For those who love all things Apple and are looking around for a streaming box to add to their home theater system, there’s really only one choice to consider: An Apple TV. These devices are as sleek and easy to use as you’d expect from an Apple product and integrate seamlessly into your collection of Apple products. The only drawback is that these devices can be hard to find and often go out of stock, whether that’s the base model or the high-resolution Apple TV 4K.
We’re helping you out by rounding up some of the best deals available. And don’t forget that you’ll get a free one-year subscription to Apple TV+ streaming service with every new (not refurbished) Apple TV device purchased, so you can enjoy content from iTunes, Apple TV+, and apps like Netflix and Hulu.
- Apple TV (4th generation) 32GB - Refurbished — $100, was $149
- Apple TV 4K (32GB) — $160, was $179
- Apple TV 4K (32GB, latest version) — $169, was $179
- Apple TV 4K (64GB, latest version) — $190, was $199
The latest Apple TV 4K is here and it’s one of the best streaming media devices you can buy. The biggest visual upgrade is the new remote. Apple replaced the touchpad at the top of the previous model with a touch-sensitive circular directional pad. It works like your average remote, with four directions and a center button, but also uses touch-sensitive tech for swiping and scrolling. It’s a little like the old iPod scroll wheel if anyone remembers those. Other small tweaks include moving the Siri button to the side, adding a TV power button, and changing the color from black to silver.
The new Apple TV 4K has a new processing chip. You can now watch high frame rate HDR and stream higher resolution video via AirPlay from an iOS device. The 32GB version is $179, and the 64GB version is $199.
Released in 2017, the Apple TV 4K is still available while supplies last. Given how few new features were added to the latest version, if you can find a good price, grab it! You can stream content in 4K Ultra HD with HDR and Dolby Vision, access thousands of apps from the app store, listen to awesome surround sound in Dolby Atmos, and control it all with your voice thanks to the Siri-enabled remote control.
Of course, the Apple TV 4K gives you access to Apple TV+, but it’s also compatible with all the usual streaming suspects, like CBS All Access, HBO Now, Hulu Plus, Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video. Google Play Movies and TV work too, but not natively. Instead, these have to be streamed via AirPlay on an iPad, iPhone, or Mac.
Designed for HDTVs and not 4K TVs like the Apple TV 4K, the Apple TV is near-identical to the top-of-the-line console in the sense it can tap into the same collection of on-demand content, can be controlled through Siri, and offers one-click mirroring from an iPad, iPhone, or MacBook through AirPlay, with the main difference being it can only stream in Full HD with SDR.
This model was released alongside the Apple TV 4K in 2017 and is the latest non-4K Apple TV, so it’s rare to find it in the discount bin with a significant amount off. As is the case with the Apple TV 4K, though, every once in awhile a retailer like Walmart will hold an “Apple TV sale” that will see it reduced by a few bucks — money better off in your pocket than theirs.
Welcome to the reduced-to-clear zone. Launched in 2013, the Apple TV (3rd Gen) was the first Apple TV that could stream content in Full HD. It can tap into the same selection of streaming services as the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV, streaming in Full HD with SDR, and supports AirPlay. So, how does it differ from the Apple TV HD? It doesn’t have Siri or built-in storage.
If you’re shopping on a budget, this is without a shadow of a doubt the best model to go for. It costs $99 new, but it’s not uncommon to find a sealed model in the discount bin for somewhere in the region of $50 to $75. You could even take it home for less if you don’t mind a refurbished model (there’s absolutely nothing wrong with this — in fact, we recommend it).
It wouldn’t be fair to talk about cheap Apple TVs and not mention the Apple TV (2nd Gen), the cheapest Apple TV on the shelves right now. It’s not hard to see why, either: This puppy debuted in 2010. It’s still trudging along though, entertaining millions of people per month. Again, it can access all the leading streaming services. The catch? It maxes out at 720p HD.
But for what it costs, if you’re looking to smarten up an HDTV in the basement or a bedroom, it’s the Apple TV for the job. Fortunately, the Apple TV (2nd Gen) is a veteran of Apple TV sales; it’s impossible to stroll past a bargain bin and not see one in there. There are also masses of refurbished models out there, which are worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.
If there’s a 4K TV at the center of your entertainment setup, then look no further than the Apple TV 4K. Why? Because it can stream content in 4K Ultra HD with HDR — either Dolby Vision or HDR10 — and Dolby Atmos surround sound. The result richer detail, more accurate color, and lifelike audio. The Apple TV maxes out at Full HD with SDR, which is HDTV level.
Like the Apple TV HD, the Apple TV 4K has Siri on board. This is used to do everything from serving up recommended content on the home screen to arming you with the option to search for specific material across all supported streaming services, such as CBS All Access and Netflix, with the mere mumble of a voice command. It can even answer questions.
So the main difference between the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD is resolution and support for HDR. If you’re going to be tuning into the latest must-see show or movie on a 4K TV, we recommend you opt for the more expensive Apple TV 4K. This would be overkill for a standard HDTV setup though, so if that’s what you’re rocking with then you’ll feel right at home with the Apple TV HD.
Now to throw a wrench in the works. The difference between Full HD and 4K Ultra HD is massive — and that is without HDR. If you’re considering upgrading to a 4K TV in the near future, take home the Apple TV 4K while it’s on sale. It will do all the stuff the Apple TV HD does while hooked up to an HDTV, with the added benefit of 4K HDR when connected to a 4K TV.
We won’t dive too deep into this one as we touched on it earlier, but there’s little between the Apple TV HD and Apple TV (3rd Gen). Both can stream the same selection of content through streaming services like Netflix in Full HD with SDR. The difference? The Apple TV HD looks a little more modern, comes with a new remote control, and has Siri onboard.
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