If you happen to be considering buying 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 Apple TV 4K version of 2021 corresponds to the sixth generation, whose purchase can be reserved 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 de 32 GB a 199 €
- Apple TV 4K 2021 de 64 GB a 219 €
To which the previous version joins
- Apple TV HD de 32 GB a 159 €
Although it is true that you will no longer be able to buy the old Apple TV 4K model from 2017, it is likely that you will still find it for sale in some places ecommerce and local shops. Pay attention to know what model it is and if the price has a reduction.
With this in mind, if you happen to see a discount of just over € 20, it is very likely that the previous generation is not worth buying. To understand it better, let’s see what are the key differences between generations.
Within the aesthetic section, nothing has changed with Apple TV, something that has happened in other products as we have seen in the new iMac de Apple with M1 chip. The chassis remains the same in a square format with dimensions of 98 x 98 x 35 mm high and 425 grams of weight.
The ports do not suffer any variation either, keeping the power, HDMI and Ethernet connectors on the back of the unit. The HDMI port in the newer version is type 2.1 instead of 2.0 in the 2017 model, but that’s about it.
Something that has undergone quite a significant redesign is the remote control that acts as a remote control. The 2017 version has been heavily criticized in the past for having a touch surface that has proven to be quite delicate.
This has been removed in the new version by replacing it with a tap-enabled click panel that surrounds the circular select button on the top of the remote.
Somehow the new clickpad Touch allows you to navigate quickly and accurately with the ability to scroll through the extensive lists of Apple Music and other applications.
The keypad has also been revised, with the basic layout of Menu, Home, Siri, Play / Pause, and control volume replaced by a more functional and intuitive layout.
We now have a dedicated power button located in the upper corner of the controller, as well as a button that invokes 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 that was based on Bluetooth 4.0, allowing, among other advantages, to handle higher distance ranges. You can also control your television via IR or CEC, a function that the old one did not offer.
At this point, it should be noted that you will not have to buy the new Apple TV 4K to get this new remote control. Apple still sells the 2015 Apple TV HD remote, so you can also purchase it separately.
We offer you a practical article on how to use iPhone as a remote control for your Apple TV.
Features and specs
Beyond the points covered so far, the specification sheet is very similar for the rest of the Apple TV 4K units, although with key differences that we will clarify below.
In addition to the remote control, 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 features an A12 Bionic chip that also appeared on the iPhone XS, iPhone XR, iPad Mini (2019), iPad Air (2019), as well as the iPad of 2020.
To be fair, the A10X was more than enough for the sorts of tasks required by a 4K Apple TV, so there isn’t much of an advantage to moving to the faster chip, but it does mean the 2021 model is ready for years to come. .
Plus, if you’re running Apple Arcade, the added power will ensure games run smoothly on Apple TV 4K. However, those who thought that Apple would turn the Apple TV into a video game console to compete with the Switch and Xbox will be disappointed.
High frame rate
The HDMI port, as we already mentioned, is updated from 2.0 to 2.1, which brings with it support for 4K video at a higher fps rate. When paired with the A12 Bionic, this results in the new model being able to deliver 4K HDR video at 60fps.
In addition to this, iPhone 12 users can stream Dolby Vision 4K video (again at 60fps) directly to Apple TV 4K (2021) via AirPlay.
Naturally, you will need to use a television that can display all of this, but if you do, we are sure that everything will reproduce perfectly. Sound remains the same on both, with Dolby Atmos available via HDMI and AirPlay for wireless speakers.
If you don’t mind 4K, Apple still sells the Apple TV HD (4th generation), which costs € 159 for the 32GB model that has been revamped to include the new and improved remote control, but no new features.
It’s a nice savings, but the unit is getting pretty dated in terms of specs as it has an A8 chip inside, so you might be saving some money, but it won’t be a future-proof purchase.
Wi-Fi 6 and Thread connectivity
The newer model benefits from Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) over Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) from the 2017 release. You will need to have 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-based networking standard that is also included in the HomePod mini.
It means that compatible HomeKit devices can connect via Thread instead of relying on Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, which should offer a more stable connection. It should also mean we’re one step closer to Apple TV being a smart home hub.
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 have to use the Apple TV application, point the iPhone at the screen and adjust the tones to obtain the best video quality.
In addition, this new function is not reserved only for the new Apple TV, since you can use it with both the Apple TV 4K models, and with the 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 way 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+As long as you also have an Apple Watch that supports the app.
Obviously with the newer A12 Bionic processor, the 2021 model is destined to outlast its predecessor when it comes to supporting upcoming versions of tvOS, but for the moment they both offer pretty much the same user experience.
If you already have the Apple TV 4K 2017, then there is not much that can encourage you to spend the € 200 that the new model costs to benefit from small subtle improvements.
Well 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 will get the same performance as the previous model.
If you are looking for a new Apple TV, then the 2021 4K model is the one to buy. The old HD model has aged, and the spec sheet becomes very basic when you see the small price savings it represents compared to buying the new option (just € 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 that.
Now there are many compatible devices that are much cheaper and several TVs that have the Apple TV app built in. Check out our article on which TVs are compatible with the Apple TV app and AirPlay.
- Procesador A12 Bionic
- 32GB / 64GB storage
- HDMI 2.14
- 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 con MIMO
- simultaneous dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz)
- Gigabit Ethernet
- Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology
- receptor IR
- Built-in power supply
- H.264 / HEVC SDR video up to 2160p, 60fps, Main / Main Profile 10
- HEVC Dolby Vision (Profile 5) / HDR10 (Main Profile 10) up to 2160p, 60fps
- 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 per 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), AAC file formats protected (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)