If you’re fully invested in Apple’s ecosystem, the 4th generation Apple TV is a no brainer. As we noted in our review, it’s designed to carry the Apple experience straight to your big screen. Even if you’re not an Apple fan, this glossy set-top box is among the most fun to use.
In terms of hardware, the 4th generation Apple TV is like an iPad mini 4 sans the built-in display and battery. It runs on Apple’s 64-bit A8 processor, which can respectably tackle any of today’s most demanding apps.
The new models also come with Apple’s redesigned remote, which is what really sets the Apple TV apart from the competition. The remote now has a touchpad, which speeds up navigation considerably and reduces wear and tear from repeated button mashing. The remote is also designed so that it can automatically detect the make and model of the HDTV you’re using and program itself to control it.
Both models run on Apple’s new tvOS, which is based on the company’s iOS platform. That opens up your Apple TV to third-party apps and games. But the biggest software upgrade is the addition of Siri, Apple’s digital personal assistant.
You can now ask your Apple TV to display movies from your favorite actor or from your favorite genre. Likewise, Siri can turn on closed captions, rewind or fast forward a specified amount of time, and dig up information on your favorite actors. You can get as specific as saying, “Show me movies with Robert Duvall from the 90s.”
The Apple TV isn’t perfect — there’s no native support for popular apps like Amazon Prime Video and Spotify — but there are workarounds available. Likewise, the Apple TV lacks 4K support and in typical Apple fashion, there’s no way to expand either unit’s storage capacity.
Nevertheless, it’s quick, fun, and up to $40 off at Walmart — all important traits to have in the highly competitive set-top box arena.