE 03: Apple CEO Tim Cook delivers the keynote address during the 2019 Apple Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) at the San Jose Convention Center on June 03, 2019 in San Jose, California. The WWDC runs through June 7. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
It’s been almost four years since the Apple TV 4K was announced, which marked a two-year cycle since the Apple TV HD was released. There have been rumors galore about when or if a new Apple TV would be on the way. In fact, when Apple TV+ launched, many expected some new hardware to be made available alongside the new streaming service, but the day came and went with nothing.
More recent rumors suggest that Apple is looking to completely revamp the Apple TV with an all-new remote control, along with a much faster processor and more storage. There have been mentions of new hardware in iOS going back to January of last year, but we still have yet to see any official announcement from the likes of Apple.
As for when we could see this all-new Apple TV, it’s still hard to say. Rumors have suggested sometime over the course of 2021, but we aren’t any closer to a solid release date than before. What we do know is that Apple is looking to not only make the new Apple TV more gamer-friendly, but it will also feature the Apple U1 chip.
For the unaware, the “U” in “U1” stands for ultra-wideband, a new wireless technology that allows for far better near-field location tracking than traditional triangulation-based solutions are capable of. This is the same processor found in all iPhone 11 and iPhone 12 models, along with the Apple Watch Series 6 and HomePod Mini. The U1 chip is similar to that of Bluetooth Low Energy, in that it doesn’t require much power. But the magic of the U1 is that it allows for features like Handoff between your iPhone and HomePod Mini, where you can place your iPhone near the edge, and whatever music is playing will instantly transfer. It’s a safe bet that, if included on the next Apple Tv, the U1 chip will offer similar benefits for things like device pairing and AirPlay.
Whenever the new Apple TV is released, it’s going to be the biggest overhaul that we’ve seen since the first generation Apple TV was introduced. We also wouldn’t be surprised if it replaces both the TV 4K and TV HD options, but only time will tell.