Hands-On With the New Apple TV 4K

Apple in October introduced an updated version of the Apple TV 4K, which is available as of today. We picked one up to take a look at the new features and to determine whether it's worth the upgrade for MacRumors readers who already have an ‌Apple TV‌ 4K.

The third-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K looks a lot like the second-generation model, but it is a bit thinner and lighter. It's not so thin that you're going to notice a major difference, but if they're side-by-side, you can tell.

As for feature set, there's a much faster A15 chip that offers up to a 50 percent improvement in CPU performance and up to a 30 percent improvement in GPU performance compared to the A12 chip in the prior model. Whether you'll be able to notice that speed difference depends on what you do on your ‌Apple TV‌.

If you play graphics intensive games, you may see a good deal of improvement, but it should speed up animations, app load times, and more across the tvOS operating system. The updated models also include 4GB RAM instead of 3GB, and base storage starts at 64GB with a 128GB option available as an upgrade.

Apple has also added HDR10+ support, which joins HDR10 and Dolby Vision. So if you have a TV that supports HDR10+, you may want to upgrade. As for the Siri Remote, it's the same, but it does charge over USB-C instead of Lightning now.

So is it worth upgrading? It depends. If you just use your ‌Apple TV‌ 4K for watching shows and the performance is fine, it's probably not worth shelling out extra money. If you can take advantage of the features like HDR10+ or the speed improvements, it's a good upgrade. If you have an older model like the ‌Apple TV‌ HD, it's definitely worth checking out the new model.

There are two variants, and pricing is lower than it has been in recent years. Apple is charging $129 for the 64GB version, and $149 for the 128GB model, which also comes with Thread and a built-in Ethernet port. If you need Ethernet, you should pay the extra $20, and you should also go ahead and get the better model if you have a smart home setup for the Thread integration.

What do you think of the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K? Let us know in the comments below.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Top Rated Comments

MauiPa Avatar
23 months ago
LMAO at all the complainers whining about no USBC cable. Just yesterday they were saying that apple should switch to USBC because they already had plenty of cables. Now, some people aren't happy with using one of the many USBC cables they already have? Weird
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Spotlighter9 Avatar
23 months ago

The 2021 wasn't really even a spec bump increase over the 2017 model. Slightly faster CPU, slightly slower GPU. Same RAM, Storage, etc.
Sure it was...A12 (vs A10x), Thread (vs no Thread), HDMI 2.1 (vs 2.0), WIFI-6 (vs WIFI-5), High Frame Rate (60fps) support, ARC and eARC...and a redesigned Siri Remote for good measure. A tremendous upgrade, IMO.
Score: 13 Votes (Like | Disagree)
GizmoDVD Avatar
23 months ago

I agree only in part that this upgrade is disappointing because I dislike the nickel and dime tactic of breaking out the Ethernet. What used to be included is now charged a premium.

How is it a premium when it's being sold for $30 less than the previous model? Just think differently that APPLE released a lower-cost AppleTV
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Shirasaki Avatar
23 months ago
What’s the appeal for 128GB of storage for a tabletop tv box that mainly used for streaming? Those so-called “graphically intensive game” can’t be more than 20GB in size per game right? Offline viewing? Content can’t be transferred outside of Apple TV so who cares…
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
NightFox Avatar
23 months ago

LMAO at all the complainers whining about no USBC cable. Just yesterday they were saying that apple should switch to USBC because they already had plenty of cables. Now, some people aren't happy with using one of the many USBC cables they already have? Weird
Or maybe it was just two entirely different groups of people?
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Seoras Avatar
23 months ago
Dan, clean your desk man!
I was wiping away at my iMac screen in the top right corner during your video until I realised it was your desk and not my screen! ?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)