Skip to main content

Apple TV

See All Stories

Apple TV is Apple's streaming device that accesses the Apple TV+ service ($4.99 per month), Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and countless other entertainment apps.

The Apple TV is Apple’s set-top box that runs tvOS. The company currently sells the updated Apple TV HD first introduced in 2015 and the 2021 second-generation Apple 4K models. Alongside the two products, Apple also has the Apple TV app, which is available for iOS and Android users as well as lots of smart TV owners, and Apple TV+, the company’s video streaming service with exclusive original content.

History

The first-generation Apple TV was unveiled in September 2006. The product, which would be called iTV, couldn’t have this name since the British terrestrial broadcast network ITV already held the right to the name in the UK and threatened to take legal action against Apple.

Shipped six months later, the first Apple TV had a 40GB HDD, and a 160GB HDD option was later released.

The second-generation Apple TV was announced in September of 2010 and was the first model to run on a variant of iOS. In a smaller, all-black case, it was one-quarter the size of the original Apple TV. The HDD was replaced by 8GB of internal flash storage, enough for buffering purposes. Also different from the first set-top box, this one was only used for streaming content. It also supported output up to 720p over HDMI only.

The third-generation Apple TV was released almost two years later in March 2012. It included the A5 chip and support for 1080p output. As of 2021, the third-generation set-top box still works with streaming services including Apple TV+, Apple TV Channels, Amazon Prime Video, and Netflix.

The fourth generation, or the Apple TV HD, was the biggest revamp to the set-top box in years, and it launched in September 2015. With a brand-new black remote charged via Lightning cable, it introduced the tvOS operating system with an App Store allowing downloads of third-party apps for video, audio, games, and other content. This device includes the A8 processor and support for Dolby Digital Plus.

Two years later, in September of 2017, Apple introduced the fifth-generation Apple TV, or the Apple TV 4K, which supports 2160p output, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, and includes the A10X Fusion processor. This model is similar to the fourth-generation model with the only difference being the addition of vents on the base and the removal of the USB-C port.

The sixth-generation Apple TV, or the second-generation Apple TV 4K, was introduced in April of 2021. With a similar design to its predecessor, the main change is the A12 chip and the second-generation Siri Remote.

Specs

Currently, Apple sells the fourth and sixth generation of its set-top box.

Apple TV HD (fourth-generation)

Launched in 2015, the Apple TV HD uses the A8 chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 1080p and 60 fps. Only available in 32GB storage option, the set-top box uses the second-generation Siri Remote, featuring Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 1.4, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MIMO, 10/100BASE-T Ethernet, IR receiver, USB-C for service and support, built-in power supply.

The fourth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on iOS 15.

Apple TV 4K (sixth-generation)

Launched in 2021, the second-generation Apple TV 4K uses the A12 Bionic chip with 64-bit architecture. It supports videos up to 2160p and 60 fps, HEVC Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos technologies. Available in 32GB and 64GB storage options, the set-top box uses the second-generation Siri Remote featuring Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology, an IR transmitter, and a Lightning connector for charging.

These are its ports and interfaces: HDMI 2.1ax, 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO; simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5GHz), Gigabit Ethernet, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology, IR receiver, and Built-in power supply.

The sixth-generation Apple TV runs the latest tvOS software, currently on iOS 15.

Second-generation Siri Remote

Alongside the new Apple TV 4K, the company introduced a redesigned Siri Remote. It is made of aluminum and rubber buttons. It has a microphone for Siri, an IR transmitter, a Lightning connector for charging and uses Bluetooth 5.0 technology.

In an interview with Apple Vice President of Product Marketing for Home and Audio Tim Twerdahl, the new remote is inspired by the iPod click wheel:

“Once we came up with this circular design we thought it looked a lot like the iPod quick wheel, so what could do that could really help people with their TV using an interface like that? The scrubbing of the video came as such a natural thing, professional editors often use these jog-style controls, which are quite powerful, and it’s really nice to bring this into people’s living room.“

Although it was rumored, the second-generation Siri Remote doesn’t have a U1 chip to help users find the accessory when it gets lost on the couch. According to Tim Twerdahl, the thicker design of the remote chassis means it won’t get lost in couch cushions as much as the previous generation

You can learn more about the second-generation Siri Remote here.

Third-party certified Apple TV Remote

In August of 2021, Deutsche Telekom started offering a third-party certified Apple TV Remote. This is the first company to offer Universal Electronics’ remote control to customers who purchase a new Apple TV 4K directly with the carrier with a Magenta TV subscription.

The alternative Siri Remote from Universal Electronics looks more like a classic TV remote control since it does not have a trackpad and comes with buttons for switching channels and accessing the TV guide. However, it also includes all the buttons needed to navigate through tvOS, including the Siri button and even a built-in microphone.

tvOS 15: what’s new to the Apple TV

Apple released on September 20 tvOS 15, the operating system to the Apple TV HD and 4K (1st and 2nd gen). Here’s everything new with it:

  • For All of You: Browse a new row in the Apple TV app to find something that everyone in the house can’t wait to watch.
  • Shared with You: Movies and shows shared through Messages appear in a new row in the Apple TV app.
  • Spatial Audio: Listen with AirPods Pro or AirPods Max for a theater-like experience with sound that surrounds you.
  • Smart AirPods routing: Get an automatic onscreen notification to magically connect your AirPods.
  • HomeKit camera enhancements: View multiple cameras around the house at the same time on your Apple TV.
  • Room-filling stereo sound: Pair two HomePod mini speakers with Apple TV 4K and enjoy rich, balanced sound for everything you watch.

You can learn more about tvOS 15 here.

tvOS 15.1 features

tvOS 15.1 brings the long-awaited SharePlay feature. With it, you can watch movies, shows, or listen to songs while on a FaceTime call on your iPhone, iPad, or Mac with friends.

tvOS 15.2 features

A month after launching tvOS 15.1, Apple seeded tvOS 15.2. This software brings a new way to view your Memories. Apple Music subscribers can hear songs that combine expert recommendations with your music tastes, and what’s in your photos and videos.

Here is what else is new:

  • Apple TV app: The Store tab is a new all-in-one destination to browse, buy, and rent the world’s best movies and TV shows.
  • Apple Music Voice Plan is a new subscription tier that gives you access to all songs, playlists, and stations in Apple Music using Siri.
  • Siri now includes language support for Dutch and French in Belgium, Russian in Russia, and French, German, and Italian in Switzerland.
  • Screen savers: Enjoy stunning views of Iceland and Scotland. Location details can be found by pressing the clickpad or tapping the Touch surface on your Siri Remote.

tvOS 15.3 features

Different from tvOS 15.2, tvOS 15.3 doesn’t bring changes for the Apple TV, only small improvements and bug fixes.

tvOS 15.4 Apple TV

tvOS 15.4 features

tvOS 15.4 bring some interesting features to the Apple TV hardware:

  • Captive Wi-Fi network support;
  • New “Up Next” queue that can be viewed from the “Now Playing” screen;
  • Revamped Spatial Audio controls with tvOS 15.4;
  • New non-binary, American Siri voice

tvOS 15.5 features

Different from other software updates, Apple doesn’t specify what’s changed with tvOS 15.5.

tvOS 15.6 features

Different from other software updates, Apple doesn’t specify what’s changed with tvOS 15.6, most likely just bug fixes.

Apple is currently testing tvOS 16.

Pricing

The Apple TV pricing starts at $149 on the HD model and goes up to $199 on the 4K model with 64GB of storage.

  • 32GB, HD model: $149
  • 32GB, 4K model: $179
  • 64GB, 4K model: $199

Lower prices may be available from Apple’s official Amazon store.

2021 Apple TV 4K release

The new set-top box launched on May 21. Pre-orders started on April 30.

Review Apple TV 4K (1st-gen)

In our opinion article about the previous Apple TV, is its simplicity that people love the most:

The Apple TV is the true TV hub for the streaming era, especially for Apple fans. In many ways, it’s the simplicity of the Apple TV, with an ad-free experience and a range of 4K HDR content, via iTunes Store that makes people still own this product after all this time.

Deals

Over at 9to5Toys, you can find the best deals on the Apple TV and other Apple products. Download the 9to5Toys iPhone app to receive push notifications for new deals as well.

Apple TV app

The Apple TV app holds Apple Original shows and movies from Apple TV+. It also includes the Apple TV Channels, with over 30 streaming services ready to be subscribed to within the app.

With personalized and curated content, it’s easier to discover new shows. You can also search for your library while also being able to buy or rent content from the iTunes Store.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ launched on November 1, 2019. It features Apple’s original TV shows and movies. Here’s what’s on Apple TV+.

At its 2019 September iPhone event, Apple officially announced launch details for its premium TV service: $4.99 per month for a family subscription. Customers who purchase an iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, iPod touch, or Mac can enjoy one year of the service for free.

Since the Apple TV+ debut, Apple has received a total of 1,115 awards nominations and accolades, and 250 award wins from the Oscars, including Best Picture, Critics Choice Awards, Writers Guild Association, Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Daytime and Primetime Emmy Awards, NAACP Image Awards, Peabody Awards, and more.

“Ted Lasso,” “CODA,” and “Wolfwalkers” are three of the most prized shows on the catalog.

Read more

iOS 16.5 code indicates quad-box Picture-in-Picture feature in development for Apple TV sports streams

Quad box ESPN MultiCast on Apple TV

Picture-in-Picture has been a feature on Apple’s platforms for a few years, allowing a single video to pop out into a floating window while the user browses the rest of the OS.

Apple appears to be working on upgrading that capability, at least for live sports matches in the Apple TV app. Code references first spotted by Steve Moser in the iOS 16.5 betas describe a new “Multiview” experience for the Apple TV app, supporting up to four simultaneous streams at once.

Expand Expanding Close

Apple TV+ global market share shrinks and platform is overtaken by Paramount+

Apple TV Plus app

Apple TV+ had been slowly gaining market share since its launch in 2019, while platforms like Netflix continue to lose subscribers to smaller streaming services. But the latest research from JustWatch shows that Apple TV+’s global market share shrank last year, which resulted in the platform being overtaken by its competitor Paramount+.

Expand Expanding Close

Apple to spend $1 billion annually on movies, aiming for major theatrical releases

Apple TV+ became the first streaming service to win the prestigious Oscars Best Picture award last year, for Sundance acquisition CODA, but its overall film slate has been somewhat underwhelming so far.

Via Bloomberg, that may be set to change as Apple is significantly expanding its original films division to focus on blockbuster titles that will debut widely in theatres first, before arriving on the streaming service. Apple will purportedly spend $1 billion annually on its movie slate.

Expand Expanding Close

Apple again rumored to bid for English Premier League football streaming rights

Following initial rumored interest, Apple is again rumored to be looking at bidding for English Premier League football streaming. This morning, Bloomberg reports that Apple is considering rights to stream Premier League and lower league matches in the UK.

This follows the debut of MLS Season Pass this past February, MLB Friday Night Baseball, and many rumors of other Apple sports streaming initiatives in development including negotiations with the Pac-12.

Expand Expanding Close

MLB Friday Night Baseball returns April 7, Apple TV+ subscription now required

Friday Night Baseball

The Apple-Major League Baseball partnership continues. A weekly doubleheader lineup of baseball games will air on Fridays on Apple TV+, beginning April 7 with a matchup between the Texas Rangers and Chicago Cubs.

Last season, Apple made Friday Night Baseball available to all users for free — it was watchable by anyone with an Apple ID and access to the Apple TV app. That “limited time offer” has now gone away. For 2023, an Apple TV+ subscription is required to tune in to see the games.

Expand Expanding Close

‘Ted Lasso’ remains the most popular show on Apple TV+, but here’s the full ranking

Apple TV Plus app

Ted Lasso has become the most popular show on Apple TV+. Since its premiere in 2020, the show has conquered not only lots of fans around the world, but also multiple important awards such as Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice. But what about the other shows? JustWatch has now shared a list of what Apple TV+ subscribers have been watching the most on the streaming platform.

Expand Expanding Close

Ted Lasso season three premieres today on Apple TV+

Apple TV Ted Lasso Season 3

Apple TV+ today premieres the new season of its biggest hit to date, with the release of the first episode of the third (and possibly final) season of the comedy series Ted Lasso.

The show is airing weekly on Wednesdays, a change from the service’s usual Friday scheduling. Season three is set to conclude the rivalry between AFC Richmond and West Ham United, with an impending showdown between Lasso and Nate Shelley.

Expand Expanding Close

Apple TV+ wins Best Animated Short Film at 2023 Oscars

For the 2022 Oscars, Apple TV+ had a landslide presence, becoming the first streaming service to win prestigious Best Picture award for CODA. This season was a much more muted affair for the streamer, with Apple’s film slate lacking anything substantive aside from Emancipation, which was tainted by the Will Smith association.

Nevertheless, last night, Apple TV+ picked up Best Animated Short Film for its original film The Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse.

Expand Expanding Close

Jason Segel and Harrison Ford comedy ‘Shrinking’ renewed for season two at Apple TV+

Shrinking Apple TV+

Apple TV+ has officially renewed its new comedy Shrinking, starring Jason Segel and Harrison Ford, for a second season. The show premiered in January and has seemingly struck a chord with audiences and critics alike.

Although Apple does not share viewing numbers, anecdotally, the show seems to be performing well relative to other Apple TV+ releases. It sits at the #1 spot on the US TV+ chart, although it will likely topple next week when “Ted Lasso” returns for its highly anticipated third season.

Expand Expanding Close

Latest ‘Today at Apple’ session lets you ‘Believe’ you can create a Ted Lasso poster with iPad and Apple Pencil

Ahead of the debut of Ted Lasso season three next week, Apple has announced a new Today at Apple session focused on the award-winning Apple TV+ series.” During these sessions, which kick off this week, attendees “will create their own version of Coach Lasso’s locker room sign using Apple Pencil on iPad.”

Expand Expanding Close

Apple’s deal with MLS includes an opt-out clause if enough people don’t subscribe

Apple MLS

Apple and Major League Soccer (MLS) officially kicked off their 10-year partnership last weekend with MLS Season Pass. While everything seems to have gone according to plan for opening weekend on Apple TV, a new report from The Athletic includes a previously unknown tidbit on the deal between Apple and MLS: Apple can walk away at any point.

Expand Expanding Close

Siri on Apple TV lets you launch live channels with just your voice

Siri on Apple TV isn’t nearly capable enough yet to replace your remote, but Siri helps you pick up the remote less. Siri can search for movies and TV shows, adjust volume, and toggle captions.

A lesser known hands-free feature on Apple TV is Siri’s ability to launch live channels. A fair amount of setup is required for this to work, but the convenience of voice control is worth it.

Expand Expanding Close