Just like it has dominated the mobile and personal computer industry, Apple is making a name in the TV streaming landscape thanks to its powerful devices. Apple TV devices come with a slick user interface and a slew of superior features that set them apart from the competition.
Before we discuss these devices further, let’s first try to understand what Apple TV actually is? Hint: it’s not a TV. Even so, learning how to set up your Apple TV is simple and does not require any heavy lifting at all. Apple TV is a set-top box device that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable. You then link it to your home wireless network and stream online videos directly to your TV.
You get two choices of Apple TV streaming devices – the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K, with the names being self-explanatory. While the Apple TV HD lets you stream videos in high-definition (HD), the Apple TV 4K supports 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) streaming. Besides the differences in streaming quality, consider factors like audio support, price points and storage space to find the right fit.
In this Apple TV review, we take a closer look at these differences and help you find the perfect streaming device for you.
Apple TV HD and Apple TV 4K compared
|Apple TV HD||Apple TV 4k|
|Dolby Atmos sound||No||Yes|
|Processor||Apple A8||Apple 10X Fusion|
|Compatibility||HDTVs, Bluetooth keyboards||HDTVs, UHD TVs, Bluetooth keyboards|
|Storage||32 GB||32 GB, 64 GB|
|Resolution||Up to 1080p||Up to 4K Ultra HD|
|Voice-controlled Apple TV remote||Yes||Yes|
|Free 1-Year Apple TV+||Yes||Yes|
Best Apple TV streaming services and apps
Use your Apple TV device to stream your favorite movies and shows or broadcast live sports events straight to your TV. If you need something a bit more interactive, choose from thousands of games and play them with your friends and family.
Apple TV offers access to hundreds of apps, channel packages and streaming services — here are some of the best:
Apple’s own streaming service is a must-have if you’re up for exclusive originals like Dickinson, See and The Morning Show. With a gradually expanding content library, it’s an affordable add-on to your existing package at just $4.99/mo.
Enjoy over 1,800 TV shows and thousands of movies on Amazon Prime Video. Use your Apple TV device to stream popular originals like The Boys, Good Omens, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and more.
If you’re a sports fan, don’t miss out on live sports broadcasts through the ESPN+ app. The app lets you catch up on national sporting events and international soccer matches as they happen.
Apple TV also gives you access to HBO NOW, which is great news for fans of addictive shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld. Enjoy new movies every week and tune into your favorite series through this premium streaming service.
Picking the right Apple TV streaming device for you
The two Apple TV devices have a few premium perks that competitors like Roku or Chromecast don’t offer. Among the most outstanding features are the ones that enhance accessibility such as bold text, closed caption, motion reduction and voiceover. This built-in support allows a smoother streaming experience for those with physical limitations or learning disabilities.
Both devices have similar basic functions except when it comes to viewing and audio quality and storage space. As such, their price points also vary. So consider all these factors when deciding which streaming device fits you best.
Best basic streaming device: Apple TV HD
Even as a basic streaming device, the Apple TV HD still has an edge over its closest competitors and predecessors. Unlike other devices on the same level, it comes with a plethora of accessibility features. The Apple TV HD also provides an added value with the free one-year subscription of Apple TV+.
As for the cost of Apple TV, the HD is the more affordable option of the two at $149. It’s a great choice if you don’t have a 4K TV or won’t be watching much 4K content.
Best audio and video quality: Apple TV 4K
The Apple TV 4K takes the cake when it comes to streaming quality. With four times more pixels than standard HD, it gives you crisp images with bright, realistic colors. Add to this three-dimensional Dolby Atmos audio and you get an incredible viewing experience.
Watch select titles in 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos, including Bohemian Rhapsody, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and Godzilla: King of Monsters.
When it comes to cost, the price difference between the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K isn’t too drastic — just $30. So if you own a 4K TV and want the best streaming quality possible, don’t hesitate to spend a little more and go for the Apple TV 4K.
The option to get a larger storage configuration is another highlight of the 4K, especially for avid gamers. Stick with 32 GB if you’re using it primarily for streaming movies and shows. With 64 GB, you get more space to download apps and games.
Both of these Apple TV devices have similar basic features as well as a few premium functionalities not available with other competitors. You can also find Apple TV deals on the Apple TV+ streaming service with either device. But the Apple TV 4K comes with a few extras, including superior streaming quality in 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos sound. So go for it if high-quality video and audio are important to you.
On the other hand, stick with the Apple TV HD if you only need the basics and don’t intend to watch 4K content.