It’s been a while since we’ve revisited Apple TV to see if it holds an advantage over Roku or Amazon Fire TV. This is mainly due to its high price point relative to other streaming devices. However, we thought it was time to take a look at what Apple has to offer from it’s streaming devices.
Two Flavors of Apple TV
Apple currently sells two versions of it’s Apple TV streaming device, the Apple TV 4K and the Apple TV HD. These devices let users install apps from the Apple app store, allowing users to enjoy just about any streaming app on the market. You can even install and play mobile games on your TV. Let’s take a look at what each has to offer.
Apple TV 4K
While originally released on September 22, 2017, several tvOS upgrades have updated this device to hold it’s own against any streaming device on the market. Let’s take a look at the specs:
- Video: supports up to 4K UHD video with Dolby Vision or HDR10,
- Audio: Supports Dolby Atmos
- WiFi: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
- HDMI: 2.0a
- Processor: 2.38 GHz Hexa-core Apple A10X Fusion
- Memory: 3GB LP DDR4
- Ethernet: up to 1 Gbps
The Apple TV 4K possesses the functionality of anything Roku or Amazon Fire TV has to offer. However, it comes at a steep price. The Apple TV 4K can be purchased with 64GB of internal storage for $199 or 32 GB of internal storage for $179. (Order from Apple). The internal storage is just for apps, so if you are looking to play games on the Apple TV, then I’d recommend the 64 GB version. Otherwise, order the 32GB version.
Apple TV HD
Originally released on October 30, 2015, this Apple TV has the following specs:
- Video: supports up to 1080p resolution
- Audio: Supports 7.1 surround
- WiFi: Wi-Fi 5 (802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
- HDMI: 1.4
- Processor: 1.5 GHz dual-core Apple A8n
- Memory: 2GB LP DDR3
- Ethernet: up to 100 Mbps
The Apple TV HD comes with 32 GB of internal storage for $149. (Order from Apple). This Apple TV is a bit dated, and I can’t conceive paying this much for a streaming device that doesn’t even provide 4K video. On second thought, I can’t see paying this much for a streaming device.
Apple TV Features
Let’s take a look at the features you get for the expense of an Apple TV
Apple TV Remote: The Apple TV remote is sleek with a glass touch surface for navigated the Apple TV menus. It lets you control TV power and volume, pause TV, and utilize Siri via the built-in microphone. (See what to do if you lose your Apple TV’s remote)
Private Listening: Apple TV users can pair their AirPods via Bluetooth to engage in private listening. This is a nice feature for watching TV and not disturbing others nearby.
App Store: With thousands of apps available, you can install just about any streaming service.
Voice Control: Using the microphone button on the included remote, you can ask Siri to play a movie, TV show, or song.
Picture in Picture – watch a movie or TV show while you keep an eye on the game, or check the weather.
AirPlay – You can share videos from streaming apps on your iPhone or iPad to your Apple TV 4K in their full resolution.
Is Apple TV Worth It
In a word. No. The $149 Apple TV HD lacks 4K video and Dolby Atmos. The Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K can provide that functionality for $49.99. The Apple TV 4K checks all the functionality boxes with top of the line audio and video. However, you could bring home three Roku Streaming Sticks 4K for the $179 and still have a little money left over for lunch.
To its credit, Apple TV is beautiful in its design. No other streaming device on the market come close to pleasing the eye more than the Apple TV. If you are a fan of Apple products and are 100% invested in the Apple ecosystem, that may make the price point worth it. However, I’m typing this article on my 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, and I’ll stick with my Roku.
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