Streaming Streaming Devices 248 248 people found this article helpful Comparing Every Generation of the Apple TV A simple guide to comparing Apple TV models by Sam Costello Writer Sam Costello has been writing about tech since 2000. His writing has appeared in publications such as CNN.com, PC World, InfoWord, and many others. our editorial process Facebook Twitter Sam Costello Updated on October 23, 2020 reviewed by Jessica Kormos Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Jessica Kormos is a writer and editor with 15 years' experience writing articles, copy, and UX content for Tecca.com, Rosenfeld Media, and many others. our review board Article reviewed on Mar 29, 2020 Jessica Kormos Tweet Share Email Streaming Devices Apple TV Roku Chromecast Fire TV In This Article Apple TV Comparison Chart Another Key Difference: Jailbreaking Which Model Should You Buy? Extra: Compare With Other Streaming Options Most models of the Apple TV look confusingly similar: they're pocket-sized devices that resemble extra-large, square hockey pucks. Sure, the Apple TV 4K is about twice as tall as the third-generation model, but that's a pretty subtle difference. The relatively similar outsides actually conceal a lot of difference. The things that separate the 2nd and 5th generation Apple TV 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 Apple TV models. On the other hand, a quick glance at the chart below may cause the 2nd and 3rd generation models to appear identical. Bailey Mariner / Lifewire This chart helps you understand how the models are different by comparing the features, benefits, and specifications of each Apple TV generation. The easy to read and compare chart is designed to help you understand how the Apple TV has evolved over the years and to make the right purchase. To learn more about these Apple TV models, check out: Apple TV 4K details 4th generation Apple TV details 3rd generation Apple TV review 2nd generation Apple TV review 1st generation Apple TV review Apple TV Comparison Chart Apple TV 4K 4th Gen.Apple TV 3rd Gen.Apple TV 2nd Gen.Apple TV 1st Gen.Apple TV Model Number A1842 A1625 A1427 A1469 A1378 A1218 Processor Apple A10 Fusion 1.4 Ghz Apple A8 Apple A5 Apple A4 1 GHz Intel Crofton Pentium M Video Storage up to 32GB 64GB up to 32GB 64GB N/A N/A 40GB 160GB Music Storage up to 32GB 64GB up to 32GB 64GB N/A N/A 40GB 160GB Photo Storage up to 32GB 64GB up to 32GB 64GB N/A N/A 40GB 160GB App Store Yes Yes No No No Games Yes Yes No No No Siri Yes Yes No No No Universal VoiceSearch Yes Yes No No No Bluetooth 5.0 4.0 Yes Yes No SupportedAudio & Video Formats H.264 up to 2160p, 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 Dolby 5.1 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Dolby 7.1 Yes Yes No No No Dolby Atmos Yes No No No No NetflixStreaming Yes Yes Yes Yes No Max.HDTVFormat 4K 1080p 1080p 720p 720p HDR10 Yes No No No No Interfaces HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, IR Receiver HDMI, Ethernet, IR Receiver HDMI, Ethernet, Optical Audio, IR Receiver HDMI, Ethernet, Optical Audio, IR Receiver HDMI, Component A/V, Optical Audio, Analog Audio, Ethernet, IR Receiver Networking Gigabit 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 USB No USB-C Micro-USB Micro-USB USB 2.0 HomeKit Hub Yes Yes Yes No No Remote Control Siri Remote (touchpad & mic); black Siri Remote (touchpad & mic); black Apple Remote; aluminum Apple Remote; aluminum Apple Remote; white Remote CanControl TV Yes Yes No No No Use Apple Watchas Remote Yes Yes Yes Yes No Weight** 0.94 0.94 0.6 0.6 2.4 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 Price US$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 removes the restrictions and controls Apple applies to its products and lets you install your own software and make all kinds of customizations. The Apple TV models that can be jailbroken are: Apple TV 4K. 4th Gen. Apple TV. 2nd Gen. Apple TV. As always, it bears noting that jailbreaking requires technical skills that the average person doesn't have and can damage your device and void your warranty if done incorrectly. If you try it, you're pretty much on your own. Which Apple TV Model Should You Buy? So, after all this, which Apple TV generation should you buy? For almost all people, the answer is the Apple TV 4K. It's the latest model, offers the most advanced features, should maintain compatibility with other home theater hardware and video technology the longest. The 4th gen. model is a little cheaper, but not much. Saving $20 or $30 for a lesser product really isn't worth it. Buy the best device you can and you'll be happy with it the longest. 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. While they were good models when they debuted, we no longer recommend them, as they don't support the most recent technologies. What You Need to Know Before Buying an Apple TV Comparing Apple TV to Other Streaming Options The Apple TV isn't the only device that plugs into your TV and lets you stream video, play games, and more. Curious to know how the Apple TV stacks up against those other devices? Check out: Chromecast vs. Apple TV: Which Is the Best Streaming Device? Apple TV vs. Roku Was this page helpful? Thanks for letting us know! Get the Latest Tech News Delivered Every Day Email Address Sign up There was an error. Please try again. You're in! Thanks for signing up. There was an error. Please try again. Thank you for signing up. Tell us why! 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