Apple TV 4K 2022: A Buyer's Guide for Upgraders

The Apple TV may not be the most obvious Apple device to consider upgrading – but with a series of minor upgrades in recent years, when should you consider buying a new one?

Apple TV 2022 Feature Blue
In terms of its set-top box offerings, Apple now only sells the ‌Apple TV‌ 4K (third-generation). The company launched its first modern ‌Apple TV‌ that runs tvOS, the ‌Apple TV‌ HD, in 2015. Since then, it has launched three new versions, each adding several new features and improvements over its predecessor, with some models offering more significant upgrades than others.

With a lower, $129 starting price and only one model year to choose from, new ‌Apple TV‌ buyers no longer face the same conundrum as in recent years when Apple offered multiple Apple TVs from different generations. Even so, first-time ‌Apple TV‌ customers may be able to obtain an older model second-hand or from a third-party retailer, so it will be important to weigh up exactly what was added with each new model.

See the detailed breakdown below for each new feature, change, and improvement that was added with each ‌Apple TV‌ model compared to its direct predecessor:

Apple TV HD (2015)

  • Apple A8 chip (1.5 GHz, 2-core)
  • 2GB memory
  • "tv" logo
  • Height of 1.4 inches
  • Weight of 425 grams
  • Support for up to 1080p resolution
  • Support for SDR
  • Support for audio output with 7.1 surround sound channels
  • HDMI 1.4 port
  • 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • 32GB or 64GB of storage
  • First-generation Siri Remote included

Apple TV 4K (First-Generation, 2017)

  • A10X Fusion chip (2.38 GHz, 6-core)
  • 3GB memory, 50 percent more
  • Active cooling with internal fan
  • Support for up to 2160p (4K) resolution
  • Support for SDR, HDR10, and Dolby Vision
  • Support for audio output with 7.1.4 surround sound channels with Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI 2.0a port
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • First-generation ‌Siri‌ Remote (white ring around Menu button) included

Apple TV 4K (Second-Generation, 2021)

  • A12 Bionic chip (2.49 GHz, 6-core)
  • Support for high-framerate HDR content up to 60 fps
  • ARC and eARC support
  • HDMI 2.1 port
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Thread support
  • Second-generation ‌Siri‌ Remote (Lightning charging port) included, featuring complete redesign with circular clickpad

Apple TV 4K (Third-Generation, 2022)

  • A15 Bionic chip (3.23 GHz, 6-core), 50 percent faster CPU performance and 30 percent faster GPU performance
  • 4GB memory, 33 percent more
  • Passive cooling with fanless design
  • "" logo replaces "tv" logo
  • Height of 1.2 inches
  • Weight of 208/214 grams, 50 percent reduction
  • Support for HDR10+
  • Gigabit Ethernet port available with 128GB model only
  • Thread support available with 128GB model only
  • 64GB or 128GB storage
  • Second-generation ‌Siri‌ Remote (USB-C charging port) included

Unlike many other Apple devices, the ‌Apple TV‌ offers a lot of specific technical features that not all users can take advantage of due to reliance on the specifications of other connected hardware like TVs and speakers. As such, this should be the main criteria you use to determine if you need to upgrade to a new ‌Apple TV‌.

In other words, if you do not see features like high-framerate content, improved HDMI port specifications, more advanced HDR formats, and Thread support as worthwhile upgrades, it is unlikely that it will be worth buying a new model. Keen home cinema enthusiasts, audiophiles, and gamers that can use features like Dolby Atmos support, Gigabit Ethernet, and ARC and eARC support stand to benefit more from upgrading.

If you do not have a 4K HDR TV, it is probably that not much will be gained by upgrading to the latest model, but it may still be worth it if you can take advantage of better performance and more storage. If you have the first-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K, it will only be worth upgrading if you want features like high framerate HDR, Thread support, and more power for gaming.

Unless you specifically want HDR10+ support or 128GB of storage, there is little reason to upgrade from the second-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K to the third-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K.

It is important to note that the latest version of the ‌Siri‌ Remote, the second-generation model with a USB-C charging port, is available from Apple separately for $59. It works with all of the above ‌Apple TV‌ models, so the ‌Siri‌ Remote should not be a major factor in deciding to upgrade.

Related Roundup: Apple TV
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

Top Rated Comments

Edsel Avatar
5 weeks ago
This article overlooked the genuine 1st generation Apple TV (2007). I still have two of these....

Attachment Image
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
6 weeks ago

My problem with the Apple TV hardware is that there is no audio output jacks. Like how the F are you supposed to connect it to some external speakers?

Seriously don't understand why Apple continues to disregard those users who just want to use this with a TV and set external speakers...

Insane...
I agree that it should at least have one analog AUX jack like the earlier generations did. The one often overlooked benefit of an analog jack is easy compatibility with Zone 2 inputs of most modern receivers. They pretty much NEED analog in to work. Prime use is using AppleTV as a music source to "throw" music to zone 2 or zone 3 speakers elsewhere around a wired home. For example, my Zone 2 is wired to speakers outside on a deck (where self powered speakers would be at higher risk of damage by rain/humidity and don't have easy access to electrical sockets).

As is though, HDMI carries the audio:

* HDMI out into a Receiver/Amplifier. Connect any speakers to Receiver/Amplifier. OR
* HDMI out into HDMI audio extractor (to create analog audio jacks). Connect powered speakers to the appropriate jack. This option should cost below about $50 MAX if you have the powered speakers. OR
* HDMI out into HDMI in on some Soundbars. Soundbar HDMI out to HDMI IN on TV. Soundbar then extracts the audio to play and forwards the video to the TV screen. OR
* HDMI out into HDMI in on most TVs. HDMI ARC on TV OUT to HDMI in on Soundbar. TV extracts video for screen and passes through the audio to the soundbar. OR
* HDMI out into HDMI in on most TVs. Optical out of TV to optical in on Soundbar. TV extracts video for screen and passes through audio to the soundbar. This usually results in Stereo only audio but a few TVs will pass through surround sound too. I consider this the least desirable option in this list myself, as all of the other options will likely yield better sound and/or fuller sound mostly due to pass through of the fuller signal vs/ chopping it down to stereo only as this option often does.

Personally, I go with the Receiver option myself. The flexibility that comes with a Receiver makes it the central "hub" of a great home theater even if starting one from scratch with only a speaker or two at first.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kiranmk2 Avatar
6 weeks ago

('https://www.macrumors.com/guide/apple-tv-buyers-guide-for-upgraders/')
Apple TV 4K (Second-Generation, 2021)


* A12 Bionic chip (2.49 GHz, 6-core)
* Support for high-framerate HDR content up to 60 fps
* ARC and eARC support
* [B]HDMI 2.1 port[/B]
* Wi-Fi 6
* Bluetooth 5.0
* Thread support
* Second-generation Siri Remote (Lightning charging port) included, featuring complete redesign with circular clickpad


The HDMI 2.1 port information is wrong. No AppleTV has what most people would describe as and HDMI 2.1 port. Instead, the Apple TV 4k (2021, 2022) has one HDMI 2.1 feature (which is eARC). The port itself is still an 18 Gbps port which supports a max 4k@60 Hz. The rules around marketing HDMI state that version numbers can only be used in marketing regarding features, not the port/bandwidth - this is why the specifications have a footnote that clarifies that eARC is the HDMI 2.1 feature.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MarkAtl Avatar
6 weeks ago

Smart TVs already have most of these capabilities right? ?
They do, until the apps age out. I wish I could buy a great dumb OLED panel to use with my ATV.

I have many ATVs, usually upgrading my main ones and the moving the older one to the kids or guest room. But as I am now covered with 4K models I don’t see the need to upgrade this cycle.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
HVDynamo Avatar
6 weeks ago

This is one product where I do not get the need to upgrade. If you have apple tv 4K, then what each new version will add?
I have the first gen 4K model. I'm only upgrading it because I kind of want one in the bedroom too now. So the new one will go in the Theater room and my first gen 4K model will move to the bedroom. If it wasn't for that I would not see any reason to upgrade either.
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Mitthrawnuruodo Avatar
6 weeks ago
Upgraded from an old ATV HD to the 4K (2021) after getting an LG 65" CX OLED last year.

Had to wait for a couple of weeks where I tried out the old ATV (the TV was actually upscaling 1080 very well), and also tried using the built in apps from the "smart" TV, but when the new 4K was released I ordered it immediately.

Not gonna upgrade it this year though (unless it - touch wood - breaks down).
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iPad 9 vs 10 Feature 1

iPad 9 vs. iPad 10 Buyer's Guide: Is the $120 Difference Worth It?

Friday October 21, 2022 8:57 am PDT by
The 10th-generation iPad is now available for a starting price of $449, but its predecessor, the ninth-generation iPad, remains available from Apple for the same $329 starting price. The 64GB and 256GB ninth-generation iPad models continue to be available for $329 and $479, respectively. They are still offered in the same Silver and Space Gray color options, meaning that there has been no...
iPad Pro 2021 vs 2022 Feature

iPad Pro 2021 vs. iPad Pro 2022 Buyer's Guide: Should You Upgrade?

Wednesday October 19, 2022 7:29 am PDT by
The new iPad Pro has now replaced the previous model from 2021 in Apple's tablet lineup, but how different are the two successive iPad Pro generations? In April 2021, Apple unveiled new iPad Pro models, adding the M1 chip, a Thunderbolt port, 8GB or 16GB of RAM, up to 2TB of storage, an upgraded front-facing camera with Center Stage, Smart HDR 3, and extended dynamic range video, as well as...
iPad 10 vs Air Feature

iPad 10 vs. iPad Air Buyer's Guide: Is the $150 Difference Worth It?

Thursday October 20, 2022 8:48 am PDT by
With the same design, display size, camera systems, and more, the entry-level iPad is now closer than ever to the iPad Air. With just $150 between the two devices, exactly how different are they and which should you buy? Now starting at $449, the 10th-generation iPad is more expensive than its predecessor, which remains on sale for the same $329 starting price. This means that the...
iphone se 1

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 12 Buyer's Guide: Comparing Some of Apple's Cheapest iPhones

Wednesday October 5, 2022 2:21 am PDT by
The third-generation iPhone SE and the iPhone 12 are now among Apple's lowest-cost iPhone options, starting at $429 and $599 respectively. Apple released the iPhone 12 in late 2020, and has bumped it down in price since then to make it more accessible as new iPhone models have been released. On the other hand, the third-generation iPhone SE launched in early 2022, refreshing the most affordable...
iphone 12 colors lineup truncated feature

iPhone 12 vs. iPhone 13 Mini Buyer's Guide: Comparing Apple's Two $599 iPhones

Thursday October 6, 2022 7:00 am PDT by
In 2021, Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 as the successor to the popular iPhone 12, with improved rear cameras, longer battery life, the A15 Bionic chip, and more. Despite being from different annual generations, both the iPhone 12 and the iPhone 13 mini are still available from Apple now for a price of $599, leading many customers to consider which device they should buy. At $599, both devices ...
iphone se 2

iPhone SE vs. iPhone 13 Mini Buyer's Guide

Friday October 7, 2022 3:05 am PDT by
The third-generation iPhone SE and the iPhone 13 mini are Apple's smallest iPhone options, starting at $429 and $599 respectively. Apple released the iPhone 13 mini in late 2021, and has bumped it down in price since then to make it more accessible as new iPhone models have been released. On the other hand, the third-generation iPhone SE launched in early 2022, refreshing the most affordable...
iPad Pro 2022 vs Air Feature

2022 M1 iPad Air vs. M2 iPad Pro Buyer's Guide

Friday October 28, 2022 8:13 am PDT by
Apple's latest iPad Air and iPad Pro models feature similar designs, Liquid Retina displays, M-series chips, 5G connectivity, and much more in common – so which should you buy? The introduction of the previous, fourth-generation iPad Air in September 2020 brought the device much closer to the iPad Pro in terms of design, and with the most recent model, the iPad Air gained the same M1 chip as ...
iPhone 13 vs iPhone 14 Feature

iPhone 13 vs. iPhone 14 Buyer's Guide: Should You Upgrade?

Friday September 9, 2022 3:45 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 is among Apple's latest iPhones and follows last year's iPhone 13, but how different are the two successive iPhone generations? In 2021, Apple unveiled the iPhone 13 as the successor to the popular iPhone 12, with improved rear cameras, longer battery life, the A15 Bionic chip, and more. As devices that are more affordable than the "Pro" models, but more full-featured than the...

Popular Stories

iOS 16

Apple Releases iOS 16.1.2 With Carrier Improvements and Crash Detection Optimizations

Wednesday November 30, 2022 10:09 am PST by
Apple today released iOS 16.1.2, another minor bug fix update that comes one week after the release of iOS 16.1.1 and three weeks after the launch of iOS 16.1, an update that added support for iCloud Shared Photo Library, Matter, Live Activities, and more. The iOS 16.1.2 update can be downloaded on eligible iPhones over-the-air by going to Settings > General > Software Update. According...
Emergency SOS via Satellite iPhone YT

Apple's iPhone 14 Emergency SOS via Satellite Feature Saves Stranded Man in Alaska

Thursday December 1, 2022 4:37 pm PST by
With the launch of iOS 16.1, Apple rolled out a Emergency SOS via Satellite, which is designed to allow iPhone 14 owners to contact emergency services using satellite connectivity when no cellular or WiFi connection is available. The feature was put to the test in Alaska today, when a man became stranded in a rural area. In the early hours of the morning on December 1, Alaska State Troopers ...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
applefifthavenue

Man Robbed After Buying 300 iPhones From Apple Fifth Avenue

Tuesday November 29, 2022 11:54 am PST by
An unnamed 27-year-old man who purchased 300 iPhones from Apple Fifth Avenue on Monday morning was robbed shortly after leaving the store, according to 1010Wins Radio in New York. He was carrying 300 iPhone 13s in three bags and walking to his car at 1:45 a.m. when another car pulled up next to him. Two men jumped out and demanded that he hand over the bags. Not wanting to hand over 300...
14 vs 16 inch mbp m2 pro and max feature 1

'M2 Max' Geekbench Scores Leak Online, Revealing Rumored Specs and Performance

Wednesday November 30, 2022 2:39 am PST by
Geekbench scores allegedly for the upcoming "M2 Max" chip have surfaced online, offering a closer look at the performance levels and specific details of the forthcoming Apple silicon processor. The Geekbench results, first spotted on Twitter, are for a Mac configuration of with the M2 Max chip, a 12-core CPU, and 96GB of memory. The Mac listed has an identifier "Mac14,6," which could be...
iPad 10 Battery Pull Tabs

iPad 10 Teardown Reveals Why Device Isn't Compatible With Apple Pencil 2

Thursday December 1, 2022 10:48 am PST by
Do-it-yourself repair website iFixit today shared a video teardown of Apple's new 10th-generation iPad, providing a closer look inside the tablet and revealing why the device lacks support for the second-generation Apple Pencil. The teardown reveals the internal layout of the iPad, including its two-cell 7,606 mAh battery, logic board with the A14 Bionic chip, and more. As suspected, the...
Apple Park View

Elon Musk Meets With Apple CEO Tim Cook Amid Claims of Twitter App Store Dispute [Updated]

Wednesday November 30, 2022 12:43 pm PST by
Twitter CEO Elon Musk today met with Apple CEO Tim Cook at the Apple Park campus in Cupertino, California, according to a tweet shared by Musk this afternoon. Musk thanked Cook for taking him around Apple's headquarters, with no mention of what the two might have discussed. The meeting comes just after Musk on Monday claimed that Apple has "mostly stopped" offering ads on Twitter, and that...
eufy camera

Anker's Eufy Cameras Caught Uploading Content to the Cloud Without User Consent [Updated]

Tuesday November 29, 2022 1:01 pm PST by
Anker's popular Eufy-branded security cameras appear to be sending some data to the cloud, even when cloud storage is disabled and local only storage settings are turned on. The information comes from security consultant Paul Moore, who last week published a video outlining the issue. According to Moore, he purchased a Eufy Doorbell Dual, which was meant to be a device that stored video...
app store awards 2021

Apple Announces 2022 App Store Award Winners, Highlighting Best Apps of the Year

Tuesday November 29, 2022 3:10 am PST by
Apple today announced its 2022 App Store Award winners, highlighting the 16 best apps and games selected by Apple's global App Store editorial team. The top apps were chosen by Apple for their quality, innovative technology, creative design, positive cultural impact, and ability to deliver "exceptional experiences." Apple CEO Tim Cook said: This year's App Store Award winners reimagined...
iOS 16

Apple Still Has These 5 Things to Release Heading Into 2023

Thursday December 1, 2022 7:12 am PST by
The calendar has turned to December and that means Apple has only one month left to fulfill its promises of releasing an Apple Music Classical app and expanding its self-service repair program to Europe before the end of 2022. Delays are always possible, of course, so the plans could be pushed back to 2023. In any case, we have put together a list of five things that Apple still has to release...