The Apple TV 4K streaming media box may be the best money can buy (especially for those already in the Apple ecosystem), but it’s also one of the most expensive. It’s faster and more responsive than almost all competitors, with excellent support for HDR and surround sound, including Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.
But at a starting price of $179, it’s also two or three times as much as other 4K streaming boxes. If you stream a lot, the better experience is probably worth it, but the last thing you want to do is buy one right before a new model comes out. Here’s our recommendation on whether now is a good time to buy the Apple TV 4K or not.
Editor’s Note: Apple also sells the Apple TV HD, starting at $149. Although it comes with the new Siri Remote, it’s a very old product (six years!) and we don’t recommend it to anyone.
Apple TV 4K: Prices and Specifications
Last update: May 2021
Apple has been selling streaming TV media boxes since 2007 – even before the iPhone! The first Apple TV 4K was released in 2017 and a second generation version appeared very recently, in May 2021.
The new Apple TV 4K is the same price ($179 for 32GB, $199 for 64GB) and design as the previous model. But it upgrades the A10X processor for an A12, allowing it to play 4K HDR video at up to 60 fps. It also supports ARC and eARC. Perhaps the most significant upgrade is the new Siri Remote, which went from one of the worst Apple products to a really nice and functional way to control the Apple TV.
Apple TV 4K is available in both 32GB and 64GB versions, but most people won’t need the 64GB model. Most streaming apps don’t take up much space, so we recommend that most users don’t spend extra for 64GB.
Apple TV 4K: why you should buy
Apple usually waits a long time between Apple TV hardware releases. The current model went on sale in May 2021, so we don’t think there will be another until spring 2023, or maybe even later. It’s also often found on sale (at the time of writing, you can buy it for $119 from Best Buy or Amazon in the US). It is more expensive than other high-end streaming media boxes, but also one of the best, with great features, quality and performance.
Apple TV 4K: why you should wait
There have been rumors about an updated Apple TV device for quite some time now. Depending on who you believe, it could be in the last quarter of 2022 or the first half of 2023. It’s not really known how much better it will be than the current model – the focus seems to be on lowering production costs more than anything else. If you’re not in a rush to buy, it won’t hurt to wait.
Macworld recommends: BUY
The new Apple TV 4K was released more than a year ago, but we don’t think a new model will be available until 2023. If you want to use something this fall and winter, you should go ahead and buy. It’s made all the more tempting by the fact that you can often find it on sale at a significant discount. While the Apple TV 4K costs $179 from Apple, you can pick it up from Amazon for $119 at the time of writing.