Buy Buying Guides Comparing Every Generation of the Apple TV A simple guide to comparing Apple TV models Share Pin Email Print Lifewire / Bailey Mariner Buying Guides TVs & Home Theater Computers & Tablets Smartphones Games & Consoles Gadgets Cameras Audio by Sam Costello 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. Updated April 23, 2019 139 139 people found this article helpful Most 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 bit subtle. 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. 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. This chart helps you understand how each model is 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 details4th generation Apple TV details3rd generation Apple TV review2nd generation Apple TV review1st 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 A10Fusion 1.4 GhzApple A8 Apple A5 Apple A4 1 GHzIntelCroftonPentiumM Video Storage up to32GB64GB up to32GB64GB N/A N/A 40GB160GB Music Storage up to32GB64GB up to32GB64GB N/A N/A 40GB160GB Photo Storage up to32GB64GB up to32GB64GB N/A N/A 40GB160GB App Store Yes Yes No No No Games Yes Yes No No No Siri Yes Yes No No No Universal Search Yes Yes No No No Bluetooth 5.0 4.0 Yes Yes No SupportedAudio & Video Formats H.264 upto 2160p,DolbyVision,AAC,MPEG-4,MP3 H.264 upto 1080p,AAC,MPEG-4,MP3 H.264 upto 1080p,AAC,MPEG-4,MP3 H.264 upto 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 Netflix Streaming 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,OpticalAudio,IR Receiver HDMI,Ethernet,OpticalAudio,IR Receiver HDMI,ComponentA/V,OpticalAudio,AnalogAudio,Ethernet,IR Receiver Networking GigabitEthernet,802.11a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi,Bluetooth 5.0 10/100Base-TEthernet,802.11a/b/g/n/acWi-Fi,Bluetooth 4.0 10/100Base-TEthernet,802.11a/b/g/nWi-Fi 10/100Base-TEthernet,802.11a/b/g/nWi-Fi 10/100Base-TEthernet,802.11b/g/nWi-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 AppleRemote;aluminum AppleRemote;aluminum AppleRemote;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 x3.9 x1.4 3.9 x3.9 x1.3 3.9 x3.9 x0.9 3.9 x3.9 x0.9 7.7 x7.7 x1.1 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 4K4th Gen. Apple TV2nd Gen. Apple TV. 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. 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, and should last 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. 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?The Best Smart TV Box: Apple TV, Fire TV and Roku PlayerAndroid TV vs. Apple TV: Which is Better for Gaming? Continue Reading Can You Install Apps on the Apple TV? Depends on the Model How Does the 3rd Generation Apple TV Stack Up? Get the Latest Features and Apps For Your Apple TV Why and How to Jailbreak Your Apple TV How Do You Turn Off a Box With No Buttons On It? Why You Can't Use Amazon Prime with Apple TV Three Simple Ways to Delete Apps from Your Apple TV Is the 4th Gen. Apple TV the Best Set-Top Box? Apple TV's Best Feature: Upgrading Your Movie Library to 4K! iPad 1st Gen Review: The iPad That Started It All What's coming next for the Apple TV? How to Get Great Apps for Your Apple TV All About the Second Generation Apple TV Get Manuals for Every iPod nano Model What You Need to Know Before Buying an Apple TV Is Apple TV Really the Future of Television?