The biggest upgrade to the streaming box is the inclusion of Apple’s A15 Bionic chip, which enables HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, both of which offer high dynamic range for crisper, more nuanced viewing experiences. Apple says its chip upgrade gives the third-generation Apple TV 4K up to 50 percent faster CPU performance than previous iterations and 30 percent faster GPU performance.
While the addition of HDR10+ may seem subtle, it makes the new Apple TV 4K play nice with more TVs, like those made by Samsung, Philips, and TCL, which, in turn, makes the streaming box a solid option for an even broader swath of customers.
Apple TV 4K (3rd-generation) tech specs
- Chipset: A15 Bionic
- Storage: 64GB / 128GB
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6
- Ports: HDMI / Ethernet (128GB version only)
- Video: SDR video with AVC/HEVC, Dolby Vision, HDR10+/HDR10/HLG with HEVC, MPEG-4 video up to 2.5 Mbps
- Audio: HE-AAC (V1), AAC, protected AAC (from iTunes Store), MP3 (up to 320 Kbps), MP3 VBR, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, and WAV; AC-3 (Dolby Digital 5.1), E-AC-3 (Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 surround sound), and Dolby Atmos
Unlike previous years, the third-generation Apple TV 4K comes in two different model variants: one with Wi-Fi-only and 64GB of storage, and one with both Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity that has 128GB of storage. Previously, an Ethernet port was included in the base model.
For those concerned about their internet, or simply wanting to go with the fastest guaranteed speed, opting for the Ethernet version should be an easy choice to make. Both models come with the Siri Remote, which integrates — you guessed it — Siri for voice-activated commands. Also new on the remote: a USB-C port instead of Lightning!
Audio-wise, the next-gen Apple TV 4K supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital 7.1, and Dolby Digital 5.1.
Should I upgrade?
While Apple’s update isn’t exactly groundbreaking, the addition of HDR10+ is more impactful than it sounds on the surface, especially if you own a TV that isn’t compatible with Dolby Vision, the competing technology to HDR10+.
And when it comes to the bottom line, it’s hard to argue with Apple’s starting price of $129 — a $50 discount over the starting MSRP of the previous generation.
Improved performance, compatibility, and a more competitive price point? We’ll let you do the math.
Price and release date
You can pre-order the next-gen Apple TV 4K now, and hardware will ship starting November 4. The base Wi-Fi-only model will cost $129 and the Wi-Fi / Ethernet model will cost $149.
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