Apple TV 3 or 4 - Newbie Questions

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by veilsix, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. veilsix, Nov 30, 2016
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2016

    veilsix macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2016
    Hi all,

    I'm a long time Apple device user (phone and tablet). However, I've never owned an AppleTV.

    I'm a DirecTV subscriber with all the premium stuff, however my girlfriend cut the cord on cable this year. I've shared my DirecTV credentials with her to use on her iPad, so she has access to all of the premium movie channel apps and of course the existing live streaming apps that require a cable subscription.

    For Christmas, I'm getting her an Apple TV. I've been doing my best to research it, but there seems to be confusing/conflicting/vague information out there. The purpose behind this is for her to require the Chromecast less and be able to seamlessly watch more streaming and Live TV (some of the existing apps on the ipad don't offer Chromecast support).

    For example, I have friends that use the 3rd gen Apple TV and swear by it, and claim that all Apps on the Apple TV store are available for it regardless for what generation is currently out.... sort of like ios phones and tablets. However, some of the online research I've done including perusing these forums seems to contradict this... and insinuates that the app market on the 4th gen is entirely different than prior generations.

    I've been told that the only difference between 4th gen Apple TV and 3rd gen is 1080p support vs 720p, and while this difference may be true it's starting to sound like the differences are deeper than this. Resolution wouldn't be a factor for me because she personally wouldn't care about a different progressive bandwidth... and this will be for her.

    My thoughts are, I can spend the difference in money between 3g and 4g elsewhere for her for the holiday so I will do that... unless the 3g won't do for her what I want.

    I've purchased the 3g already but am willing to take it back to exchange.

    So- what are the true differences between the two? Again, my aim is to make as much live and premium programming available to her as possible using the DirecTV account I already have.

    I'd also love feedback as to the differences in content (if there are any and you have the time to elaborate/link to it... I'm at my wits end trying to find it, even Apple's site on this is way too vague).

    Finally, how does Airplay work and what kind of content can be streamed to the Apple TV (and what can't)?

    Thank you so much for any and all help you're willing to provide. :)

  2. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007
    I have the Apple TV 3rd Gen. It is 1080p. It supports AirPlay and comes with ONLY the channels/apps it currently has NO MORE. No app store.

    I bought a 4th Gen ATV for $100 at Target around BF. Yet to use it as it is a family gift.

    But the ATV4 has the App store and more internal memory. Some companies have apps for DirecTV or Playstation Vue, etc. to allow you to subscribe to a channel base on the ATV4. ATV4 has games you can buy/download and play (not Xbox level)

    ATV3 is not really supported by Apple. they switched to ATV4 model. I would go with ATV for for future streaming capabilities. If it was for my parents I'd say the ATV3 would be fine. the remote is easy to click and easy to just click on a "channel" and watch what is there...also for streaming my movies for the kids.

    AIRPLAY: AirPlay comes in 2 formats. a mirror of the screen on the iOS device (with clock, home screen, etc...a direct mirror of the device) then there is a more "native" approach where the video/audio link is picked up on the ATV and streamed from internet that way. Most videos on the device and most videos on websites easily airplay to the TV. Some apps on iPhones/iPads do NOT support AirPlay. it is a case-by-case basis on apps.
  3. veilsix thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2016

    This was majorly informative, thank you so much!!! I will be exchanging for an ATV4 asap. Thanks again!!
  4. benjitek macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2012
    Since you're in the US, you should sign up for a 3 month subscription to DirecTV Now and get a 32GB ATV4 for free. Total subscription cost would be $105, itself a good price for an ATV4. You'd also have the chance to be grandfathered into the $60 subscription tier for $35, a temporary promotional offer. She might want to keep the subscription after the 3 months and continue it on her own.
  5. veilsix thread starter macrumors newbie


    Nov 30, 2016
    Thanks for the reply! I'm not seeing the free ATV4 promotion anywhere regarding DirecTV Now, do you happen to have a link to any information around this? Thanks again!

    Edit: I found it! thank you very much!
  6. gholwick macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2008
    could you post that link where you found the ATV4 promotion on DirecTV Now? Because I don't see that offer anywhere on their site.
  7. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    When I signed up it ask for my account information (including CC) and then ask if I wanted to pay 3 months and get the Apple TV shipped to my address which I did
  8. gholwick macrumors newbie

    Mar 20, 2008
    Thanks, I also found more info on the site by looking for ATV tags. Thanks again.
  9. ActionableMango macrumors G3


    Sep 21, 2010
    Both are good, but there is an ENORMOUS difference.

    Here is a copy and paste of my answer from the last time someone asked this question:


    The ATV4 might look similar and carry a similar name, but it is vastly different. I have two ATV3 and two ATV4, so I know.

    Here is how the ATV4 is significantly better:
    • Universal login (for supported apps)
    • Saves previously entered email addresses so you can quickly use them again for apps that don't support Universal login
    • Connect to bluetooth headphones or speakers
    • Connect to Airplay speakers throughout the house
    • Connect to game controllers for light-console-like gaming apps
    • Better Wi-Fi (802.11ac)
    • Siri - here are some of my favorite uses:
      • Saying text instead of laboriously entering it one character at a time
      • Universal search (search for a show/movie across all apps, and compare prices)
      • Search content in apps like Netflix a lot better, including Netflix's own genres and filters that you cannot access through their app any other way, AND continuously nesting those searches, like so:
        • Show me sci-fi (shows just sci-fi)
        • Just the good ones (throws out all the 1-2 star crap, which is my biggest problem with results)
        • Just from the 90's (throws out everything that isn't from the 90's)
        • Just with Arnorld Schwarzenegger (etc etc)
      • Turn on/off subtitles
      • Who stars in this movie (shows a list of actors...then can pick one, and see other shows/movies with that actor)
      • Skip forward 12 minutes, or 25 seconds, or any duration at all, or backward
      • What did he say? (skips back a few lines, turns on subtitles, plays back to where you were, then turns off subtitles)
    • Remote control with:
      • Touchpad
      • Volume buttons can be programmed to "learn" any two commands from other IR remotes
      • Gyro sensors
      • 10-second skip
    • Home automation hub for Homekit
    • Includes 32 or 64GB of storage
    • Has access to the app store, which is a huge impact that's difficult to describe. It's sort of like trying to describe what you can do with Windows--the potential is unlimited. But to give one example, I can watch local channel live HDTV from my over-the-air antenna.
    Combine all that with the fact the ATV3 is now officially discontinued, and that the ATV4 occasionally goes on sale for $120 or so, it seems to me like the ATV4 is a no-brainer. I would not be surprised if it hit $99 again for holiday sales like it was at Radio Shack back in Dec 2015.
  10. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    There really is no reason to compare them.

    Get the Gen4 for $105 with Directv deal.

    And, as some have discovered, you do not need a direct link. Just start the signup process and the offer will be right there.
  11. Hrothgar macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2009
    New York
    Oy. I bought an ATV4 from Apple for $149, then returned it to get an ATV4 from Best Buy for $127 (no shipping). I guess I can return that for the Direct Now deal? But that seems crazy.
  12. nostresshere macrumors 68030

    Dec 30, 2010
    Only you can decide how much your time is worth to you. Unless you are already planning to drive to Best Buy and deal with could just keep it and get another for $105.

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