Comparing Every Model of the Apple TV

A simple guide to comparing Apple TV models

Apple TV 4K
image credit: Apple Inc.

The recent models of the Apple TV look confusingly similar: they're small, pocket-sized devices that resemble oversized hockey pucks. Sure, the Apple TV 4K is about twice as tall as the third-generation model, but that's a little subtle. Just because they look the same doesn't mean they are the same.

The differences between the 2nd and 5th generation models, for instance, are huge. The newest model—the Apple TV 4K, which is the 5th generation—has a number of obvious differences and is a revolutionary improvement over earlier models.

 A quick glance at the chart below may cause the 2nd and 3rd generation models to appear identical. They're not, but they're close. The only major difference between the two is that the 3rd generation supports 1080p HD video output, as opposed to the 2nd generation's maximum resolution of 720p.

It's easy to buy the Apple TV 4K or the 4th-generation model. The both 1st generation models, the 2nd generation, and 3rd generation Apple TV are no longer available from Apple, but they can still be found used.

This chart helps you understand how each model is different by comparing the features, benefits, and specifications of each Apple TV model. The easy to read and compare chart is designed to help you make the right purchase.

To learn more about these Apple TV models, check out:

    Apple TV Comparison Chart

     Apple TV 4K4th Gen.
    Apple TV
    3rd Gen. 
    Apple TV
    2nd Gen. 
    Apple TV
    1st Gen.
    Apple TV
    ProcessorApple A10
    Fusion
    Apple A8Apple A5Apple A41 GHz Intel
    Crofton
    Pentium M
    Video Storageup to
    32GB
    64GB
    up to
    32GB
    64GB

    N/A
    N/A40GB
    160GB
    Music Storageup to
    32GB
    64GB
    up to
    32GB
    64GB
    N/AN/A40GB
    160GB
    Photo Storageup to
    32GB
    64GB
    up to
    32GB
    64GB
    N/AN/A40GB
    160GB
    App StoreYesYesNoNoNo
    GamesYesYesNoNoNo
    SiriYesYesNoNoNo
    Universal SearchYesYesNoNoNo
    BluetoothYesYesYesYesNo
    Supported FormatsH.264 up
    to 2160p,
    HDR10,
    Dolby
    Vision,
    AAC,
    MPEG-4,
    MP3
    H.264 up
    to 1080p,
    AAC,
    MPEG-4,
    MP3
    H.264 up
    to 1080p,
    AAC,
    MPEG-4,
    MP3
    H.264 up
    to 720p,
    AAC,
    MPEG-4,
    MP3
    H.264,
    AAC,
    MPEG-4
    Netflix 
    Streaming
    YesYesYesYesNo
    Max.
    HDTV
    Formats
    4K1080p1080p720p720p
    InterfacesHDMI 2.0,
    Ethernet,
    IR Receiver
    HDMI,
    Ethernet,
    USB-C,
    IR Receiver
     
    HDMI,
    Ethernet,
    Optical Audio,
    Micro USB,
    IR Receiver
    HDMI,
    Ethernet,
    Optical Audio,
    Micro USB,
    IR Receiver
    HDMI,
    Component
    A/V,
    Optical Audio,
    Anlog Audio,
    USB 2.0,
    Ethernet,
    IR Receiver
    NetworkingGigabit
    Ethernet,
    802.11
    a/b/g/n/ac
    Wi-Fi,
    Bluetooth 5.0
    10/100 Base-T Ethernet,
    802.11
    a/b/g/n/ac
    Wi-Fi,
    Bluetooth 4.0
    10/100
    Base-T Ethernet,
    802.11
    a/b/g/n
    Wi-Fi
    10/100
    Base-T Ethernet,
    802.11
    a/b/g/n
    Wi-Fi
    10/100
    Base-T
    Ethernet,
    802.11
    b/g/n Wi-Fi
    Remote ControlSiri Remote
    with touchpad
    and mic
    Siri
    Remote
    with
    touchpad
    and mic
    Apple
    Remote
    Apple
    Remote
    Apple
    Remote
    Remote Can
    Control TV
    YesYesNoNoNo
    Use Apple Watch
    as Remote
    YesYesYesYesNo
    Weight**0.94 0.940.60.62.4
    Size*3.9 x
    3.9 x
    1.4
    3.9 x
    3.9 x
    1.3
    3.9 x
    3.9 x
    0.9
    3.9 x
    3.9 x
    0.9
    7.7 x
    7.7 x
    1.1
    PriceUS$179
    $199
    US$149
    $199
    $99$99$329
    $229

    * in inches
    ** in pounds

    Another Key Difference: Jailbreaking

    If you like to push the envelope with your technology, there's another aspect of the Apple TV that may be important to you: which models can be jailbroken. Jailbreaking is a technique that removes the restrictions and controls Apple applies to its products to let you install your own software and make all kinds of customizations.

    Only the 2nd and 4th generation models can be jailbroken. If this is something you want to try, stay away from the original or the 3rd generation. It seems likely that the Apple TV 4K will be jailbroken eventually, but that has not happened as of this writing.

    As always, it bears noting that jailbreaking requires technical skills that the average person doesn't have and can lead to damaging your device and voiding your warranty. If you try it, you're pretty much on your own.

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