Apple TV FAQ: Everything you need to know!

The rumors are true: There's a new Apple TV flying in, soon to be breathing life into living rooms everywhere. Here's everything you need to know about Apple's next step into television.

General | tvOS | Apps & Games | Music & Photos | The Siri Remote | Accessibility


The big question: When is it coming out?

Unsurprisingly, Apple's decided to avoid picking a date, settling instead on the wonderfully-vague "late October".

What's it going to cost?

A new Apple TV will run you $149 for the 32GB model; if you want 64GB of storage for your movies, tv shows, and other information, you're looking at $199.

If you're just looking at getting the baseline third-generation box, that remains at $69.

How big is it?

It's a little chunkier than previous Apple TVs, though not nearly as large as a Tivo or cable box. According to Apple's website, the new Apple TV is 1.3 inches tall by 3.9 inches wide, and 3.9 inches deep; it weighs about 15 ounces.

We've got some specs on the new Apple TV remote, too: It's 4.88 inches tall—yes, taller than the Apple TV itself—and 1.5 inches wide, with a depth of 0.25 inches. It weighs 1.66 ounces.

What's the Apple TV look like under the hood?

First and foremost, it's gotten a huge speed bump over its predecessor: The fourth-generation Apple TV sports an A8 processor to the third-generation's A5. This lets it tap into Apple's Metal video framework as well as gives it the backbone to run great video, games, and other applications.

On the connectivity side, you're looking at 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, Bluetooth 4.0, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, and an IR receiver; for ports, the Apple TV has been reduced to a single HDMI 1.43 port and a USB-C port for service and firmware updates. Gone is the optical out port, sadly, for those who liked driving speakers directly through their box.

What about video and audio support?

Like its predecessor, the fourth-generation Apple TV supports H.264 video up to 1080p at 60FPS, along with other forms of H.264 codecs, MPEG-4 video, and AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, Audible, Apple Lossless, AIFF, and WAV audio formats.

Buh? No 4K? But the new iPhone shoots it!

I know, I know. It's a bummer, but 4K is just exiting its nascent, expensive technology phase this year—it may not have been financially feasible to put together a 4K Apple TV in 2015. As you noted, however, fictional question-asker, the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus do shoot in 4K—so Apple's definitely aware of the format and I wouldn't be surprised to see support come in 2016.


What's the Apple TV running under the hood?

Well, given this section's name, it may not be too hard to guess: Yes, we do have a new variant flavor of iOS on the block, called tvOS. It uses many of iOS's frameworks—like Metal, Apple's graphics performance engine—to provide a gorgeous, speedy interface for your television. AND: It runs third-party apps.

What's the interface look like now?

The formerly-black Apple TV UI has been lightened to a shimmery grey, with iOS 9 blurs and parallax poster and app icons that jiggle as you swipe to them.

The grid of retangular icons with poster previews remains mostly identical, with one new change: The first five app icon slots have become the Apple TV equivalent of your Dock, labeled here as your Top Shelf. By default, these are iTunes Movies, iTunes TV Shows, App Store, Photos, and Music, but you can switch these out for any third-party app of your choice.

When you swipe to any of these apps, you'll get a content preview of floating movie poster icons and the like, customized for the app in question. (Netflix, for example, could show you your recently-watched TV shows and movies, or "recommended for you" list.)

There are also custom cinematic screensavers that display time-lapsed movement in a variety of well-known cities; each screensaver hooks in to your local time, as well, displaying the appropriate morning, day, or night scene.

I heard something about an Enhanced Speech feature? What's that?

One of the Apple TV's new settings is Enhanced Speech, which is similar to Sonos's Night mode: It ups sound for voices and lowers background noise and music, making it easier to watch at night without upsetting other members of your household. You'll be able to trigger it using Siri, as well as (likely) through the Settings app.

Can the third-generation Apple TV run tvOS?

Sadly, not so much. The third-generation Apple TV's A5 chip is positively ancient by iOS standards—it's what was in the first-generation iPad mini—and would make it highly difficult for third-party developers to support apps on that platform.

That said, we expect the third-generation Apple TV to get some sort of UI refresh/update when the fourth-generation lands later this year—Apple Music's coming to the Apple TV, of course, and HBO, Netflix, Hulu, and Showtime certainly aren't going anywhere.

Wait, you said App Store... can developers finally make apps for the Apple TV?

Yes! For the first time, developers will have access to an Apple TV SDK in the form of tvOS. While Apple TV apps won't be quite as full-featured as third-party iOS programs, developers will still be able to take advantage of a bunch of different frameworks including Metal, UIKit, CloudKit, Game Center, and On-Demand Resources.

Wait, "on-demand resources"... will third-party apps have size restrictions on Apple TV?

In part, yes. To keep users from downloading gigantic files when their use of the app may only require a few dozen megabytes, Apple offers On-Demand Resources. The initial app download from the App Store is limited to 200 MB; from there, developers can package up downloadable bundles that only download when the user needs to access those resources.

For example, you might download a game that has the first five levels as part of the initial download bundle; when you're about to finish the fifth, the game might call the resources from the server for the next ten.

I saw something about bundling iOS and tvOS apps? Are they the same thing now?

Not quite. While the App Store will provide ways for users to buy "bundled" apps on different operating systems—for instance, you could buy a bundle of a hypothetical PCalc Apple TV app and the PCalc iOS app together for a reduced price than buying each separately—developers will still have to build two separate apps. In essence, this is just a way to more easily pick up different versions of a developer's software without having to hunt each down on their respective platform.

Apps & Games

So the new Apple TV is "all about apps," huh?

That's the gist of it. Apple's calling apps "the future of television," which is not only great marketing for them—as my buddy Jason Snell said, if you don't have broadcast content to market, it's definitely not a future you want to paint—but it's also pretty true: People want a-la-carte subscriptions and signups, and the Apple TV is all too happy to make it happen.

TV apps aren't just limited to movies, TV shows, and music, however: You're going to be able to get all sorts of apps on the Apple TV. Games. Shopping. Weather. Recommendations. Sky's the limit.

Apps are the future of television. Think about it. On your mobile devices and computers, you already use apps such as Netflix, Hulu, WatchESPN, and iTunes to watch TV shows. And that's exactly where TV in the living room is headed. Apps have liberated television. They allow you to make individual choices about what you want to watch. And when and where you want to watch it. With the new Apple TV and its powerful new tvOS, developers are creating experiences that will change what you expect from your big screen, making your TV feel as personal as your iPhone or iPad.

What apps are built in to Apple TV?

When you get a fourth-generation Apple TV, you should have access to iTunes Movies, iTunes TV Shows, the App Store, Photos, and Music. In addition, there are subscription options built in (and, I imagine, the apps along with the subscription) for HBO, Netflix, Showtime, Hulu, NHL, NBA, and the MLB.

What other third-party apps are developers making?

There are a bunch! Here are the apps Apple has mentioned so far:

  • Watch ABC
  • CNNGo
  • FoxNow
  • Youtube
  • PBS
  • PBS Kids
  • USA Now
  • WatchESPN
  • WatchDisney
  • ABC News
  • NBC Sports
  • Airbnb
  • Gilt

Does that include games?

Not even remotely. Gaming is a whole subsection of the Apple TV app-a-palooza: We expect to see many, many gaming ventures on the Apple TV when it's released later this year. Between the Metal framework, support for custom controllers, multiplayer support (when you connect additional iPhones), and awesome APIs, there's a whole lot of potential here.

What games have developers announced?

Here's what's appeared on Apple's website so far (game descriptions courtesy Apple):

  • Manticore Rising: Embark on an epic battle for the universe while carrying out various side missions in the latest installment of the popular Galaxy on Fire space shooter series.
  • Rayman Adventures: Explore mythical worlds with the fearless adventurer Rayman and his viking companion Barbara on an exciting quest to rescue the Incrediballs.
  • Shadowmatic: Stretch your imagination with this 3D puzzle game in which you rotate abstract objects in a spotlight to create recognizable shadow silhouettes.
  • Transistor: Fight your way through a futuristic city using an extraordinary weapon of unknown origin in this sci-fi themed action game.
  • Guitar Hero: Take the stage and perform as a rock star with a real band, in front of a real crowd. Fight the stage fright, rock out, and bring the house down.

You mentioned custom game controllers... how so?

While game developers can easily build games for the Siri Remote, using its built-in touch pad, accelerometer, and gyroscope for all sorts of fun, there are going to be gamers that want a traditional controller. For them, Apple's opened up connectivity on the Apple TV to support third-party controllers that have gone through the company's MFi program. Any custom controller can connect via the Apple TV's Bluetooth 4.0 network.

Can you use your iPhone as a remote to play games on the new Apple TV?

It looks like you may be able to, yes! If you're playing a game with a multiplayer option, you may be able to launch the app in question on your iPhone and connect to its tvOS counterpart. You can also, of course, just AirPlay any iPhone game to your Apple TV.

How does the Remote work as a game controller?

To use the Siri Remote as a game controller, you'll rotate it 90 degrees, Wii-style, with the touch pad nearest your left hand. Thanks to the remote's built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, you can use all the same tilting and movement gestures you might use when playing a game on your iPhone—except this time, you'll be looking ahead at the TV screen, not down at your controller.

Swiping on the pad now works as a directional pad, moving your character or active object within the game. Tapping on the pad varies, depending on what the game's been programmed to do.

Firmly pressing or clicking on the touch pad is the equivalent of the "A" or primary button, while the Play/Pause button works as a "B" or secondary button. (You can also press Play/Pause at any time to skip cut scenes and intro videos.)

To pause or resume gameplay, return to a previous screen, or (eventually) return to the Apple TV Home screen, press the Menu button. (You can also double-press the Menu button to bring up the Apple TV's multitasking bar.)

Music & Photos

So Apple's keeping music and photos around on the Apple TV?

Yup, with new apps, to boot. The new Music app hooks into the company's Apple Music subscription service along with iTunes Match, while the Photos app chats with iCloud. It's not quite clear whether the fourth-generation Apple TV will connect to your full iCloud Photo Library or just iCloud Photo Sharing, but we're looking into it.

What about Home Sharing? Is that sticking around?

Though there's no "Computer" icon in any of Apple's marketing materials for the new Apple TV, the company's website confirms that Home Sharing will remain a feature in tvOS: Under the System Requirements section of the box's tech specs, Apple notes that "iTunes purchasing and renting and Home Sharing require iTunes Store account."

Not the most graceful way of acknowledging Home Sharing's continued presence on the Apple TV, but it's there.

What can I do with the Music app on Apple TV?

Pretty much everything you can do in iTunes or the Music app on iOS: You'll be able to listen to your music, view artists on Connect, listen to the Apple Music catalog (if subscribed), rock out to Beats 1 or any other radio stations, and more.

What about your photos and home video?

You'll access these from the Photos app. This information all comes from either your Home Sharing account or iCloud, so make sure you have one of those two enabled.

Can you still AirPlay stuff?

Absolutely: AirPlay is enabled with the new Apple TV, as is full-screen Mirroring. Even better, the set-top box supports peer-to-peer AirPlay, so your friends never have to connect to a Wi-Fi network to use AirPlay.

The Siri Remote

Tell me about the Siri Remote. How do you use it?

The fourth-generation Apple TV's new remote is pretty great: It has a multitouch pad, buttons for triggering Menu, the Home screen, and Siri, and can control play/pause and volume of your content.

Even better, turn it 90 degrees to the left, and it doubles as a game remote, with accelerometer and gyroscope sensors built in.

And perhaps my favorite feature of all: It uses Bluetooth to talk to your Apple TV, not IR—so you never have to worry about getting your remote in perfect line of sight again—and it intelligently talks to your TV so that when you turn it on, you automatically swap to the Apple TV's input, and can control the TV's power and volume.

If it chirped when you lost it in the couch cushions, it would basically be the best remote ever.

There's a wrist strap, right?

Yup, for gaming. But it's not included—it'll be sold separately for an as of yet unknown cost.

How do you charge this crazy thing?

Via Lightning cable. Thankfully, you should be doing this very rarely, thanks to the months-long embedded battery.

Let's talk touch screen. What can I do with this?

The Siri Remote has three distinct movements: Swipe, Tap, and Click.

Swipe is your primary way of moving throughout items on the screen; you can move your finger in small swipes to activate an individual icon's parallax feature, or use big swipes to move through icons and menus quickly. You can also use slow or fast side-to-side swipes within a piece of content to scrub through a video timeline.

When you lightly tap your finger on the touchscreen glass, this lets you soft select an item and preview it; Click enters you into whatever you've selected. (You can also click-and-hold to enter edit menus in certain apps and interfaces.)

Okay, what about the physical buttons?

You've got six buttons on the face of the Siri Remote: Menu, Home, Siri, Play/Pause, Volume Up, and Volume Down.

Menu brings up a menu or the previous screen, and (eventually) exits you to the Home screen, while the Home button will bring you immediately to the Home screen, and, if held, turn your television on/off. You can also double-press the Menu button to bring up the multitasking bar.

Pressing the Siri button triggers Apple TV's Siri interface; Play/Pause does what it says on the tin, as does Volume Up/Down.

How does Siri's search feature work?

When you press the Siri button, the Siri waveform appears over the bottom third of your screen, ready to command. Speak into the remote and you can trigger Siri's search with something as basic as "Show me new comedies" or "I want to watch Mr. Robot."

Siri searches across any and all content apps you have installed, pulling up the movie's title screen along with all the services you have installed that support watching it.

From here, you can make follow-up or more contextual search commands: "I want to watch Sci-fi movies." "Only the ones with Leonard Nimoy." "Only the good ones."

What countries will Siri be supported in?

At launch, the Apple TV's Siri feature will work in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom, and the United States.

What else can Siri do?

Quite a bit! Though not as full-featured as its iOS sibling, Siri on the Apple TV can still hold its own. You can launch apps; see sports scores, weather, and stocks; see who starred in whatever you're watching; control play/pause, launch settings; and even turn on Enhanced Speech or closed captioning. I suspect "What did he just say?" is going to become a common command in my house.

Courtesy Apple's website, here are some common phrases you'll be able to use to address Siri on the Apple TV:

  • "Play from the beginning"
  • "Turn on closed captioning"
  • "What's the temperature outside?"
  • "Who is winning the Cubs game?"
  • "Fast-forward two minutes"
  • "Launch Beat Sports"
  • "What did he just say?"
  • "Turn on Enhanced Speech"
  • "Who directed this movie?"

Can I use my iPhone to control the fourth-generation Apple TV?

No word officially on this yet, but we're assuming that the Remote app will see an update before the fourth-generation Apple TV is released.


What's accessibility on the Apple TV like?

Pretty great if you're hearing- or vision-impaired: Apple TV and tvOS support a lot of the accessibility features previously found in iOS, including VoiceOver, Zoom, Bold Text, Increase Contrast, Reduce Motion, and Closed Captioning and SDH. You can trigger your preferred accessibility features by triple-clicking the Menu button.

Any other questions?

Shout out in the comments and we'll get you taken care of.

Serenity Caldwell

Serenity was formerly the Managing Editor at iMore, and now works for Apple. She's been talking, writing about, and tinkering with Apple products since she was old enough to double-click. In her spare time, she sketches, sings, and in her secret superhero life, plays roller derby. Follow her on Twitter @settern.

  • How will things like Family Sharing and Game Centre work? Will there be multiple user accounts? If there's games, surely there needs to be way for each different family member to use their on account?
  • TBD, we're looking into it.
  • I expect that people working on the Apple TV team also have families and it would be strange for them not to take this into consideration. I don't want the kids on my Apple Music account 'hearting' One Direction songs.
    The Photos app is another one, there should be an option for it to be the Family album, rather than just my photos.
    The Apple TV is a family Apple product mostly used in the main family room.
  • I agree. Really hope they've thought it through. With each individual having their own Music, Photos, and Game Centre account, surely they must have factored that into the shared Apple TV device?? Here's hoping...
  • The 32 vs 64 drive space is interesting? What is going to take up all that space? What would be filling up the 64 if the apps are only 200 MB?
  • Yeah I am curious about that as well. I wonder if the streaming that apps can do for game levels will use up the space temporarily until something else gets a higher priority and space is made available as needed. but the 200 MB app itself gets priority to stay on the Apple TV.
  • See:
  • No; you're way off base. It's 200MB for initial download, then the game can download any assets it needs to local storage after the app is installed. The assets don't 'stream'.. they get downloaded.. You'll still see 1.GB or larger games, just not part of the initial installation. The reason is to force game devs to only download assets that apply to the hardware in question. This started with customers who had older iPads or iPhones that were loosing space to retina assets that could never be used. An example that applies here; Say, a new 4k ATV5 comes out in a few years, you still have the ATV4 - yours won't download the 4k assets because it cannot handle it.. Asset management is what the 200MB limit is about.
  • Well I did say "I wonder" which means I didn't know....
  • Shame on you Barry Boy!
  • Hello,
    Apps will play a big factor as far as space goes since some games can go to a maximum of 2GB. Photos and videos can be stored on it as well.
  • If you have multiple Apple devices in the room, and they all have Siri "always on," what happens when you say Hey Siri? Will all the clones say "How can I help you," or will they intelligently know which device you're addressing?
  • ATV doesn't offer Siri always-on; you have to press a button. Currently, only devices that will do this are the iPhones 6s and 6s Plus.
  • Gotcha. So when you click the button you don't need to say Siri's name. I'm still curious though (outside of ATV) what will happen to the two iPhones 6's we usually have in the same room, if they're both "always on" (which is a cool feature) I'm guessing they're both going to wake up when one of us calls to our phone. Perhaps individual voice ID is coming soon? Otherwise, one of us has to turn off our Siri. That'll be a fun discussion. :-)
  • I wished they talked about Homekit. It would be nice if someone made an app that could tell you what device is on in each room, with the ability to turn it on and off with the remote. I also don't understand the 200mb limit when the device is connected to wifi.
  • No 200MB limit: Sadly, the HomeKit API isn't supported in tvOS yet. You can mirror the third-party Home app, though, which I quite like.
  • Thanks for looking this stuff up.
  • I'm wondering if it's going to be in this iteration... the choice of Bluetooth 4.0 itself over 4.2 is an odd one, and the strong rumours circulating about Homekit before release, a subject not even mentioned in the demo (let alone the 4k or the lower level of Ethernet etc). It's not even out yet, and although I will probably get one, I'm also kind of wondering whether it's worth waiting 12 months for the next version which might have all these things and a bit more longevity...
  • About Home Sharing: In the intro video in the keynote, there's an orange icon with a laptop and a triangular play button. Maybe that's what used to be called "Computers." A question: Specs make mention of 1080p output. I still have a 720p TV that I use with the current Apple TV, and I'm hoping I don't need to get a new TV. Any word on TV requirements? Also I'm interested in how much control the Siri Remote has over the TV - They mentioned volume and IR and CEC...
  • Good eye! That's a logical assumption. You should be fine, 1080p is the max size, not min. :) Siri Remote controls volume, on/off, and auto-switches to the proper input when the on button is used.
  • Unfortunately (in the current developer version, anyways), it appears that HomeKit is NOT supported. In the developer notes, there is a list of what has been removed (compared to iOS), and HomeKit related stuff is in that list (along with GPS and other things that are non-sensical to the Apple TV).
  • well that sucks....
  • Yep. This may be something that's fixed down the line, as it may be a security/permissions thing within the API they need to tweak first.
  • I would like to see a webbrowser!
    Watching 3D movies would also be nice. Sent from the iMore App
  • Great piece! I'm very glad to hear about Home Sharing - I've been worried about that but still have three questions: 1.) Will Siri search include metadata on video files shared via Home Sharing? I have over 1000 movies loaded on iTunes (not purchased through iTunes) and accessed now via Home Sharing - I'm really hoping Siri will include those movies in the results when I ask to watch a *fill-in-the-blank* movie; 2.) Will I be able to summon Siri on the Apple TV via the Apple Watch rather than the new Siri Apple TV remote? This would be nice because it would allow me to continue to use my Harmony Ultimate remote with our entertainment system and, when I want Siri on the new Apple TV I could use my watch rather than having to pull out a second remote; 3.) Will the new Siri remote be able to switch inputs on the TV? I know it can turn TV on, change volume and uses CEC, would be interesting if it could also change inputs....
  • I'm interested in this, too, particularly since we'll use Apple TV for most of our entertainment stuff. Any idea if it will grab the codes for our Denon receiver, so that goes on at the same time as the TV and Apple TV box?
  • 1) Not sure, we're looking into it. 2) Also looking into it, but I'd assume so with an update to 3) It doesn't look like it has an option to switch inputs, but we'll see.
  • Thank you Serenity - great work on this! Really appreciate you looking into these things!
  • Any response on #1 yet? Is Home Sharing accessible via Siri similar to Hulu/iTunes?
  • Just set up my new AppleTV. I cannot get the Siri search function to find any of the movies in my home-sharing collection. I have used iFlicks to create full metadata for all the DVD's in my collection that I ripped into my library. Searching for a movie only fines a comparable iTunes or Netflix movie. Unless there is some here-to-fore unknown metadata tag needed, it seems that the "Home Sharing" app does not participate in the system wide search. Additionally, when one is win the "Home Sharing" app, if you attempt to search from the list of movies (for example) it won't find movies in the list; it only seems to use the systemwide search. If anyone else finds something different, or figures out the magic incantation to make it work, please share! This is a pretty big disappointment; some of the movies in my collection just don't exist in any of the other services and even when they do I'd like the option of serving it locally rather than (re)streaming it from the Internet.
  • I also have an iTunes library shared via Home Sharing with over 1,000 titles. I really hoped that the AppleTV4 would search this library but it doesn't. I populated the meta data with MetaX/MetaZ. The Home Sharing UI is very cumbersome when you have a lot of movies and the new Apple TV doesn't change it at all. I'm very disappointed.
  • 3D TV's seem to be disappearing.. being replaced by 4K screens. Thank goodness! 3D gives me a headache.
  • I would really like to know what is the range for the remote, since my Apple TV is in the basement and my TV in the living room on the 1st floor. Right now I control my Apple TV with an Harmony remote, but to play game and use Siri, use the new glass input, etc I will need to use the Apple TV remove.
  • Bluetooth range, so you're looking at 40-100FT.
  • Did you buy one, and were you able to use the remote with your tv in the basement? This is my setup as well, but with the Universal MX-780 remote.
  • No I didn't buy one yet, so I'm still not sure if it's going to work or not. Even if you look at specs for bluetooth, it all depends how it's implemented in the device.
  • Ok, thank you.
  • Do we expect an Amazon Prime app now that Apps can be loaded?
  • This is what I want to know too. Is Amazon going to finally be available on the ATV?
  • TBD. We'll see. :)
  • I hope they allow it, it will be hard for them to provide a good enough excuse not to allow it. I am hoping a good Plex app gets released as well.
  • 1. Would Amazon want its app on a competing device? Prior to this almost every device out there had an Amazon Prime app (TVs, Blu-ray players, Roku, etc.) except the Apple TV. Why? Who decided against it? 2. Would Apple allow a competing service? Why? Why not? Because of reason 1. above it was certainly possible for the Amazon app to be on previous versions of the Apple TV. Why didn’t they?
  • I'm with you on this one ikrupp. . 1. Amazon should want to be on Apple TV, like they provide a Kindle app for iOS devices. BUT, if so, would Apple want a reciprocal agreement to put iTunes on Fire TV? ibooks probably isn't on Amazon tablets. OTOH Would Apple charge Amazon a %fee for 'in app' movie purchases on ATV? Right now, it's not clear which one (or both) is responsible for Amazon not being on ATV. 2. Apple might worry about competition from Amazon prime if on the new ATV, but if they don't include it as an app, many Prime customers who have access to a lot of 'free' streaming video will have to get either a Roku or a firestick and have two boxes (like I do now) for iTunes and prime. And once you switch boxes to watch prime, Apple has lost their hook. I'm hoping in a year or so Apple will convince LG or some other OLED TV maker to do a carplay like thing and have TVOS as the operating system for their Smart TVs.. Android is already on Sony. Samsung put the mess that is Tizen on their smart TVs. And no, my name isn't Munster.
  • I want to know what happens with Apple Music and Game Centre on a communal device like the TV. Is there multiple account support so that I can listen to my music and the kids can listen to theirs?.. and can I earn achievements on my GC account when playing games on the TV? Also, with optical audio support gone, does tvOS inherit Bluetooth audio device pairing from iOS? Sent from the iMore App
  • Great article, as always!! Very happy with this update, but bummed about optical audio being omitted. I use ATV for my business and home use and can't wait to see the apps produced for it. I hope Apple will make Keynote an option. I can always AirPlay a presentation, but would love to have it built in. Sent from the iMore App
  • Everybody says they’re bummed out about the removal of the optical audio port. None of the current Roku devices have the port. If you want digital audio it’s HDMI or nothing. Same goes for the Fire Stick and Chromecast. So if you absolutely have to have an optical port you’re going to have a hard time finding anything that does that’s worth it. The optical port is definitely a legacy port and we all know how Apple likes to abandon legacy ports don’t we.
  • Was there any mention of the ability to download Itunes Movies and TV shows to the hard drive in the future? Sounds like the 200 MB limit would prohibit this, but it that changes and you could download movies like on the ipad/iphone, would help cut down on the potential of itunes movies/shows being choppy or buffering due to Wifi limitations. If so, would give more of a reason to have the 64 gb version over the 32 gb.
  • I'm interested to know if it will let you send AirPlay sound to more than one AirPlay speaker (like iTunes on the desktop (if you can still call it that?!)) or whether it's still stuck sending sound to one device.
  • It's missing Bluetooth audio for headphones/speakers. It's also, at least for now, missing the Plex and Amazon Instant Video apps...
  • Good job writing this article Serenity Caldwell! Good job...very good job.
  • Will the new ATV support VPN apps and configurations like iOS devices?
  • 4K: although not supported on launch, as far as hardware, Apple is using the HDMI 1.4 spec, which, among other things, allows 4K at 30fps only, so, maybe a firmware update will allow this at some future time? It is important to point out, however, standards have just been set for UltraHD that include HDR & WCG, which requires the brand new HDMI 2.0a spec. So, maybe not. HDMI 1.4 also is good for other things such as deep color, controlling other HDMI connected devices (volume, auto-source selection etc.). ...Another future option could be 3D, if apple goes forward with their rumored glasses-free 3D under development. Sent from the iMore App
  • Forgive me if this was previously asked. Does the new hardware have a solid state hard drive? I assume so but for those very reasonable prices I just have to ask?
    And the metallic underside of the Siri Remote is it silver silver or space gray silver? Sent from the iMore App
  • Great article, as usual. My question is about my very large iTunes library of TV shows and movies. With no computer icon how do I access them? Will Siri search my local library? We exclusively use Apple TVs in all rooms to access my library so it's very important to me.
  • I am also very interested in this question - it will be the buy / don't buy switch for me. Without access to my (extensive) local media library this will be a dud.
  • Really great overview, thanks. One thing I haven't been able to figure out is why there's an IR Receiver when the remote talks to the AppleTV via Bluetooth. Any thoughts on that? Like one of the other posters, I'll have the unit in a utility room and the TV and remote in another room nearby. Bluetooth is great, but if I also need IR from the remote, I'd need to set up an IR receiver and a separate blaster in the remote room...thanks for any insights in advance!
  • Hello, the apple tv allows you to set up an IR controller(i.e. your controller for your tv) to work with the apple tv. You just go to the settings and remote control setting and set it up by holding up button on your tv controller or whatever controller you want to use with it as the up button and down button for the down button and so forth. It's pretty useful if you only want one controller for your tv and apple tv. I use this feature for my apple tv.
  • Can you attach USB drives to use as external storage?
    Will the Plex app run on it?
    Does it have a sensor similar to the Xbox connect to recognize people and sign them in? Think content management to restrict access to adult content from minors.
  • Can Siri search for content I have in my iTunes library that I stream to my Apple TV? I rip most of my DVDs so these are the ones I'd want to be able to search with Siri. I'd like to say "Siri, show me the Star Wars movies" and see all of them listed with one of the sources being my own computer. Sent from the iMore App
  • Can the storage space be used to store my music library so that I don't have to have my computer on when streaming music like I do now using Home Sharing on the Apple TV 3?
  • Apple's website indicates that Apple Music won't work on the 3rd generation Apple TV! Why? My iPad mini can play Apple Music.
  • My guess is because Apple Music needs a complex app to run. I mean the damn Apple Music app on the iPhone is about the most complex app I've ever struggled to learn. For instance, the YouTube app on the current ATV can barely do anything. You can't like things, or subscribe, leave comments, etc. Perhaps the hardware in it isn't capable of doing more?
  • "...the YouTube app on the current ATV can barely do anything. You can't like things, or subscribe, leave comments, etc...." YouTube is one of the most crippled "channels" on ATV3, while most channels do allow you to like, add to your list, see a description before watching, etc., so, YouTube is only limited by google's lack of making the channel fully functional, yet, they were strict in bringing ads to the YouTube channel, (which is lame, IMO). So that's all on Google. That being said, I thought Apple told us Music would be coming to ATV with the iOS 9 release? If not, then perhaps the ATV3 does not have enough horsepower, or, Apple is only porting Music as an app, as the only iPods it works with are iPod Touch's compatible with iOS 8.4 or later.
  • I'm by nowhere near as knowledgable as Serenity or Renee, but I believe the ATV4 will be running a new OS called tvOS. I don't know if the 3 is running an early version of this OS, but either way, my guess is the new version of it will be unable to run on the 3. As far as the channels (apps) on the 3, beyond YouTube, I find that most of them are also really terrible. Their systems for creating a watchlist, saving favorites, etc. are almost universally poorly designed and buggy. HBO is one of the better ones, but even it is very feature poor and clunky. PBS has one of the worst. They all feel like barely better than the kind of lame interface your cable provider or TV manufacturer would create. A new tvOS doesn't necessarily mean these apps will be better designed (that's up to their developers) but they will have more functionality and much faster hardware available to them. In the meantime, I'm guessing you already know (but fyi to anyone who may not): if you have any other Apple device in the house you can run Apple Music on that, and AirPlay to the ATV3. Ditto for Podcasts, YouTube, etc.
  • I realize that I do have AirPlay as an option but I was hoping to move my current Apple TV to another room if I buy a new Apple TV for the primary TV room. I wasn't expecting TVos or other apps to work on my third gen box but was hoping Apple music would work. If the 3rd generation and even 2nd generation can handle encrypted video streams from Netflix and iTunes I can't imagine a technical reason it shouldn't be able to handle the Apple music. My original iPad mini has an old processor and handles the music app fine.
  • Sadly they have eliminated one crucial (for me) port from the AppleTV 3 to the 4: TosLink (optical audio). I am not about to dumb a grand to replace my perfect, great sounding Denon receiver that doesn't have HDMI ports (and a few years ago in fact I did try a newer Denon receiver with HDMI ports and it was inferior in every aspect from its amp sound quality to the fact that HDMI audio vs. video going through the receiver were totally out of synch. As much as I would love to get the new AppleTV I'll be sticking to the 3 for a long time to come...
  • Historically Fox and Disney that I use have required TV provider credentials. Will these apps be different? We are planning to cut the cord and been looking at this device. Sent from the iMore App
  • Instead of only voice search or "Siri" will there be a universal keyboard search? Sent from the iMore App
  • You said this supports both Bluetooth and IR. So will this work, with my Harmony 650? Also, will it support Home Theater activities?
  • Got a question. The Apple iPads, iPhones, iPod Touch all have built-in accessibility for the 'Halo" bluetooth hearing aids made by Starkey. This came about as a result of a partnership 'twixt Apple & Starkey. From 'Settings' you click 'General', then 'Accessibilty', and then 'Hearing Aids". This prompts the device to 'Pair' with the Starkey 'Halo' aids. All audio from the device is then streamed to the hearing aids. A wonderful advancement in technology for us hearing impaired folk. My question, and I have asked this in Forums where I assumed someone would know the answer, without success, so my ? is: Will the new Apple TV 'Pair" with the hearing aids, and if so, will it 'Pair' without silencing the regular audio output from the TV? I hope the answer is 'yes' because that will save me a fair bit of cash. Thanks for any information you can provide.
  • Can you download Movies and TV to the device rather than just stream ? Sometimes broadband plays up and it is nice to have pre-downloaded the movie before watching?
  • Hi Serenity, great article thanks. Anyone got any thoughts about how you can connect ATV4 to Sonos Playbar now the optical connection has gone?
  • Can the new Apple TV AirPlay to multiple speakers?
  • No.
  • Can I use the iOS remote app with the new Apple TV? I can't figure out how to pair it.
  • One of the first things I noticed was the Podcast App is missing? Is this an oversight & it's will be coming to the App Store? I would be happy with a Downcast option as well. Also it looks like the remote app for the phone does not work with the new apple TV? Is there an alternative or updated app? This was great just for having keyboard access & entering passwords that you don't want the all viewers seeing!! These are both major issues!!
  • I have the new apptv its great, but does anyone know how to download or watch podcasts?
  • In fourth-generation Apple TV, can I access Siri with my voice alone?
  • Bluetooth headphones: how do I enter the pin?
  • Found today that purchases under family sharing don't show as 'owned' when searched for in movies. Bug?