Best Apple TV of 2019

Best Apple TV iMore 2019

I spend a lot of time with my Apple TV, whether I've got YouTube on in the background while I work, or I'm checking out the home release of the latest Marvel movie in 4K Dolby Vision. It's how I know which Apple TV will be a great addition to your home theater.

Best Overall: Apple TV 4K (32GB)

The Apple TV 4K is the best streaming box Apple makes. As the name suggests, it supports 4K content, but it also supports HDR and Dolby Vision, which offer outstandingly vibrant colors on supported content. Dolby Atmos support also allows for an immersive audio experience with supported movies.

Coming in 32GB and 64GB models, you might wonder why the smaller storage size was chosen. Honestly, it's mostly about price. As a streaming box, the Apple TV doesn't need to download a lot of video content directly onto the box itself. True, if you want to use a lot of apps, especially games, you might want more storage, but if you mostly use the Apple TV as a video streaming box, save yourself some money and get the 32GB model.

Pros:

  • 4K HDR/Dolby Vision support
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Large 4K content library

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Siri Remote can be frustrating

Best Overall

Apple TV 4K (32GB)

A balance storage space and price.

Apple's 4K streaming box is the best version of this product you can get right now. For most, 32GB of storage should be enough, especially if you're streaming most of your content.

Best Alternative: Apple TV 4K (64GB)

The 64GB version of the Apple TV 4K has exactly the same features as the 32GB version, just with double the storage. This is useful if you download a lot of apps, particularly games. If you like playing games on your Apple TV, you might just want the additional storage.

There are a lot of great looking iOS games that have made the jump to the TV, with even more expected in the fall of 2019 with the release of Apple Arcade, the company's new game subscription service. Part of Apple's push for Arcade is the idea that games will be available across its various devices, as well as games being playable offline. For offline play, you'll need more storage, so the 64GB Apple TV 4K is going to come in handy.

Pros:

  • 4K HDR/Dolby Vision support
  • Dolby Atmos support
  • Large 4K content library
  • A lot of storage for apps and games

Cons:

  • Expensive compared to similar streaming boxes
  • Siri Remote can be frustrating

Best Alternative

Apple TV 4K (64GB)

A lot of room for apps and games.

Featuring the same 4K HDR support as the 32GB model, the 64GB Apple TV 4K is just as good a streaming box, with more storage for your apps and games. But to get that, you'll need to be willing to shell out some cash.

Best on a Budget: Apple TV HD

Though 4K is becoming more widespread, a lot of people still only have HD TVs, and for them, the Apple TV HD, also known as the fourth-generation Apple TV, is really the best option. It supports the same apps as the 4K models, but it uses less bandwidth on your home network and costs less. It doesn't support features like Dolby Atmos, but it should work great with a non-Atmos surround sound system when you use your Apple TV with an A/V receiver. Standard surround sound might not be as immersive as Dolby Atmos, but people have been using it to their great enjoyment for years without missing Atmos.

For many, the biggest issue is going to be storage. The Apple TV HD only comes in a 32GB model, so if you do download a lot of apps and games, and you don't want to shell out for an Apple TV 4K when you won't really be able to take advantage of it's biggest features, then you're out of luck.

Pros:

  • Less expensive than Apple TV 4K
  • Almost everything is in HD
  • Uses less bandwidth
  • USB-C port, if you need that

Cons:

  • Still pricey for an HD streaming box
  • Same frustrating Siri Remote as Apple TV 4K
  • No Dolby Atmos support
  • Only comes in a 32GB model

Best on a Budget

Apple TV HD

Apple's basic streaming box.

If you have no need of a 4K streaming device, or you just want to save some money and don't care about things like HDR or Dolby Atmos, then the Apple TV HD is still a good, if expensive, streaming box.

Bottom line

The Apple TV 4K is the best Apple TV to get at this point in 2019, and most people should get the 32GB model. As primarily a streaming device, you probably won't need that much storage, but if you do need space for more apps and games, you can always pick up the 64GB Apple TV 4K.

What really makes the Apple TV 4K better than the Apple TV HD, which features the same user interface and apps, can be summed up by four features: 4K, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos. While it's debatable whether 4K alone is worth the upgrade, HDR, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos are the true upgrades over the Apple TV HD. HDR and Dolby Vision enable more vivid and beautiful colors on compatible content, with Dolby Vision producing the best results. And while the Apple TV 4K may be pricey, there are still a number of streaming boxes out there that only support HDR10, instead of both it and Dolby Vision, and in my experience, Dolby Vision is noticeably better. Meanwhile, Dolby Atmos immerses you in the sounds of the movie you're watching, projecting noises realistically using a dome of sound.

If you have a 4K HDR TV and a Dolby Atmos-compatible sound system, you're definitely going to notice the difference between the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD, and it's well worth it to pick up the 4K model.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

Joseph Keller is a senior editor at iMore. An Apple user for more than a decade and a half, he spends his time learning the ins and outs of iOS and macOS, always finding ways of getting the most out of his iPhone, iPad, and Mac.

Rene Ritchie has been covering the personal technology industry for a decade. An outspoken analyst and critic, he writes at iMore.com/vector, podcasts at applepodcasts.com/vector, and you can find his show at youtube.com/vector. Follow him @reneritchie on Twitter and Instagram.

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