Apple TV Overview Updated July 18, 2021

Apple TV

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September 2010 - August 2021

The Apple TV is Apple’s set-top box that runs tvOS. The company currently sells the 2015 Apple TV HD and the 2021 second-generation Apple 4K models. Alongside the two products, Apple also has the Apple TV app, which is available for iOS and Android users and lots of smart TV owners, and Apple TV+, the company’s video streaming service with exclusive original content.

History

The first-generation Apple TV was unveiled in September 2006. The product, which would be called iTV, couldn’t have this name since the British terrestrial broadcast network ITV already held the right to the name in the UK and threatened to take legal action against Apple.

Shipped six months later, the first Apple TV had a 40GB HDD, and a 160GB HDD option was later released.

The second-generation Apple TV was announced in September of 2010 and was the first model to run on a variant of iOS. In a smaller, all-black case, it was one-quarter the size of the original Apple TV. The HDD was replaced by 8GB of internal flash storage, enough for buffering purposes. Also different from the first set-top box, this one was only used for streaming content. It also supported output up to 720p over HDMI only.

The third-generation Apple TV was released almost two years later in March 2012. It included the A5 chip and support for 1080p output. As of 2021, the third-generation set-top box still works with streaming services including Apple TV+, Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.

The fourth generation, or the Apple TV HD, was the biggest revamp to the set-top box in years, and it launched in September 2015. With a brand-new black remote charged via Lightning cable, it introduced the tvOS operating system with an App Store allowing downloads of third-party apps for video, audio, games, and other content. This device includes the A8 processor and support for Dolby Digital Plus.

Two years later, in September of 2017, Apple introduced the fifth-generation Apple TV, or the Apple TV 4K, which supports 2160p output, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and includes the A10X Fusion processor. This model is similar to the fourth-generation model with the only difference being the addition of vents on the base and the removal of the USB-C port.

The sixth-generation Apple TV, or the second-generation Apple TV 4K, was introduced in April of 2021. With a similar design to its predecessor, the main change is the A12 chip and the second-generation Siri Remote.

Specs

Currently, Apple sells the fourth and sixth-generation of its set-top box.

Apple TV HD (fourth-generation)

Launched in 2015, the Apple TV HD uses the A8 chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 1080p and 60 fps. Only available in 32GB storage option, the set-top box uses the second-generation Siri Remote, featuring Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 1.4, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, IR receiver, USB-C for service and support, built-in power supply.

The fourth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on 14.7.

Apple TV 4K (sixth-generation)

Launched in 2021, the second-generation Apple TV 4K uses the A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 2160p and 60 fps, HEVC Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos technologies. Available in 32GB and 64GB storage options, the set-top box uses the second-generation Siri Remote featuring Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 2.1ax, 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO; simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5GHz), Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology, IR receiver, and Built-in power supply.

The sixth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on 14.7.

Second-generation Siri Remote

Alongside the new Apple TV 4K, the company introduced a redesigned Siri Remote. It is made of aluminum and rubber buttons. It has a microphone for Siri, an IR transmitter, a Lightning connector for charging and uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology.

In an interview with Apple Vice President of Product Marketing for Home and Audio Tim Twerdahl, the new remote is inspired by the iPod click wheel:

“Once we came up with this circular design we thought it looked a lot like the iPod quick wheel, so what could do that could really help people with their TV using an interface like that? The scrubbing of the video came as such a natural thing, professional editors often use these jog-style controls, which are quite powerful, and it’s really nice to bring this into people’s living room.“

Although it was rumored, the second-generation Siri Remote doesn’t have a U1 chip to help users find the accessory when it gets lost on the couch. According to Tim Twerdahl, the thicker design of the remote chassis means it won’t get lost in couch cushions as much as the previous generation

You can learn more about the second-generation Siri Remote here.

tvOS 15: what’s coming to the Apple TV

Apple is set to release this fall tvOS 15, the upcoming operating system to the Apple TV HD and 4K (1st and 2nd gen). Here’s everything new with it:

  • SharePlay: Watch movies or shows while on a FaceTime call on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, then add Apple TV to share the viewing experience on the big screen.
  • For All of You: Browse a new row in the Apple TV app to find something that everyone in the house can’t wait to watch.
  • Shared with You: Movies and shows shared through Messages appear in a new row in the Apple TV app.
  • Spatial Audio: Listen with AirPods Pro or AirPods Max for a theater-like experience with sound that surrounds you.
  • Smart AirPods routing: Get an automatic onscreen notification to magically connect your AirPods.
  • HomeKit camera enhancements: View multiple cameras around the house at the same time on your Apple TV.
  • Room-filling stereo sound: Pair two HomePod mini speakers with Apple TV 4K and enjoy rich, balanced sound for everything you watch.

As of now, all public beta testers can try tvOS 15. You can learn more about it here.

Pricing

The Apple TV pricing starts at $149 on the HD model and goes up to $199 on the 4K model with 64GB of storage.

  • 32GB, HD model: $149
  • 32GB, 4K model: $179
  • 64GB, 4K model: $199

Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.

2021 Apple TV 4K release

The new set-top-box launched on May 21. Pre-orders started on April 30. Soon, we’ll publish a review about the product.

Review Apple TV 4K (1st-gen)

In our opinion article about the previous Apple TV, is its simplicity that people love the most:

The Apple TV is the true TV hub for the streaming era, especially for Apple fans. In many ways, it’s the simplicity of the Apple TV, with an ad-free experience and a range of 4K HDR content, via iTunes Store that makes people still own this product after all this time.

Deals

Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the Apple TV and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.

Apple TV app

The Apple TV app holds Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+. It also includes the Apple TV Channels, with over 30 streaming services ready to be subscribed to within the app.

With personalized and curated content, it’s easier to discover new shows. You can also search for your own library while also being able to buy or rent content from the iTunes Store.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ launched on November 1, 2019. It features Apple’s original TV shows and movies. Here’s what’s on Apple TV+.

At its 2019 September iPhone event, Apple officially announced launch details for its premium TV service: $4.99 per month for a family subscription. Customers who purchase an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, or Mac can enjoy one year of the service for free.

Since its release, Apple’s series and films have earned 107 wins and 367 nominations and have been nominated for Academy Awards, SAG Awards, Critics Choice Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Golden Globe Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, NAACP Image Awards and more.

“Ted Lasso” and “Wolfwalkers” are two of the most prized shows on the catalog.

Read more

Apple TV Stories Today

Musical ‘Come From Away’ is a new Apple TV+ film coming September 10

Apple today announced a new Original Film launching on September 10. Come From Away is the filmed version of the Tony and Olivier Award-winning hit musical with the same name.

Ted Lasso ‘Believe’ Fan Experience taking place in California

One of the most beloved TV series of Apple TV+, Ted Lasso, is holding a “Believe” Fan Experience in California in LAFC, Santa Monica, and DTLA this August.

Apple TV Stories August 2

After interest from Apple, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine to make $900M deal w/ Blackstone

After partnering with Apple TV+ on content like The Morning Show and My Kind of Country, Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine media company was reportedly being eyed by Apple for an acquisition. As it happens, that didn’t pan out, but a firm backed by Blackstone will end up picking up Witherspoon’s company for just shy of a billion dollars.

Apple TV Stories August 1

Some users are getting increasingly frustrated with the Apple TV app as they are paying money to buy or rent movies from the store, only to find that when they go to play the content, there is no sound at all.

This appears to be happening across platforms where Apple offers the TV app, including on tvOS, smart TVs, and third-party streaming sticks like Roku.

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Apple TV Stories July 30

Apple TV+ Guide: Here are all the Apple TV shows and movies available now

Apple TV+ offers exclusive Apple original TV shows and movies in 4K HDR quality. You can watch across all of your screens and pick up where you left off on any device. Apple TV+ costs $4.99 per month. Here’s every Apple original television show and movie available now on Apple TV+, as well as the latest trailers …

Apple TV Stories July 29

Apple TV+ is coming up on its two-year anniversary this November and while it has a number of hit and award-winning shows like Ted Lasso, the service has struggled with adoption. A new report today says that continues with Apple TV+ remaining at 3% market share.

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