Mobile Phones

Apple TV 4k (3rd generation) vs Apple TV 4K (2nd generation): Should you upgrade?

Apple upgraded the 2021, 2nd generation Apple TV 4K device with the new Apple TV 4K, 3rd generation. The new streaming box was announced by Apple in a press release, and it offers an iterative upgrade over the last generation. The new Apple TV 4K 3rd Generation is now powered by the new Apple A15 Bionic chipset, providing a faster performance for playback and playing games, and it also supports HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. The box also runs the latest version of tvOS 16, and the Siri Remote is now equipped with a USB-C port.

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Apple offers the new Apple TV 4K 3rd Generation device in two options; one with 64GB of storage and Wi-Fi only, and another with 128GB of storage and Wi-Fi and Ethernet. We’ll break down the full specifications below, where we’ll also compare key specifications to the previous 2nd generation unveiled in 2021.


Price & Availability

Apple announced the new Apple TV 3rd generation devices in a press release on October 18, 2022. The new Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi model with 64GB of storage starts at $129, while the one with an Ethernet port and 128GB storage will retail from $149. New users will remain eligible to claim 3 months of Apple TV+ at no extra cost.

The new 3rd generation Apple TV 4K streaming box with the new Siri Remote will be available from Friday, November 4, 2022.

Apple TV 4K (2021)

AppleTV offers easy access to your favorite streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. It has an excellent user interface and support for Dolby Atmos.

Technical Specifications

Specifications Apple TV 4K (3rd Generation, 2022) Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation, 2021)
Dimensions (H x W x D) Apple TV:

  • 31mm x 93mm x 93mm
  • Weight (Wi-Fi): 208g
  • Weight (Wi-Fi + Ethernet): 214g

Siri Remote:

  • (H x W x D) 136mm x 35mm x 9.25mm
  • Weight: 66g
Apple TV:

  • 31mm x 98mm x 98mm
  • Weight: 425g

Siri Remote:

  • (H x W x D) 136mm x 35mm x 9.25mm
  • Weight: 63g
Capacity
  • 64GB (Wi-Fi)
  • 128GB (Wi-Fi + Ethernet)
(The two models featured Wi-Fi and Ethernet ports on both storage tiers)
Processor Apple A15 Bionic Apple A12 Bionic
Connectivity Wi-Fi:

  • HDMI 2.1
  • Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IR
  • Power supply

Wi-Fi + Ethernet:

  • HDMI 2.1
  • Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IR
  • Power supply
  • Thread networking support
  • Gigabit Ethernet
Wi-Fi + Ethernet:

  • HDMI 2.1
  • Wi-Fi 6 with 2×2 MIMO
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IR
  • Power supply
  • Gigabit Ethernet
Siri Remote
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IR transmitter
  • USB-C
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • IR transmitter
  • Lightning port
Video Formats
  • SDR video with AVC/HEVC (Main/Main 10 profile) up to 2160p, 60 fps
  • Dolby Vision (Profile 5) up to 2160p, 60 fps
  • HDR10+/HDR10/HLG with HEVC (Main 10 Profile) up to 2160p, 60 fps
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, Simple profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • H.264/HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60 fps, Main/Main 10 profile
  • HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5)/HDR10 (Main 10 profile)/HLG up to 2160p, 60 fps
  • H.264 Baseline Profile level 3.0 or lower with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps per channel, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
  • MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps, 640 by 480 pixels, 30 fps, Simple profile with AAC-LC audio up to 160 Kbps, 48kHz, stereo audio in .m4v, .mp4, and .mov file formats
Audio Formats HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV; AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound), and Dolby Atmos HE-AAC (V1), AAC (up to 320 Kbps), protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV; AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound), and Dolby Atmos
Photo Formats HEIF, JPEG, GIF, TIFF HEIF, JPEG, GIF, TIFF
What’s in the box:
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Siri Remote
  • Power Cord
  • Documentation
  • Apple TV 4K
  • Siri Remote
  • Power Cord
  • Lightning to USB cable
  • Documentation

Design

The new 2022 Apple TV 4K model looks exactly the same as the previous generation, however, Apple appears to have altered the dimensions ever so slightly. As a result of the recent changes, the new Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) is slightly smaller and weighs nearly half as much as its predecessor at 214 grams. The 2nd generation weighed 425 grams and was 5mm wider and deeper.

When it comes to the Siri Remote, it’s the same exact remote, and there are no additional features or hardware-related changes, except the port, which has been swapped from lightning to a more modern USB-C port. Perhaps the only downside about this new design for the remote is that Apple no longer bundles a charging cable with new purchases. Users will have to spend extra to buy any additional cables to be able to charge their remotes, assuming they don’t already have one lying around at their homes.

Performance

The new Apple TV 4K 2022 device is powered by the new Apple A15 Bionic chipset, the same SoC that powers the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus smartphones. The new chip is “more powerful, entertaining, and affordable than ever, and offering impressive cinematic quality. Driven by the A15 Bionic chip that delivers faster performance and more fluid gameplay, the new Apple TV 4K features endless entertainment options for everyone to enjoy on the biggest screen in the home. HDR10+ support joins Dolby Vision on Apple TV 4K, so users can watch their favorite movies and TV shows in the best quality possible across more TVs”, says Apple in the press release.

The TV runs tvOS 16 by default, supports more video formats, and can run media back more effortlessly. The new device also comes with two different models, including a 64GB models with Wi-Fi only, and another with 128GB of storage with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity.

Apple also claims that the new Apple TV 4K device is up to 50% faster than the previous generation, making the experience more responsive, yielding faster navigation and snappier user interface animations. The graphics department is also said to be 30% faster than the last generation, resulting in a smoother gameplay experience. The new TV also supports HDR10+ content, in addition to Dolby Vision, providing a home theater experience with immersive audio.

Unsurprisingly, the latter will cost $20 more, which is a small jump, especially when you factor in the additional storage – that being said, it’s still significantly more expensive when compared to competing devices, such as Google TV or Amazon’s Fire TV stick devices.

Should you upgrade?

If you have already purchased a lot of content using tvOS and the Apple ecosystem, then it might be time to buy the new Apple TV 4K device. It’s excellent for watching movies at home and provides the best integration and overall service, especially if you’re already in the ecosystem.

However, if you already have an older Apple TV device or use a competitor, there might not be a lot of new features and hardware improvements to justify spending $129 or $149 on a new device. If you have the Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation, 2021), then we would likely recommend sticking with it, as it still provides an excellent performance today. The USB-C and HDR10+ content might not be enough of a reason to spend so much money on a new device, unless you have the budget and a compatible display to see the enhancements.

Apple TV 4K (2021)

AppleTV offers easy access to your favorite streaming platforms such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Disney+, and HBO Max. It has an excellent user interface and support for Dolby Atmos.

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