Apple TV 4K (2021) vs Apple TV 4K (2017): Price upgrading?

(Pocket-lint) – After a four-year hole, Apple lastly up to date its Apple TV 4K in 2021 with a couple of further bells and whistles and a brand new distant.

Nonetheless, because the 2017 mannequin remains to be out there in lots of second-hand shops – typically at an enormous low cost – is it price contemplating the newest model or will the unique just do pretty much as good a job?

We take a look at the options and specs of each that will help you make that call.


What’s the identical?

  • Major “puck”-style field design – measuring 98 x 98 x 35mm
  • Entry to hundreds of TV exhibits and films
  • Streaming providers, akin to Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and, after all, Apple TV+
  • Apple Arcade help
  • Apps and video games
  • 4K HDR, Dolby Imaginative and prescient, Dolby Atmos help
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • Accessible in 32GB and 64GB variants

When you personal an older Apple TV 4K already, you will already know a lot of what to anticipate. The field itself is equivalent in dimension and form, for starters.

The 2017 mannequin is 4K (2160p) succesful, similar to the newer model, and is able to enjoying all the identical content material. Each provide entry to all kinds of streaming providers, together with Apple’s personal TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and BBC iPlayer (within the UK). Film leases and purchases could be performed equally nicely by way of them too. They usually every can play the video games that include the Apple Arcade subscription.

Each gadgets are able to 4K playback in HDR or Dolby Imaginative and prescient (relying in your TV), and may feed Dolby Atmos encompass sound to a appropriate AV receiver, TV or sound system.

Bluetooth 5.0 is help for connection to the included distant or different equipment. AirPlay 2 can also be help by every of the machines. As too is Apple’s TV calibration mode, which is obtainable by way of tvOS settings.

What’s totally different?

  • A12 Bionic processing
  • HDMI 2.1
  • Excessive Body Charge (HFR) help – as much as 60fps
  • Redesigned latest Siri Distant
  • 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6

Whereas the newest Apple TV 4K mannequin seems the identical as its predecessor, there are some variations below the hood, as we element beneath. There’s additionally a redesigned distant management.

Siri Distant

Maybe the obvious generational adjustments could be discovered on the included distant. We weren’t large followers of the touchpanel on the earlier model, so welcome the chickwheel on the newer vestion.

There are nonetheless contact parts to it, to assist with cursor use and navigation, however the Siri Distant has clickable route buttons on the wheel. It may also be used as a scroll wheel by working your finger across the round edge.

The refreshed distant is available in recycled aluminium, and the Siri button has been switched to the aspect – extra like an iPhone. There are additionally mute and energy buttons on the prime that may also be used to activate/off your TV by way of IR or HDMI CEC.

As earlier than, the distant is rechargable, with a claimed battery lifetime of “months” on a single cost (in regular use).

A12 Bionic

A later processor (upgraded from the A10X Fusion) means the newest Apple TV 4K runs extra shortly than earlier than and is able to extra highly effective options. The A12 Bionic is similar processor utilized by the Apple iPad mini (4th era) and 2020 iPad.

Excessive Body Charge

HFR is supported for the primary time, with the 2021 Apple TV 4K capable of play again HDR video at as much as 60 frames-per-second. This consists of 4K video.

That is particularly nice for iPhone customers with a 12 professional and above, who shoot movies in 60fps. You may stream them to your TV within the larger body fee over AirPlay 2. You have to an HFR supporting TV as nicely, after all, however most fashionable 4K HDR TVs are able to 60fps playback too (ie. 60Hz and above).

HDMI 2.1

The HDMI output has been upgraded to HDMI 2.1 (from 2.0a) to allow HFR help.

Wi-Fi 6

With the Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) wi-fi normal now supported you may extra seamlessly stream larger bandwidth content material – together with 4K 60fps video.


To be sincere, there’s not a load of main variations, even contemplating the 4 yr hole between fashions. Nonetheless, the newest Apple TV 4K is quicker in operation and, subsequently, extra succesful with processing-heavy functions. That features video games on Apple Arcade.

As is the way in which of such issues, you may discover some apps and video games launched sooner or later may also solely run successfully on the brand new mannequin. However then, you may need to maintain on from upgrading till then.

The one large enchancment comes within the form of the more moderen distant. It is undoubtedly higher thought out, in our opinion. However even then, you needn’t improve for that alone as additionally it is out there as a non-obligatory further and can work on the 2017 mannequin too.


There is a a lot clearer cause to improve when you personal the usual 1080p Apple TV, although. You probably have a type of, there’s lots to realize in taking the plunge.

Writing by Rik Henderson.