Apple TV longevity

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by pika2000, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    I'm starting to warm up on the idea of Apple TV. The thought of easily Air-playing whatever I'm watching on my iPad/iPhone/Mac makes more sense to my today than before.

    For the AppleTV itself, I don't have 4K TV, nor I will in the near future, so even the 1080p Apple TV would be fine. But what worries me is the support. The 4th AppleTV is running the A8 SoC, and based on the current trend, it is near on the edge of EoL (I'm assuming A7 is dropped this year, so A8 will be dropped next year). Now this rapid cycle is not unexpected on phones, but on a appliance device like AppleTV, it is harder to swallow. On the other hand, the new HomePod is also sporting the A8, so maybe support longevity will be prolonged for A8 devices. Then again, this is Apple, they are willing to cut off support on their products whenever they feel like it.

    Any thoughts? You might ask to just get the 4K version, but since this is not a day-to-day device like an iPhone, it is harder to justify the extra cost.
  2. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    For the ATV4 to be dropped it they will need another model in the line up. They wont drop an income source for an arbitrary reason. Look at the ATV3, it had an A5 and they phased that out in 2016! Also keep their were 2 variants of the A5 used one with one of its cores disabled and the other was a single core. Also keep in mind without the load of decoding 4k a power CPU isn't needed.

    If you don't plan on getting a 4K TV in the near future I would just get the ATV4 now. And upgrade that to the next version of the ATV4k when that eventually releases.

    Alternative is you'll have an ATV4k that you never use the features of and by the time you do its successor will be out.

    At the end of the day its up to you its not like you will break the bank getting the 4k version and who knows something could change and you might get a 4k tv sooner then anticipated. But honestly I haven't been particularly impressed with the performance of my ATV4k compared to my ATV4.
  3. iapplelove macrumors 601


    Nov 22, 2011
    East Coast USA
    After almost 5 years I finally updated to the ATV 4K. I don’t have a 4K tv yet, but the price difference was minimal. The 4K has a faster processor and imo will go a little longer when it gets old in the tooth. I keep devices a while.
  4. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    In the UK the ATV4 is VERY expensive at £150. Apple must be the only company that has the greed to actually increase the price TWICE on an old product instead of dropping it to £99 (which they really should of done).

    I'd stay away from it and try and save the extra £30 in order to buy the ATV 4K. I love mine and being honest, that speedy A10X chip is definitely worth the £30 extra. Who knows what extras OS updates will bring - Dolby Atmos is 'on the map'.

    It's £180 and when you think of the things that you can do with it, reliably and fast, it's worth it.
    I tend to replace my ATV overtime the new model arrives ATV2 November 2010, ATV3 March 2012, ATV4 December 2015 and my ATV 4K November 2017. The 2019 model will have HDMI2.1 so with that we'll see a 120fps User Interface and fluid frame rate mode switching - no more black screen whilst the box decides on the frame rate.
    --- Post Merged, Feb 8, 2018 ---
    EXACTLY! My point 100%. It's £30 extra for a new model!
  5. pika2000 thread starter macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    I'm not worried of the processing power. I'm more worried about Apple dropping support arbitrarily just because they dropped support for the SoC on iOS (tvOS is based on iOS, so if iOS dropped support for the A8, tvOS will as well). Eg. even a single core A5 can decode 1080p video, but Apple dropped support for it anyway, even sooner than iOS9 (the last tvOS on the A5 AppletV was based on iOS8). And since AppleTV functionalities relies a lot on the cloud, being dropped off support can be detrimental.
  6. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    Dude, it's only £30 extra! Go for the latest model as that is the one that Apple are giving all of their love to! ATV4 is from 2015! It'll be a highly capable, well support product for the next 2 to 3 years.
    Once you have one, I guarantee that you'll truly love using it!
  7. zorinlynx macrumors 603


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    They're still selling the ATV4 so there's no reason to believe it'll be desupported soon.
  8. cynics macrumors G4

    Jan 8, 2012
    I'm not sure if I follow. The ATV3 is nearly 6 years old and while it no longer receives OS updates it still sees updates, admittedly few and far between but Amazon Prime was added in Dec 2017.

    Plus it still works, including its iCloud features. I AirPlayed a movie from my iPhone on iOS 11.2.5 to my friends ATV3 a week or so ago and it worked perfectly.

    As far as the ATV3 not getting anymore OS updates, well that certainly isn't arbitrary. There isn't any hardware in it that can support tvOS 9. CPU isn't 64 bit, GPU is lacking tech, lack of RAM would make multitasking nearly impossible, 8gb of storage (if user accessible) is useless, lacks the HomeKit hardware for automation, etc etc. Plus the hardware itself is way outdated no CEC, no 7.1, struggles with complex h264...

    The ATV3 is running "Apple TV Software" which is a stripped down version of iOS designed to run on its stripped down hardware. The features, apps, games, etc of tvOS were specifically considered and deemed that it wasnt the devices intended purpose. They were disabling 1 core at first.

    Conversely the ATV4 is maximizing its hardware the the A8 at a higher clock speed than other A8 devices. It also has more RAM than other A8 devices.

    The ATV4 is also running tvOS which is open for development. This nearly guarantees 1-3 years of 1st party support after its discontinued with an even longer 3rd party support life (until devs can't update there app for its version of tvOS). Plus for Apple to keep the tvOS app store relevant they need to support as many devices as possible.

    The AppleTV 2 still functions just fine (excusing its limitations) for the most part and its 8 years old lol.

    In a generation or two once production cost drop there will only be one AppleTV that supports all resolutions. I think this will happen before the ATV4 support is dropped.

    That said I didn't realize the ATV4k was only 30 bucks more. Might as well just go for that if that isn't stretching your budget.
  9. err404 macrumors 68020

    Mar 4, 2007
    Expect a new Apple TV about 2.5 years from now, and for the current 4K version to be a useful device in your living room for about 5 years. I don’t see any significant hardware limitation on the current Apple TV 4K, other than maybe VP9 hardware decoding. The next Apple TV will like add a faster SoC and an update of display format support (HDR formats are still a bit of a mess).
  10. vertical smile macrumors 68040

    vertical smile

    Sep 23, 2014
    If you are paying full price, you might as well get the ATV4K. The price difference at full price isn't that much.

    If you can get a good deal on a ATV4, then do that. I don't know if they still have it, but Direct TV Now has a deal that if you would get 3 months of their service for a total of $105, they would give you a free ATV4. You can cancel it before getting charged the 4th month.

    You don't even need to use the service if you don't want to, just get the ATV4 for a deal.
  11. BODYBUILDERPAUL macrumors 65816

    Feb 9, 2009
    I think that it's certain that Apple will update the ATV 4K in 2019 for one reason - HDMI 2.1. This enables them to have their 'elegant' approach. It will 100% eliminate the black screen switching of frame rate detection. In theory, it'll probably work much like Apple's ProMotion on the iPad going instantly from 24hz to 120hz. It'll also have quicker response of detection of DV, HDR & SDR. 2.1 is a dream for Apple and fits with their elegant approach. Plus they'll want the UI in 120fps along with the games of course!
  12. Tech198 macrumors G5

    Mar 21, 2011
    Australia, Perth
    AppleTV should last a long time even I have Apple TV 3 still. If treated right, should not need servicing.
  13. Macalicious2011 macrumors 6502a

    May 15, 2011
    It’s a chicken and egg thing. If you don’t get a 4K capable device you won’t bother getting a 4K TV.

    Get the 4K version.
  14. Volusia macrumors 6502


    Jun 8, 2016
    Central Florida
    I still use two of the original TV units; one in my office and one in my garage. Can't update the channels but still very functional. I listen to music when in the garage if doing something that I don't want to use my AirPods. Also good for news programs.
  15. Snoopy4 macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2014
    I wish they had an App for my TV or the XBox. One less box.

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14 February 7, 2018