Apple TV Overview Updated September 6, 2022

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September 2010 - September 2022

The Apple TV is Apple’s set-top box that runs tvOS. The company currently sells the updated Apple TV HD first introduced in 2015 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 as well as 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 iOS 15.

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 iOS 15.

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.

Third-party certified Apple TV Remote

In August of 2021, Deutsche Telekom started offering a third-party certified Apple TV Remote. This is the first company to offer Universal Electronics’ remote control to customers who purchase a new Apple TV 4K directly with the carrier with a Magenta TV subscription.

The alternative Siri Remote from Universal Electronics looks more like a classic TV remote control since it does not have a trackpad and comes with buttons for switching channels and accessing the TV guide. However, it also includes all the buttons needed to navigate through tvOS, including the Siri button and even a built-in microphone.

tvOS 15: what’s new to the Apple TV

Apple released on September 20 tvOS 15, the operating system to the Apple TV HD and 4K (1st and 2nd gen). Here’s everything new with it:

  • 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.

You can learn more about tvOS 15 here.

tvOS 15.1 features

tvOS 15.1 brings the long-awaited SharePlay feature. With it, you can watch movies, shows, or listen to songs while on a FaceTime call on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with friends.

tvOS 15.2 features

A month after launching tvOS 15.1, Apple seeded tvOS 15.2. This software brings a new way to view your Memories. Apple Music subscribers can hear songs that combine expert recommendations with your music tastes, and what’s in your photos and videos.

Here is what else is new:

  • Apple TV app: The Store tab is a new all-in-one destination to browse, buy, and rent the world’s best movies and TV shows.
  • Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri.
  • Siri now includes language support for Dutch and French in Belgium, Russian in Russia, and French, German, and Italian in Switzerland.
  • Screen savers: Enjoy stunning views of Iceland and Scotland. Location details can be found by pressing the clickpad or tapping the Touch surface on your Siri Remote.

tvOS 15.3 features

Different from tvOS 15.2, tvOS 15.3 doesn’t bring changes for the Apple TV, only small improvements and bug fixes.

tvOS 15.4 Apple TV

tvOS 15.4 features

tvOS 15.4 bring some interesting features to the Apple TV hardware:

  • Captive Wi-Fi network support;
  • New “Up Next” queue that can be viewed from the “Now Playing” screen;
  • Revamped Spatial Audio controls with tvOS 15.4;
  • New non-binary, American Siri voice

tvOS 15.5 features

Different from other software updates, Apple doesn’t specify what’s changed with tvOS 15.5.

tvOS 15.6 features

Different from other software updates, Apple doesn’t specify what’s changed with tvOS 15.6, most likely just bug fixes.

Apple is currently testing tvOS 16.

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.

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 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 the Apple TV+ debut, Apple has received a total of 1,115 awards nominations and accolades, and 250 award wins from the Oscars, including Best Picture, Critics Choice Awards, Writers Guild Association, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Peabody Awards, and more.

“Ted Lasso,” “CODA,” and “Wolfwalkers” are three of the most prized shows on the catalog.

Read more

Apple TV Stories Yesterday

Four years ago, Oprah Winfrey signed a multi-year deal with Apple. Now, the celebrity and the Cupertino company are changing how the contract will work from now on as Oprah keeps producing content for several other companies and Apple realigns its expectations with Apple TV+.

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Apple TV Stories September 25

Apple TV+ streaming five classic Sidney Poitier films to celebrate new documentary release

To celebrate the release of the new Apple original Sidney documentary film, Apple TV+ is streaming five classic films starring Sidney Poitier. These films are included for free with a TV+ subscription for a limited time, exclusively in the United States.

Apple TV Stories September 23

How to watch Aaron Judge break the baseball home run record on Apple TV+

Baseball player Aaron Judge is aiming for an all-time home run league record today, having already racked up sixty this season. And in a rather coincidental turn of events, the crucial game lands on the last Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball day of the season, an incredible finale for Apple’s first venture into live sports.

Apple is widely expected to land rights to stream NFL Sunday Ticket on the Apple TV platform, but with an estimated price tag in the $2.5 billion range, it is taking a while for the deal to be finalized.

In the meantime, likely as an offshoot of those negotiations, Apple Music has been announced as the new sponsor of the Super Bowl halftime show, in a multi-year deal starting with Super Bowl 57 on February 12, 2023.

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Apple TV Stories September 22

How to watch the new Sidney Poitier documentary on Apple TV+

Today, a new documentary covering the life and legacy of Sidney Poitier is streaming on Apple TV+. The film, simply named Sidney, is available to watch now across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and anywhere you can get the TV app.

Apple TV+ has scored one of the hottest TV packages of the year, landing Vince Gilligan’s new project, via Deadline. The Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul creator’s new project was naturally hotly contested, with Apple ultimately securing the series with a two season upfront order.

Details about the untitled project are naturally being kept under wraps. So far, it is described as a “grounded genre drama”. The series will star Better Call Saul lead actress Rhea Seehorn.

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Netflix already lost 1.2 million subscribers in the first two quarters of 2022. While the company hopes to add one million new users with its new ad-supported tier, a survey shows that 1 in 4 Netflix users are planning to cancel their subscriptions this year. Here’s what this could mean to other streaming services, such as Apple TV+.

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Apple TV Stories September 16

New report details why Ted Lasso season 3 hasn’t been released yet

The comedy show Ted Lasso has become one of the most popular and important on Apple TV+. With multiple awards and a growing audience, Apple has been working on the third (and possibly final) season of Ted Lasso. But according to a new report, there are a few things that have put production of Ted Lasso season three on hold.

Apple TV+ Guide: Every Apple TV show and movie 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 September 12

Tonight marks the 74th Emmy Awards, and as expected, Apple TV+ had a strong showing thanks to Ted Lasso. The Apple TV+ hit comedy scored a number of awards throughout the night. Jason Sudeikis took home the award for Outstanding Lead in a Comedy Series for his role in Ted Lasso. The show Ted Lasso itself also took home the top prize of the night.

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Apple TV Stories September 9

Hillary Clinton docuseries ‘Gutsy’ now available to watch on Apple TV+

A new docuseries on gutsy women, from Hillary Clinton and daughter Chelsea Clinton, is now streaming on Apple TV+. It is based on their book which highlighted bold, courageous, and influential women in society.

Apple TV Stories September 8

Apple TV+ to release new documentary film on Selena Gomez: ‘My Mind and Me’

Apple TV+ today officially announced that it will stream a new documentary about popular singer and actress Selena Gomez, entitled My Mind and Me. A firm release date for the film was not announced.

Apple TV Stories September 6

The streaming market has gained several new players in recent years, and this has been affecting consolidated platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. A new research from JustWatch seen by 9to5Mac shows that Apple TV+ has now surpassed 6% global market share while its competitors continue to lose subscribers.

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Apple TV Stories August 29

Apple TV+ is now a perk for T-Mobile subscribers on their most popular plan, Magenta MAX. Magenta Max subscribers can access all Apple TV+ original content at no extra charge indefinitely, whereas Magenta customers can get a free six month trial.

Also today, the streaming service unveiled its fall lineup of kids & family content, including several returning shows, four new original series, and a bunch of classic Peanuts specials.

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Apple TV Stories August 25

Samsung smart TV owners get three months free Apple TV+ with a new limited time offer

Apple has partnered with many different companies from PlayStation to LG to Vizio to give away Apple TV+ trials, and now Samsung has stepped up to the plate too. Running today through November 28, Samsung smart TV owners can get 3 months free access to Apple TV+

Apple TV Stories August 22

Grubhub, one of the most popular food ordering and delivery platforms in the United States, announced this week a new partnership with Apple. To celebrate National Waffle Day, users can earn a free “perk” with an order placed using a code inspired by the Apple TV+ show Severance.

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Apple TV Stories August 19

SEE was one of the first Apple Original Shows announced with the launch of Apple TV+ in 2019. Now, the show is about to return for its third and final season, and Apple will let everyone watch the first season of SEE for free on Apple TV+ for a limited time.

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Apple TV Stories August 18

Sharon Horgan’s new dark comedy ‘Bad Sisters’ premieres on Apple TV+

Apple TV+ today premiered the first three episodes of new dark comedy series Bad Sisters, starring, written and executive produced by Sharon Horgan, hailing from Horgan’s overall deal with Apple.

For the first time ever, streaming services overtook cable in the US. The data shows that this is the fifth consecutive high for online platforms and that they ranked as the most watched platform when compared to cable and broadcast.

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Apple TV Stories August 17

Apple releases trailer for its next original movie The Greatest Beer Run Ever, starring Zac Efron

Apple today released the trailer for its next original movie for Apple TV+ entitled The Greatest Beer Run Ever. The film premieres on September 30 and stars Zac Efron as Chickie. Chickie embarks on a journey to the frontlines of Vietnam, to bring beer to the soldiers serving his country.

Apple TV Stories August 16

Another Apple Original is set to be available on Blu-ray. Award-winning TV show For All Mankind will see a physical release next month as the company expands its titles available for people to physically own them.

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Apple TV Stories August 15

There’s been an impressive roster of Apple TV+ awards since the service launched, and last night added two more, at the Hollywood Critics Association TV Awards.

Both Severance and Ted Lasso won in their categories, after a combined total of 24 nominations between them …

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Apple TV Stories August 11

How to watch Five Days at Memorial, a new Apple TV+ series about Hurricane Katrina

Tonight, Apple releases the first three episodes of its new drama, Five Days at Memorial. The eight-part limited series focuses on the impact of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation on a specific hospital, the Memorial Medical Center. The show stars Vera Farmiga, Cherry Jones, Robert Pine and more. Five Days at Memorial is streaming exclusively on Apple TV+.

Apple TV Stories August 10

Apple TV+ will soon get a documentary about Steve Martin’s life and career as A24 will produce it alongside Morgan Neville and Caitrin Rogers’s Tremolo Productions. This will be another addition to the growing list of Apple Original documentaries.

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