Future is now

Apple TV 4K

Fewer features

Apple TV HD

The Apple TV 4K is the best version of this product Cupertino has ever made. It's fast, offers excellent video capability, and has nearly every app you can think of, including every live TV streaming service for you cord cutters out there. Still, there's no denying it's pricey.

From $179 at Apple

Pros

  • HDR10 and Dolby Vision support
  • Great lineup of 4K titles in the iTunes Store
  • Dolby Atmos support

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Siri Remote can be unintuitive

First introduced in 2015, the Apple TV HD includes the same interface as the 2017 Apple TV 4K. However, it's lacking important internals that should make most think twice before buying. However, it's still worth considering for certain would-be buyers.

$149 at Apple

Pros

  • Great price
  • Content the same as 4K
  • Same interface as 4K

Cons

  • Not that much less expensive than 4K
  • Older internals

The Apple TV 4K provides much more than a better video format versus the HD model. It also supports better audio, offers more storage, and is speedier than its predecessor.

Break it down now...

Apple TV 4K

If you've purchased a TV in the last few years, the odds are good you bought one offering 4K resolution. This distinction refers to any resolution with a horizontal pixel count of approximately 4,000. The Apple TV 4K offers a maximum of 3840x2160 pixels, while the HD model supports 1920x1080 pixels. Beyond this, the 4K supports HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos, unlike the older model.

With HDR10, the picture offers brighter, more realistic colors and greater detail.

Dolby Vision is Dolby Laboratories' vision of HDR, which it says goes beyond standard HDR. Dolby Atmos, by contrast, is the company's fully immersive three-dimensional audio product. The Apple TV 4K is the first streaming player to be both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos certified.

The Apple TV 4K has an Apple A10X Fusion CPU versus the Apple A8 found on the older model. The A10X features four cores in total, with two of those considered high-performance cores. It has been designed to be over 50% faster than the A8. The speed difference isn't nearly as significant as it would be on a mobile device like iPhone or iPad, except when it comes to gaming. If you're planning on using your Apple TV for gaming, you'll want to get the Apple TV 4K, along with Apple's new Arcade subscription service.

Don't have a 4K television yet? You can still buy an Apple TV 4K and take advantage of the better internals.

Note: Both Apple TV models support tvOS 13 and offer the same content, including video, music, apps, and games. Additionally, both will support Cupertino's upcoming Apple TV+ premium video service.

Apple TV 4K Apple TV HD
Released 2017 2015
Price $179/$199 $149
Storage 32GB/64GB 32GB
Max resolution 2160p (4K) 1080p (HD)
HDR10 Yes No
Dolby Vision Yes No
Dolby Atmos Yes No
Voice control Siri Siri
Apple TV Plus Yes Yes
tvOS 13 compatible Yes Yes
CPU Apple 10X Fusion Apple A8
Wi-Fi 802.11ac 802.11ac
Bluetooth Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 4.0

You might think that the Apple TV HD is worth it despite the less powerful internals thanks to its lower price, but with only a $30 price difference between the two, it has become increasingly difficult to recommend the HD version. Gamers and anyone with a 4K television should bypass the HD model altogether.

If you aren't into gaming, don't have a 4K television (and don't plan to get one anytime soon), the HD is still great to have. After all, the set-top boxes offer identical content. Otherwise, go with the 4K model. Gamers should buy the 64GB model.

The best you can buy

Apple TV 4K

A great streaming box.

With support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, the presence of almost every video service, and speedy performance, the Apple TV 4K is a worthy addition to the home theater setup of any Apple fan, hampered primarily by its high relative price.

Limited workhorse

Apple TV HD

Not for most users in 2019

The Apple TV HD is an aging entertainment box. Despite this, it does offer the same great content as the 4K model. If you're not into gaming and don't have a 4K TV, find one of these on sale and enjoy.

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