Apple TV Overview Updated April 11, 2021

Apple TV

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September 2010 - April 2021

The Apple TV is Apple’s set-top-box that runs tvOS. The company currently sells HD and 4K models. Alongside the product, Apple also has the Apple TV app, which is available also for 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 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.

Specs

Currently, Apple sells the fourth and fifth-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 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 14.4 with 14.5 already being tested.

Apple TV 4K (fifth-generation)

Launched in 2017, the Apple TV 4K uses the A10X Fusion chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 2160p and 60 fps, HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos technologies. Available in 32GB and 64GB storage options, the set-top-box uses the Siri Remote featuring Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 2.0a, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO; simultaneous dual band (2.4 GHz and 5GHz), Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology, IR receiver, Built-in power suply.

The fifth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on 14.4 with 14.5 already being tested.

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.

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 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 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 any iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, or Mac can enjoy one year of the service for free.

Apple has been honored with a total of 345 awards nominations and accolades, and 91 awards wins since its global launch just over a year ago including Critics Choice Awards, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, a Peabody Award, a Golden Globe Award and more.

Apple TV 4K Review

In our opinion article about the 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 Stories Yesterday

Apple TV+ has announced its latest original film: “Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong.” The company describes this as the “definitive” documentary about Armstrong.

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A new study reveals that Apple TV+ has the highest-quality content when compared to Netflix, HBO Max, Prime Video, Disney+, and Hulu. The analysis from Self Financial uses IMDb scores with US customer data.

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Apple TV Stories April 12

With the latest round of HomePod rumors from Bloomberg comes a particularly big one. Apple is looking to combine the Apple TV and the HomePod into a singular product. They’re also testing ways to incorporate a FaceTime camera into the device for calls in the living room. While our concept imagines what this product might look like, it’s truly a shot in the dark. A product like this might require an entirely new design from Apple rather than some kind of Frankenstein monster made up of different pieces of the HomePod and Apple TV 4K. We tried putting the best of each together to imagine a product that would feel familiar to customers.

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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 April 11

Much has been said about the demise of the HomePod, and also the state of the Apple TV hardware box. I owned every Apple TV that’s been produced, and while I agree that it’s overpriced at the current levels, I still believe it’s the best way to stream content on the market. Yes, Roku and Fire Sticks offer similar apps, but so does Android, and most everyone reading this site prefers iOS. Even Apple’s content is available on Roku and Fire Sticks. Apple fans generally prefer the Apple experience. I’ve ended up with five of the current Apple TV boxes, but I need another one for our small TV on our screened-in porch. I can’t justify pulling the trigger on one at this time, though. We have an old Roku out there currently, but it’s still on 802.11n, so the Wi-Fi struggles to keep up with HD content at times. As I was browsing around for low-cost options, I saw exactly how Apple should build out its TV box strategy. Read on to learn more about why an Apple version of the Roku Streambar should be on Apple’s roadmap.

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Apple TV Stories April 10

In the aftermath of Apple’s cancellation of the big HomePod, there’s been a lot of speculation about Apple TV’s future. After releasing the tvOS version of the Apple TV in 2015 and the 4K version in 2017, Apple has largely been silent on the platform’s future. Despite tvOS receiving continual software updates, the hardware has remained stagnant. Even without modern hardware, the Apple TV is nearly the perfect digital signage device, thanks to Apple’s mobile device management integration.

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