Reviews

The new generation of the Apple TV 4K is a welcome evolutionary, not revolutionary, upgrade

A new Apple TV set-top box is expected to be released in the first half of 2024, notes MacRumors.

The latest generation of the Apple TV 4K isn’t for everyone, but folks like me who are invested in the Apple ecosystem will certainly like it. The newest version isn’t a revolutionary product, but a solid evolutionary product thanks to the inclusion of an A15 Bionic chip, HDR10+ support, and more — all at a lower price.

The new Apple TV 4K began arriving to customers and launching in stores on Friday, November 4. That’s when I received mine.

Key new features for the third-generation ‌Apple TV‌ 4K in addition to the  A15 Bionic chip and HDR10+ support include 4GB of memory, a USB-C charging port on the Siri Remote, and a slimmer (and fanless) design. 

With the A15 processor, you’ll notice the set-top’s performance is a bit friskier, especially with Apple Arcade games. Otherwise, the difference between its speed and that of its second gen predecessor is minimal.

Speaking of games, the expanded controller support in tvOS 16 improves the gaming experience. Thanks to the “Buddy Controller” feature, you can play games on the set-top box with assistance from a friend by combining two game controllers for use as a single player. 

Even with tvOS 16, the third gen Apple TV 4K won’t replace a gaming console. However, the software/hardware combo is fun for casual gamers like me.

Apple drastically improved the Siri Remote when it released the second generation of the Apple TV 4K. With the third gen of the set-top box, the replacement of Lightning for USB-C is a nice touch. However, I do wish that Apple had packed in an U1 chip in the remote to help track it down when it goes missing (which is something that happens often with my wife and/or daughter).

Another thing I really like is the added support for HDR10+, in addition to Dolby Vision. HDR10+ is the latest and most advanced High Dynamic Range technology.  It adapts your TV to optimally display UHD content the way it was meant to be seen with true-to-life highlight and shadow details. The added support is especially noticeable if you use the set-top box with certain Samsung HDTVs and other smart TV models

You can also enjoy a home theater experience with Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital 7.1, or Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound for immersive audio.

The new Apple TV 4K is available in two configurations: Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi), which offers 64GB of storage; and Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi + Ethernet), which offers support for Gigabit Ethernet for fast networking and streaming, Thread mesh networking protocol to connect even more smart home accessories, and twice the storage for apps and games (128GB). 

Review overview

Design9.5
Performance8.8
Price10

The Pros

  • Faster gaming
  • HD10+ support
  • Lower price

The Cons

  • No "Find My" remote feature
  • nothing revolutionary

summary

9.4If you have a second generation Apple TV 4K, there's no pressing reason to upgrade. Unless you're a gamer. And if you have a first generation of the set-top box, the third gen Apple TV 4K is worth the upgrade.

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Dennis Sellers is the editor/publisher of Apple World Today. He’s been an “Apple journalist” since 1995 (starting with the first big Apple news site, MacCentral). He loves to read, run, play sports, and watch movies.