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In April 2021, Apple revealed the second-generation Apple TV 4K (2021), bringing high framerate HDR to the Apple TV for the first time and the A12 chip for improved performance, alongside a redesigned Siri Remote.

Apple-TV-4K-1-vs-2.jpg

This model replaced the first-generation Apple TV 4K released in 2017. Although the first-generation Apple TV 4K has now been discontinued by Apple, it is common to find it available at discounted prices with third-party retailers. Some other users who already have the first-generation Apple TV 4K‌ may also be wondering if it is worth the upgrade to the second-generation model.

Should you consider purchasing the first-generation Apple TV 4K to save money, or do you need the second-generation Apple TV 4K? Our guide answers the question of how to decide which of these two Apple TV set-top boxes is best for you.

Comparing the First and Second-Generation Apple TV 4K

The first and second-generation Apple TV 4K models share the same design and a number of key features such as support for resolutions up to 2160p, Dolby Vision, and HDR10:

Similarities

  • Design, dimensions, and weight
  • 2160p, 1080p, 720p, 576p, 480p over HDMI (HDCP capable)
  • SDR, HDR10, Dolby Vision
  • Supports audio output up to 7.1.4 channels and Dolby Atmos
  • HDMI-CEC
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Bluetooth 5
  • AirPlay 2
  • Available in 32GB and 64GB storage configuration options

appletv4kdesign.jpg

There are a large number of important differences between the first-generation Apple TV 4K and the second-generation Apple TV 4K that are worth highlighting, including their processors and remote controls.

Differences


Apple TV 4K (First-Generation)
  • 2.38 GHz hexa-core A10X Fusion chip
  • HDMI 2.0a
  • Wi-Fi 5
  • First-generation Siri Remote

Apple TV 4K (Second-Generation)
  • 2.49 GHz hexa-core A12 Bionic chip
  • Support for high framerate HDR video up to 60-fps
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Wi-Fi 6
  • ARC and eARC*
  • Thread support
  • Second-generation Siri Remote
*according to beta code, not yet enabled



Read on for a closer look at each of these aspects, and see what exactly both of the Apple TV 4K models have to offer.

Click here to read more...

Article Link: Old Apple TV 4K vs. New Apple TV 4K (2nd Gen) Buyer's Guide
 
Last edited:

mnsportsgeek

macrumors 68040
Feb 24, 2009
3,084
3,664
Does the 2nd gen ATV 4K support Quick Media Switching? Honestly, that and 60fps DV are the only selling points for me. Still probably not enough to get me to spend $180 to upgrade from my 1st gen 4K though. Really the only 60fps Dolby Vision content available is stuff you'd shoot on your iphone.

Quick Media Switching that comes with HDMI 2.1 is appealing to get rid of the black screen when switching back and forth between HDR and SDR, but I haven't heard if this box will actually support it.
 
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nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,130
4,420
The only difference in terms of video and audio capabilities between the two Apple TV 4K models is support for high framerate HDR. If this is a feature that is important to you, then you will need to get the second-generation Apple TV 4K.
According to Apple TV's product page, YouTube will also gain highframe rate HDR. Apple TV 4K with A10X is limited to SDR at 24-30 fps 4K (or 60 fps at 1440p).
 
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zorinlynx

macrumors 604
May 31, 2007
6,602
11,104
Florida, USA
One question I have is, is the "TV Power button" programmable?

I don't have any need for it to turn on the TV, as the Apple TV turns the TV and receiver on via CEC. I'd love to program it with the IR code that switches my Denon receiver to the input my iMac is plugged into, though!
 
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Macintosh IIvx

macrumors regular
Mar 19, 2021
147
517
Just not enough for me to update right now. My TV supports HDR at 120Hz at 60fps but there's nearly no content in that format right now. Closest you come is a couple video games on the PS5.

Once there's more high-end 4K content, I'll look to upgrade.
 
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brentsg

macrumors 68040
Oct 15, 2008
3,531
900
I ordered 3 of the new models and can't wait. All of my old ones will replace family members even older devices so it's a win-win. I think they still have some 2012 revisions in use.
 
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WiseAJ

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2009
908
2,645
PDX
Upgrading from a Apple TV HD (The originally labeled 4th gen and bought at launch) to the new 4K
 
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Orange Bat

macrumors member
Mar 21, 2021
90
261
I used an Apple TV HD for years until I got my 4K TV. Then I bought the Fire TV Cube. It’s garbage. I’m planning to order the new Apple TV 4K later this summer (I don’t watch a lot of TV in the summer). I’ll never go with Fire TV again. (However, I do have a couple of Rokus for other rooms in my house)
 
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Sinfonist

macrumors member
Jan 24, 2007
83
53
One question I have is, is the "TV Power button" programmable?

I don't have any need for it to turn on the TV, as the Apple TV turns the TV and receiver on via CEC. I'd love to program it with the IR code that switches my Denon receiver to the input my iMac is plugged into, though!
One solution for this if it doesn't (and you're not absolutely wedded to the Apple Remote) is to get a Logitech Harmony Hub. It also works with other devices. can be voice activated etc. You can programme sequences and triggers for multiple devices, customise buttons, use your iPhone as the remote, control it over wifi (so no silly pointing at the device), ... You can even hide your devices in a cupboard if you want
 
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pipes2181

macrumors newbie
Dec 22, 2020
10
21
Isn’t HFR supposed to be 120 FPS? Wonder if this can be a software update later on so we can finally watch Gemini Man as intended. Or will the Hobbit also be updated in iTunes to support this at 48 fps?
 
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nutmac

macrumors 603
Mar 30, 2004
5,130
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One solution for this if it doesn't (and you're not absolutely wedded to the Apple Remote) is to get a Logitech Harmony Hub. It also works with other devices. can be voice activated etc. You can programme sequences and triggers for multiple devices, customise buttons, use your iPhone as the remote, control it over wifi (so no silly pointing at the device), ... You can even hide your devices in a cupboard if you want
Logitech discontinued the entire Harmony product line.
 
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Chompineer

Suspended
Mar 31, 2020
502
1,172
Ontario
If only Apple could match Nvidia when it comes to upscaling. I love Apple TV's, but the 4k AI Upscaling on my Shield is just miles better.
 
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DB Full

macrumors newbie
May 13, 2021
1
0
Levittown, PA
Anyone know why Apple might not be able to add Thread support to the older Apple TV models? Does it require specific hardware support such as hardware encryption that might not be built into older models?
 
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vc2020

macrumors regular
Nov 15, 2014
164
51
When I got my first 4K TV, I was able to pick up an Apple TV 4K for $50 CAD used and then eventually got a second one for free through my internet provider. I sold them both for $150 CAD and $170 CAD and preordered the upgrade. I got a new OLED and can't wait for the new Apple TV's to arrive.
 
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