Apple TV is in "don't buy", when is the update?

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by sperdynamite, Jan 16, 2017.

  1. sperdynamite macrumors member

    Sep 21, 2011
    I'm looking to get an Apple TV. Does anyone know when the next Apple event at which they're likely to update the current unit is happening? I don't wanna buy one and then find out they've updated it for 4k the next month or so....
  2. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    No one knows. Last year there was an event on March 21, 2016. Who knows what this event will have for sure. After that could be around June and then around Oct. I think if you need one get one at one of the discount places. The latest DTV Now promotion would have been a great opportunity. Then when the ATV 5 comes out you can move this one to another room or give away or sell.
  3. bodonnell202, Jan 16, 2017
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2017

    bodonnell202 macrumors 65816


    Jan 5, 2016
    Calgary, Alberta, Canada
    Those guides are kind of a load of crap. Consider that the Apple TV 3 was the best Apple TV available for a little over 3 1/2 years or for a total of 1328 days (note that Macrumors broke that up as Apple introduced an update to the ATV3 which lowered power consumption slightly but didn't change functionality at all). The current Apple TV 4 has been on the market for just over a year at 448 days. With Apple moving towards longer periods between updates for all products except the iPhone what do you think the odds are that the Apple TV will actually "update soon" as the guide suggests?

    I suspect that the Apple TV will be eventually be updated with a newer SOC and 4K support, but I wouldn't hold my breath that it will happen this year. I guess it depends on how long you are willing to wait.

    My advice: since the ATV4 has been out for a while save yourself a few bucks and buy a refurbished model from Apple.
  4. benjitek macrumors 6502a


    Sep 23, 2012
    I heard they were going to make an announcement about something sometime soon... ;)
  5. BJMRamage macrumors 68020


    Oct 2, 2007

    nobody here knows, like mentioned above.

    But, if you want it, and can use it NOW, then buy it now. and enjoy it. Do you have a 3rd Gen AppleTV? if so, that could/should still be fine. I waited a year after the AppleTV4 was launched, didn't think I needed it for the higher price. But then found a deal for 1/3 off the price and bought it a year after announcement/release. had I paid regular price, I would have 1-year old internals at the same price point.

    I think if you buy it now, you can then buy a new AppleTV5 when it comes out and use the 4 on another TV, sell it, or give to a friend/family member to enjoy.
  6. jdag macrumors 6502a

    Jun 15, 2012
    1) Nobody here knows for sure, any date is a guess.
    2) Will you get use/value out of it?
    3) How do you plan to use it?

    Personally...the AppleTV is worth every penny and then some. I am able to use it as my 1-and-only device and I stream OTA television with no monthly cost. If I take the amount I spent on my 3 ATVs and other hardware and compare it against my savings to date, I am up well over $3,000 and counting. is worth buying now (based on my experience/use).
  7. andrewstirling macrumors 6502

    May 19, 2015
    To the OP, maybe you're looking at the situation wrong. I'd focus more on what you need rather than whether or not you're product is going to be superseded because that's going to happen eventually anyway. You mention 4K in your post....if this is important to you then don't consider the current Apple TV as it can't do it. Plenty of its competitors can so I'd look at them. If it's not, then don't stress about a 4K version coming out soon.
  8. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2011
    Peoria, IL
    If you think you want an Apple TV get one. I would recommend checking out any used video game stores you may have nearby. That is where I have seen quite a few used units going really cheap (32GB for $80 and 64GB for $100). That's where I ended up getting my second one (ordered the first at release).

    Like the others have said, if they release an Apple TV 5 it will most likely just be a spec bump and 4K addition. The Apple TV4 will still work great for 1080p TVs. Either move it to a different room or sell/give it to someone else who might want it for a 1080p TV.
  9. tonyr6 macrumors 65816


    Oct 13, 2011
    Brooklyn NY
    Apple TV is not bad UI to use apps what ruins is the horrible remote and no don't tell me to use a IR remote or app as my ATV is hidden so it would not work. I want a all buttons bluetooth not IR remote no touch garbage
  10. Krevnik macrumors 68040


    Sep 8, 2003
    Something like 4K is not something we will get warning on. It isn't a guarantee the next update will have 4K, but we may not see an update until 4K either.

    They need 4K content, but they aren't likely to launch any until they have a device that supports 4K. So there's not really going to be any really good red flags that a 4K Apple TV is in the pipe. And if the 3rd gen ATV is any indication, they won't be leading the charge to 4K.
  11. colodane macrumors 6502a


    Nov 11, 2012
    If you think you will enjoy it, buy one! Its not like it is a $3K iMac that you want to get 5 years of service out of. It is a $150 device in a rapidly-changing streaming environment. I'm really glad I went from 3G to 4G a couple months ago. And, if a 5G comes out later this year I'll no doubt buy one. You can even get some of the $$ back by selling the old one - they are easy and cheap to ship ;>)
  12. George Dawes macrumors 6502a

    George Dawes

    Jul 17, 2014
    I quite like mine apart from Siri and the remote which are both awful and useless

    The thing has potential though , maybe by mk 5 or 6 ??
  13. Wakey87433 macrumors member


    Jun 1, 2016
    I'm not expecting a new one until atleast 2018 mainly because it only really has one possible major update and thats 4k but Apple have no financial incentive to go down that route at this time. After all they have no 4k streaming service of their own and also have no 4k content to sell in iTunes. Adding 4K to iTunes would come at a cost to implement and maybe even worse require even their existing deals to be renegotiated if there is no 4k provisions in their current agreements.

    Now obviously adding 4K content to iTunes could be a decent revenue stream now and will certainly in future but only if they have a decent user base to sell to and thats the problem. At this time they have one device that can display 4K and thats the newer iMacs. And the AppleTV sales wise has been a bit of a flop as Amazon, Roku and Googles streaming devices are outselling it so its not as if that has a massive inbuilt user base and at the AppleTV price point even many people with 4K tv's aren't going to upgrade immediately. And as TV's aren't something people change every year people with 4K TV's are still in the minority.

    And before someone says 'The iPhone shoots 4K so there is a reason to upgrade' the thing there is the iPhone shoots 4k in 30fps. HDMI 1.4 supports 4K at 30fps so Apple could add support on the current general. They probably couldn't enable Netflix because most likely that relies on the HDMI 2.0+ DRM provisions.

    So personally I would expect to see a iPhone with a 4K screen and maybe even an iPad before we get a proper 4K AppleTV because they are going to need the iPhone user base to be able to really make 4K purchases/rentals in the iTunes Store worthwhile
  14. duffman9000 macrumors 68000


    Sep 7, 2003
    Deep in the Depths of CA
    I wonder the same. I'm leaning toward the nVidia Shield. I'd prefer a system with a game controller with an attached keyboard, like an Xbox One controller with keyboard. I think the Xbox one controller would work only in wired mode, which severely limits its potential.
  15. Topfry macrumors regular

    Apr 19, 2011
    I agree, but although I have some sympathy for those with 4k tvs, I would much rather Apple sorted out the current service first before increasing the resolution. I do like the premise of the atv, its fast enough as it stands and generally capable of much more, but the service it actually provides is quite patchy; the apps have languished for some time and pretty much the same apps are in the same places in the top ten that they were 6months ago (so the recent change of terms for app size is welcome though).
    It was always apparent that what was delivered was not the originally intended experience; the tv app icon on the remote shows it was meant to be there from the beginning, but something or lack of agreements in place have held it back. The international experience varies greatly, and although I can only speak as a UK user, it really is a simple matter to cover the basics in this country: the full suite of catch up services wouldd be a starting point. We still dont have the tv app here, and if we did it wouldnt improve much because most of the services arent integrated. Even netflix titles dont come up as available in netflix in the movies app, like they did at release. Where is the amazon video app? Where is itv player, all 4, demand 5?
    I wish they would get their ducks in a row. A fully functional and integrated tv app; a freesat style tv guide and streaming live tv is a reasonable place to begin. Until this happens then whether or not you have a 4k tv, its probably not going to be worth buying a newer updated version, because it will largely be the same unrequited experience.
  16. prizm macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Apple really could of owned this space but has again acted so damn slow with updates and refinements. They could of owned the activity tracker wrist ban. Nope... conceded to the competition. They could of owned the watch space. Nope - released a square fugly blah. They could of owned desktops. Nope - conceded to the competition with sluggish updates.

    I really miss the old days when apple had vision. Now they just want to milk profit margins.

    Update Apple TV with 4K and TV programming packages. What the hell is taking so long?
  17. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    I agree with you. To add to your list. They could have a competitor to ECHO and the New Mesh Routers look very nice.
  18. cariacou macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010
    My 2c is they really need to release a 4K Apple TV within the next 6 months.
    Why? 4K TVs have been available for awhile. Whether or not they're worth it, they cover the whole higher end TV market.
    Which means for a few years now, people with large wallets have had 4K TVs and are looking for 4K contents.

    Apple (iTunes) is now the ONLY major content provider not offfering a 4K catalog.
    I'm guessing a lot of the people with 4K TVs have now moved to alternative solutions (Roku, fire tv, chrome cast,...)
  19. prizm macrumors member

    Oct 29, 2007
    Agreed. It's like they don't care about pushing the TV market or they're looking to get out of it. Or even worse, they're just too incompetent to act. I want to jump into a streaming box right now, but Apple is making me choose something outside of their ecosystem, namely Roku.
  20. Wakey87433 macrumors member


    Jun 1, 2016
    The problem is iTunes is only available on Apple devices so the iTunes upgrade to 4K is going to vie hard to justify the expense for them as the return will be almost nothing when the only current device that could play them are the newer iMacs. Its not like the current AppleTV sales are anything to write home about, in fact they are almost laughable so its not like they can guarentee a massive amount if sales of an 4K AppleTV to help make upgrading iTunes to 4K worthwhile. Also while 4K TV's have got cheaper they are still a minority product, people just don't upgrade their TV every year and most people are not at their upgrade stage yet so the potential market to sell a 4K AppleTV to is small and its not like the AppleTV is a cheap device also so it also moves that device out of a price range where its an instant upgrade when a new one comes out.

    They need a mass market device which can natively display 4K to make the upgrade worthwhile and for Apple that means the iPhone. If they get a iPhone with a 4K screen they will have enough 4k devices on the market to make it worthwhile but until that the upgrade to a 4K would most likely leave us with just Netflix as a 4K source and that doesn't help Apple
  21. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I still believe Apple is/was waiting for better standards for implementing hardware decoding. They don't want to invest into a product that outdates itself due to standards, maybe even implement HDR which would require a more specific decoder.

    Keep in mind Kaby Lake (intels latest generation processors) are the first Intel CPUs to support dedicated 4k HEVC (10 bit color) AND VP9 hardware decoders.

    If done properly the next AppleTV could separate itself from other 4k competition with better picture quality and have a very long product life which Apple seems to love. Whether they actually do that or not is a different story.

    Keep in mind the quality of the hardware decoder makes a big difference. I can encode videos that a Roku, Apple TV, etc etc aren't able to decode fast enough because their hardware isn't good enough (you'll typically get a crash/error or green pixelation and freezing during playback). The real world implication of this is you need more bandwidth which means more network congestion, more buffering, etc etc. OR lower picture quality which tends to be the trend.

    At first I thought they were waiting because they didnt have any 4k content to sell you. However if you really think about, 1) Who cares? It shouldn't hurt them because we'd be using streaming services like Netflix 4k/HDR and 4k Youtube aka things we use now until they do have iTunes content (I don't think we can use competitor services like Amazon straight off the ATV right?) 2) If they used h265 for their current content it would actually save them a fortune in bandwidth. They could shrink 1080p movies to half the size OR increase their quality (less likely).

    So to me, it doesn't make sense to wait much longer but knowing Apple who knows. Could be at the next product release or could be 2 years from now.
  22. Cordorb macrumors regular

    May 8, 2010
    Apple TV remote:

    1. the old silver one still works
    2. Iphone remote app works well
    3. and I like having a remote app on my Apple watch
  23. cariacou macrumors 6502a


    Jul 21, 2010

    I see your point.

    I still believe there are a lot of Apple devices capable of 4k playback.

    Most of the laptops & desktops Apple sold in the last 2 years are capable of running an external 4K display.
    That means users could:
    - watch itunes 4K content on their external monitors (or TVs)
    - airplay 4K content to an Apple TV (the iPhone can shoot at 4K)
  24. scott911 macrumors 6502a

    Aug 24, 2009
    If apple isn't going to put out a generation 5 in next couple months, I would buy if they did a silent processor upgrade.

    I REALLY want 4K (the principle of that omission stopped me from buying on launch day). I already had a 4K TV way back then, and it just didn't make sense to make the heart of my system be the weakest link in terms of resolution.

    By I'm so so tired of waiting that if it at least had a normal phone's processor- thereby offering a little protection from becoming super slow as the interface bulks up - I'd grab one right away.
  25. Beerstalker macrumors 6502

    Jun 14, 2011
    Peoria, IL
    If you had a 4K TV when the Apple TV4 was released, chances are it wouldn't/won't work with an Apple TV that supports 4K content. HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 hardware was pretty limited at that time and most TVs and AV receivers didn't have them. Without HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 4K is pretty much a worthless feature because you wouldn't be able to watch TV shows/Movies since the studios require it for their content.

    Even now true 4K content is still very limited. Most movies that are being released on UHD Blu-Ray are really just upscaled to 4K. Movies may be filmed in 4K, but a lot of the time all of the effects work etc. are done at a lower resolution. Right now the studios are just taking that lower resolution version and upscaling it to 4K.

    I would not expect iTunes to start offering 4K content until there is more available.

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