Help: Apple TV 3rd vs 4th gen?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by Jedi5, Jan 5, 2019.

  1. Jedi5 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    So I *think* I'm in the market for Apple TV.
    I pretty sure for my needs, I don't need the latest and greatest.
    What I don't know, is if I'll be ok with a 3rd gen TV.

    Looking to cast the following:

    Maybe videos on my iMac (late 2009) using either VLC or QT... if it is even possible??
    Peloton Digital App

    Currently use Chromecast for YT and Netflix.
    Haven't tried to cast any videos on the iMac yet.

    I'm looking to get the Peloton digital app and all the Peloton reps I've spoken with have all said I can't cast using Chrome, that I need Apple TV since I have Apple.
    That's really the only reason I'm looking at an Apple TV to begin with, LOL.

    If that's the case and I need to get an Apple TV, for my needs, will 3rd gen be good enough or should I get the 4th gen?

    I don't need the clearest or best picture.
    The TV I'm casting to is an old Panny 42" TV that I mainly use when I workout.

  2. Ruggy macrumors member

    Jan 11, 2017
    Hi. I think if you only want those few things then an Amazon Fire stick would do you perfectly. Not the old videos though but you don't see too sure about that.
    You wouldn't cast it, you would use the apps on the stick (or the Apple tv for that matter) which connect to your router by wifi. It would give you Netflix, You tube (via Firefox) Peloton and Prime videos of course amongst other things.
    I have both. I'm not sure the apple TV does any more then the fire stick except give me access to content from iTunes which you haven't mentioned.
    Chromecast is way more tricky to use and a bit of a pain. I used to have one but never much liked it.
    But the fire stick is about $30 and has a better remote control then Apple TV (never quite responds the way I want), the image quality is as good and presumably you are trying to save money which is why you don't want the latest (don't blame you).
    I've used both on an old Panny and as long as you have HDMI, they both work fine.
    Give it a look anyway because there's a huge difference in price and it might be just what you need.
  3. SamuraiSam33 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2011
    It would be pretty tough to track down a 3rd Gen apple TV outside of secondhand sales on Craigslist etc. Functionality is quite limited compared to the fourth gen, and it won't tackle one of your needs: There is no app store and therefore no 3rd party apps available for the 3rd gen Apple TV, so you could not use the Peloton Digital App. If you want to install an app on your Apple TV, get a 4th gen. No need for the 4k unless its going to a 4k TV.
  4. Jedi5 thread starter macrumors 6502a


    Aug 16, 2009
    North Burbs, IL
    @Ruggy -

    I have Chromecast on 2 TVs and they work fine on my iphone/ipad.
    No complaints at all.
    The problem is that Chromecast is not compatible with iphone/Peloton app.
    All the Peloton reps say Apple TV will work.
    They weren't sure if fire stick would work. For every yes I was told, I also got a no.
    I guess I have to go out and buy a FS to know for sure.

    @SamuraiSam33 -

    Thanks for the tip about no app store on 3rd gen.
    But if I have the apps on my iPhone/ipad, won't that work with a 3rd gen?
    I just hit play on Peloton app on my iPad and it casts/streams to the 3rd gen TV?
    ( i don't know how apple tv works btw...)

    thanks again!
  5. SamuraiSam33, Jan 5, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2019

    SamuraiSam33 macrumors newbie

    Sep 30, 2011
    Apple's equivalent of "Casting" is called AirPlay. The 3rd Gen appleTV introduced in 2012 is capable of AirPlay. The 3rd gen is really a minor model update to 2010's 2nd gen apple TV with a slightly faster processor and a bump in video output from 720p to 1080p. Analogous to how the 5th gen "4k" ATV is a minor model update to the 4th gen ATV going from a dual to triple core processor, another gig of ram, and a video resolution output bump. The 4th Gen introduced in 2015 has a faster processor, more RAM, much better user interface, years of support and current software updates whereas the 3rd gen was phased out in Oct '16 and its last update was to add an Amazon video app in '17. Like any other tech, newer ATV's are snappier and can do the same task better than older models. You'll notice this particularly when streaming from a Mac to an ATV and can compare display lag between the Mac's monitor and the TV displaying the Apple TV.

    Especially knowing you want to stream off the Mac that reinforces my suggestion of the 4th gen ATV. Using an iPad or iPhone to play video files off a Mac and AirPlay to an AppleTV is a roundabout way to ensure a subpar, frustrating lagfest. Using PLEX or VLC on the 4th/5th gen AppleTV is much simpler. You can use your iPhone as an Apple TV remote to search such a library easily with a keyboard, and on the 4th gen can also use your voice to search (Again, using either the remote or your phone as remote).

    You could also, if you wanted to put in minimal effort, could use Subler to repackage files in your VLC library and make them more Mac friendly so you can incorporate them into your iTunes video library for native streaming on your iPhone/iPad/appleTV.

    I have used ATV's from 2nd to 5th gen, and currently own 3rd and 4th gen units.

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