Apple previewed the original Apple TV — then referred to as iTV — in September of 2006, and again in January of 2007 alongside the original iPhone. Based on a stripped-down version of OS X Tiger and featuring a 40-160GB hard drive, it served only to sync the stuff from iTunes on your computer to your TV. In September of 2010, Apple launched an all-new, second generation Apple TV. Based on iOS, it went from big to small, and from syncing to streaming. It also maxed out at 720p. At least until March 2012 when Apple introduced the third-generation Apple TV when it got the 1080p upgrade.
On September 9, 2015, Apple introduced what it called "the future of television". The fourth-generation Apple TV was a setup box with a Siri Remote, and a brand new UI dubbed tvOS. The Apple TV remote features an area for touch gestures (scrolling through movies for example), voice control via Siri, and physical command buttons.
Siri can be used to search via voice for movies and TV shows on iTunes, Netflix, HBO, Hulu, and Showtime, with more services to be added over time. Siri has been designed to understand when a user says, "Show me family movies, animated only", or "Comedies with Jason Bateman", or even, "Show that Modern Family episode with Edward Norton". Siri can also allow users to skip ahead several minutes in a movie or TV show. It can also skip back 15 seconds with temporary captions when someone says, "What did he/she say?". Apple TV owners can ask Siri who is in a movie while that film is running. It can also get more information like sports scores and weather and overlay it when a movie is running. It also allows users to wipe up for more info while pausing a movie.
On September 12, 2017, Apple gave the Apple TV a major upgrade to Apple TV 4K. As the name suggests, Apple TV now supports 4K HDR. It also supports Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos for incredible sound quality and performance.
You can still buy the 4th-generation Apple TV in 32 GB for $149.
Apple TV 4K comes in either 32GB for $179 or 64GB for $199.
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