If it turns out that you are planning to buy the new Apple TV, you’ve come to the right place. We explain what are the main novelties compared to the previous generation and in which cases it is worth buying the new model.
The 2021 Apple TV 4K version is the sixth generation, the purchase of which can be booked from April 30 to receive the first units from the second half of May, according to Apple.
You will see that there are two different models to choose from:
- Apple TV 4K 2021 32 GB at 199 $
- Apple TV 4K 2021 64 GB at $ 219
To which the previous version joins
- Apple TV HD 32 GB at 159 $
While it is true that you will no longer be able to purchase the older Apple TV 4K model from 2017, it is likely that you will still find it for sale in some places. e-commerce and local stores. Pay attention to know which model it is and if the price has a discount.
With that in mind, if you see a cut of just over $ 20, the previous generation is very likely not worth buying. To better understand it, let’s see what are the main differences between the generations.
In the aesthetic section, nothing has changed with the Apple TV, which has happened in other products as we have seen in the new Apple iMac with M1 chip. The chassis remains the same in a square format with dimensions of 98 x 98 x 35 mm in height and 425 grams in weight.
The ports are also unchanged, keeping the power, HDMI, and Ethernet connectors on the back of the unit. The HDMI port in the new version is 2.1 type instead of 2.0 in the 2017 model, but that’s about it.
The remote control
Something that has undergone a pretty big overhaul is the remote that acts as a remote. The 2017 version has been heavily criticized in the past for having a tactile surface which has proven to be quite delicate.
This has been removed in the new version by being replaced with a tap-activated click panel that surrounds the circular select button on the top of the remote.
Somehow the new clickpad Touch lets you navigate quickly and precisely with the ability to scroll through the extensive lists of Apple Music and other apps.
The keyboard has also been revised, with the basic layout of Menu, Home, Siri, Play / Pause and volume control replaced with a more functional and intuitive layout.
We now have a dedicated power button located at the top corner of the controller, as well as a button that summons Siri located on the side. The mute button is a nice addition, as well as the back button for easier menu navigation.
Internally, the new remote control works with Bluetooth 5.0 compared to the 2017 edition which was based on Bluetooth 4.0, allowing, among other advantages, to manage higher distances. You can also control your TV via IR or CEC, a feature the old didn’t offer.
At this point, it should be noted that you won’t have to buy the new Apple TV 4K to get this new remote. Apple still sells the 2015 Apple TV HD Remote, so you can purchase it separately.
We offer you a practical article on how to use iPhone as a remote control for your Apple TV.
Features and specifications
Beyond the points covered so far, the datasheet is very similar for the rest of the Apple TV 4K units, albeit with some key differences which we will clarify below.
In addition to the remote, Apple has made major updates to the specifications of the new Apple TV 4K.
Where the older 4K model came with an A10X processor (the same as the 2017 iPad Pro), the new generation has an A12 Bionic chip which has also appeared in the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, l ‘iPad Mini (2019), iPad Air (2019)), as well as the iPad of 2020.
In all fairness, the A10X was more than adequate for the types of tasks required by an Apple TV 4K, so there isn’t a big advantage in upgrading to the faster chip, but it does mean the 2021 model is ready to go. for the coming years.
Also, if you are using Apple Arcade, the extra power will ensure that games run smoothly on Apple TV 4K. However, those who thought Apple would turn the Apple TV into a video game console to compete with the Switch and Xbox will be disappointed.
High frame rate per second
The HDMI port, as we mentioned before, is updated from 2.0 to 2.1 which brings support for 4K video at a higher fps rate. When paired with the A12 Bionic, this allows the new model to deliver 4K HDR video at 60 fps.
On top of that, iPhone 12 users can stream Dolby Vision 4K videos (still at 60 fps) directly to Apple TV 4K (2021) via AirPlay.
Naturally, you’ll need to use a TV that can display all of this, but if you do, we’re sure it will all play out just fine. Sound remains the same on both, with Dolby Atmos available via HDMI and AirPlay for wireless speakers.
If you don’t mind, Apple is still selling the Apple TV HD (4th gen), which costs $ 159 for the 32GB model which has been redesigned to include the new improved remote, but no new features.
It’s a nice economy, but the unit is getting pretty dated in terms of specs as it contains an A8 chip, so you might save some money, but it won’t be a future-proof purchase.
Wi-Fi 6 and Thread connectivity
The new model benefits from Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) over Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) from version 2017. You will need a Wi-Fi 6 compatible router to take advantage of the faster speeds.
There is also support for Thread according to the specifications of the new model. Thread is a new IP-based smart home mesh networking standard that’s also included in the HomePod mini.
This means that compatible HomeKit devices can connect through Thread instead of relying on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which should provide a more stable connection. It should also mean that we are one step closer to Apple TV as a hub for the smart home.
A cool new feature is the ability to use the iPhone’s camera to calibrate the color balance of the new Apple TV 4K. You just need to use the Apple TV app, point iPhone at the screen, and adjust the tones for the best video quality.
Moreover, this new function is not reserved only for the new Apple TV, since you can use it both with Apple TV 4K models and with Apple TV HD. We have an article where we explain all the details of how to calibrate your TV using iPhone and Apple TV.
As you may know, tvOS works the same on both systems, allowing you to stream content from a wide variety of services including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV +, iPlayer, and many more. .
You can also use both models with Apple Fitness +, provided you also have an Apple Watch that supports the app.
Obviously, with the new A12 Bionic processor, the 2021 model is destined to outlast its predecessor when it comes to supporting future versions of tvOS, but at the moment they both offer roughly the same user experience.
If you already own the 2017 Apple TV 4K, then there’s not much that could get you to spend the $ 200 the new model costs for some subtle little upgrades.
It’s true that you get 4K HDR video at 60fps, a faster processor, and Wi-Fi 6, but unless you have TVs and a router that can handle these updates, you’ll get them. same performance as the previous model.
If you are looking for a new Apple TV, the 2021 4K model is the one for you. The old HD model has aged, and the technical sheet becomes very basic when we see the small savings it represents compared to the purchase of the new option (only 50 $).
If all you want is a device to stream Apple TV + shows and use AirPlay to stream content from your iPhone or iPad or Mac to your TV screen, you won’t need an Apple TV to do it. .
There are now many much cheaper compatible devices and several TVs with the built-in Apple TV app. Read our article on which TVs are compatible with the Apple TV app and AirPlay.
- A12 Bionic processor
- 32 GB / 64 GB storage
- HDMI 2.14
- 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO
- simultaneous dual band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
- IR receiver
- Integrated power supply
- H.264 / HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60 fps, main / main profile 10
- HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5) / HDR10 (Main Profile 10) up to 2160p, 60fps
- H.264 base profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48 kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and .mov file formats MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, single profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48 kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4 and HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC file formats (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF and WA AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1) and Dolby Atmos
- Remote control (remote control)