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A Review of the 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K

A photo of the box for the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K

As you might expect, Apple’s product offerings have changed significantly over the more than 46 years that the company has been around. As is the case with all companies, products come and go over time. Some of the product lines that Apple are still going strong today, like the Mac, while others have gone the way of the dodo, like the iPod. One of the more recent product lines that Apple has introduced is the Apple TV. The Apple TV line of products has seen some significant changes over its 15 year life span. Apple has released its latest iteration of the Apple TV, the 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K. Before we dive into that, let us look at a brief history of the Apple TV products that have come before it.


History of the Apple TV

Throughout the last, almost 16 years of the Apple TV, there have been a total of nine models released across sevens generations of Apple TV. Let us look at each of them.

1st Generation

Ports on an Original Apple TV

At Apple’s Music event in September of 2006, Steve Jobs, founder and then CEO of Apple, previewed a brand new product, which is something that they do not do often. That product had the code-named of iTV. The actual product was not available to purchase until March of 2007 and before its release it would be renamed to be the Apple TV. The original Apple TV was a custom version of a Mac mini, in that it ran a custom Intel processor. It had an HDMI port, component video, and had 802.11b/g/n wireless chip, as well as a 10/100 ethernet port.

Even though the original Apple TV was a customized Mac mini, its software was like that of an iPod, where you would need to synchronize media to it, either via ethernet cable or Wi-Fi. Alternatively, you could also stream some content as well, but you got a better experience with synchronized media. The original Apple TV came in two storage sizes, a 40GB version for $299 or a 160GB version for $399. The original Apple TV design was a one-off design, because the 2nd generation made some significant changes.

Note: You can read my entire review of the original Apple TV in my 15 year retrospective.


2nd Generation

Introduced in September of 2010, The 2nd generation Apple TV radically changed the form factor from being a thinner Mac mini to be more of a square puck. Along with the actual design change, the internals also changed in two ways. First, the spinning hard drive was replaced with an 8GB solid-state storage. The second change was that it no longer using an Intel processor and instead it used the, then new, A4 processor, which is the same one that was being used in the iPhone 4. This processor was Apple’s entirely custom chip created by the company itself and based on the ARM-architecture.

The storage change brought another shift, the device was an entirely streaming device. Gone were the days of synchronizing content to the Apple TV, instead you would stream anything you needed from a computer or from a handful of curated streaming services. The on-board storage would be used for the operating system and local caching of content while it was streaming.


3rd Generation

It took Apple approximately 18 months to create the next Apple TV model. The 3rd generation Apple TV, introduced in March of 2012, was a refined version of the 2nd generation and released on March 7th, 2012. The software remained largely the same, and the only big change was the internal processor. Instead of the A4, the 3rd generation included a single-core A5 processor. This was needed to be able to support displaying of content in 1080p. This was an improvement over the 2nd generation which could only support up to 720p content.

In 2013, Apple released a slightly modified version of the 3rd generation Apple TV. The big difference with this revisionwas internal. The logic board and internals were re-configured so that they would require less power. This was made possible by an improved A5 processor. The next Apple TV would not be unveiled for another two and half years.


4th Generation / Apple TV HD

Apple TV from 2015

On September 9th, 2015 at their “Hey Siri, give us a hint” event, Apple announced an entirely new Apple TV. Specifically, they announced the 4th Generation of the Apple TV, later known as Apple TV HD. It would be available at the end of October 2015. The 4th Generation Apple TV was another big shift in thinking of the Apple TV. There were a number of changes, including physical hardware, internal components, software, and the remote. The physical dimensions of the product remained largely the same, except for the device being taller. This height increase was needed to accommodate a fan for cooling. This cooling was needed because of the changes to the internals.

The 4th generation Apple TV included a dual-core A8 processor. This A8 was also used in the original HomePod in 2018, the iPad Air 2, released in 2014, and the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, also released in 2014. For the time, the Apple TV had a very powerful chip to power it, possibly more than was needed at the time. The A8 was the second 64-bit chip Apple produced, the first being the A7, but the A8 was first 64-bit chip in an Apple TV. The Apple TV HD also included an 10/100mbps ethernet port, for those who would prefer to physically connect their Apple TV instead of using the 802.11ac wireless which was also included in the hardware.

The A8 processor was needed to be able to power an entirely new operating system called tvOS. tvOS started off as a new variant of Apple’s popular iPhone operating system, iOS. Being built on iOS, tvOS 9 allowed developers to create applications for the platform. At the time Apple attempted to make tvOS another destination for all sorts of applications. Besides the obvious streaming apps like HBO Max, Netflix, and Hulu, it was Apple’s intent that other apps, like games, housing apps, and every other type of app to be available on the platform, but this did not pan out as Apple expected. The last big change was the manner in which you controlled tvOS and thereby the Apple TV. This was done with a new Siri remote.

Siri Remote

Original Siri Remote for the Apple TV

One of the additional features of tvOS 9 was that it included support Siri, Apple’s personal assistant. The question might be, how could you use Siri on a standard Apple TV remote. The answer was you did not use a standard Apple TV remote. In place of the old Apple TV remote was an all-new Siri Remote. The Siri Remote took inspiration from the older Apple TV remote in that it had an aluminum back. However, on the front there was a glass surface with some additional buttons.

Gone was the circle for navigation and in its place was a glass touch surface that allowed you to navigate the tvOS interface. There were also dedicated Menu, Siri, Volume Up, Volume Down, Play/Pause, and Home buttons, all on the face of the remote.

Because TV is its own distinct area of content, you could have Siri perform specific requests that are tailored TV Shows and Movies. One example of what you might ask is “How long is the movie ‘The Shawshank Redemption’”, and Siri would provide the answer of 2 hours and 22 minutes. This would appear as an overlay on the screen so it would not interrupt what you were watching. Similarly, you could also say something like “Find the movie Apollo 13” and it would locate it from one of your installed apps, your library, or even the Movie store.


5th Generation / Apple TV 4K (1st Generation)

Apple TV 4K Logo

In 2017, Apple introduced a new Apple TV, the Apple TV 4K. The Apple TV 4K was physically the same as the Apple TV HD, but the internals were updated. Instead of the A8, there was not an A10X Fusion. Besides the internal chip, which was necessary to push the 8.2 million pixels possible while watching a 4K movie, the wireless on the device was upgraded to 802.11ac. The HDMI support was upgraded to support HDMI 2.0a. The ethernet port was also upgraded from 10/100 to gigabit ethernet.

The addition of 4K content support also brought with it support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision, provided your television also had support for the standards. These would provide even better experiences while watching your content.

6th Generation / Apple TV 4K (2nd Generation)

Last year in May of 2021, Apple released the 2nd generation Apple TV 4K. This update included two big changes. The first was the internal chip went from the A10X Fusion to the A12 Bionic. The second internal upgrade was related to Wi-Fi, going from 802.11AC (Wi-Fi 5) to 802.11AX (Wi-Fi 6) with Multiple-In-Multiple-Out (MIMO) support. Along with this, came support for content up to 60 frames-per-second.

The 2nd generation Apple TV 4K also included another feature, a Thread radio. We will get more into this later, but a short explanation of Thread is that it is a wireless smart-home protocol that manufacturers can include that should provide more reliable connections. The reason that Thread was included is because the Apple TV can be used as a “Home Hub” for your HomeKit-enabled products, and if the products were HomeKit-enabled and supported the Thread protocol, the Apple TV could directly communicate with the device instead of needing a separate hub.

The 2nd Generation Apple TV 4K included a whole new Siri Remote. This remote would also be available separately, and bundled with any Apple TV HD purchased after that point in time.

2nd Generation Siri Remote

The biggest change with the 2nd generation Apple TV 4K was the new 2nd generation Siri remote. This remote was an entire re-working of the Siri Remote. The 2nd Generation Siri Remote went combined the old-school aluminum remote with the functions of the previous generation Siri Remote. The glass was gone, meaning the large surface area for navigation was gone, well mostly.

The large surface area was replaced with a large concave touch surface, one that is verify similar to the click-wheel on an old-school iPod. The navigation area had the ability to quickly scrub through content using the outer ring of the surface. The 2nd generation Siri Remote also re-arranged some buttons. The Siri button was moved from the face of the remote to the side. This change made sense given that on all Apple’s other devices you would use the side button to access Siri, so this just brought it in line with the other devices. The other set of changes with the Sir Remote included moving the play/pause up one place to be where the Siri button had been. In place of the play/pause button was a new mute button. The addition of the mute button was good, but did cause many to have to remember to not hit that when attempting to pause the content, due to muscle memory.

The Apple TV Remotes through the years

That is all we have for the history of the Apple TV. Now that we have covered the history, let us look at the 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K.


7th Generation / 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K

Writing a review of the latest Apple TV hardware is not a simple task to accomplish, at least it not as easy as reviewing an iPhone. The reason that I say this is that with the iPhone there is likely to be some changes either in hardware, or software, that one can focus on and expound on. However, with the Apple TV box there is not that much different from generation to generation, at least not lately. I should clarify, there are some hardware changes with this generation of the Apple TV, which will cover in a bit, but there has been very little in terms of software, at least none that is worth diving deeply into. On that topic, I want to cover tvOS a bit.

tvOS

As outlined earlier, in 2015 when Apple released the original Apple TV HD, it was a major shift in that third-party developers could use the platform to create apps. Even with the ability to create applications, the software for Apple TV has had fewer features as compared to Apple’s other operating systems. The noteworthy changes to tvOS are few and far between. For instance, over the last three version releases the only changes have been:

  • Support for the Home app, including HomeKit video
  • Third-party picture-in-picture
  • Use HomePod as default output
  • Ability to play media using Siri
  • Support for the Nintendo Switch Joy Cons (actually a really good feature to be added to tvOS 16 and iOS 16)
  • Redesigned Siri interface (tvOS 16)

That is the extent of the new features that have been added in tvOS over the last three years. That is not to minimize that there have been plenty of under-the-hood enhancements like security and bug fixes, but there have not been that many obvious changes in the software. Before we discuss the hardware, let us look at another software-related item, the Apple TV app.

Apple TV App on Smart TVs

Back in March of 2019, at their “It’s show time” event, Apple announced that they would be expanding the Apple TV a bit, in particular, there would be an Apple TV app available for Smart TVs. Previously, Apple was focused on keeping its experience on its own hardware. When Apple announced this, it was a bit of a shock because typically Apple has always reserved most of their services for their own devices. One exception was Apple Music, which was also available on other platforms.

The Apple TV app for smart TVs was launched in May of 2019. This release allowed Apple to work through many of the bugs of the app with plenty of time for a brand new service to be launched later that year. When the Apple TV app was released on smart TVs it provided access to your iTunes library, including Movies and TV shows, that you have already purchased. You could not download your media, but you could stream anything in your library. The real purpose of the Apple TV app would be a new service that Apple announced at the same event in March of 2019. That service is Apple TV+.

Apple TV+

Apple TV+ logo

When it was initially launched Apple TV+ only had a handful of shows, including See, The Morning Show, For All Mankind, and Servant. It has since grown to include a plethora of shows, including some shows aimed at kids, like Amazing Stories, comedies, documentaries, and more. Apple TV+ is a service that has grown and continues to evolve as time has gone on. Now, let us look at the lates hardware where you can stream Apple TV+, the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K.

3rd Generation Apple TV 4K

Throughout the first half of its existence Apple has normally only had one model on sale. This changed in 2017 when Apple added the Apple TV 4K to the lineup. At the time, they kept the Apple TV HD on sale as a lower-priced option. The Apple TV HD continued to be sold when Apple upgraded the Apple TV 4K was upgraded to the A12 Bionic in 2021. However, the Apple TV HD has now officially been retired, not because Apple is going back down to one model, but because there is no another means of differentiation with the Apple TV hardware.

The 3rd-generation of Apple TV 4K actually has two distinct models. These are the “64GB Wi-Fi” model and the “128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet” model. There are some differences between these models, besides the name, so let us get into those differences, as well as the commonalities between the models. I opted to purchase the 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model, and the reasons for that will be explained later on. Before we get into the hardware though, let us discuss the packaging.


Commonalties Between the Models

The two models of the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K have a few commonalities. The first is that they both have an A15 Bionic chip in them. This is an improvement over the A12 Bionic that was present in the previous generation’s hardware, which is as bit strange given that the previous generation was released only 18 months ago. It would seem that the previous generation would have a slightly newer chip, like the A13, but the A12 Fusion was plenty for the functions needed on an Apple TV.

The second commonality between the two models is that they are physically smaller, 5.1% smaller in width and length, 93mm compared to 98mm, and 11.4% shorter, 31mm compared to 35mm. This may not sound like a lot and in terms of physical size it is not. However, there has also been another change, the removal of the fan. Believe it or not, the Apple TV has had a fan in it since the original Apple TV HD in 2015, but no longer. The removal of the fan aided in the reduction of size, but the bigger difference is the weight difference.

The 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K is about 50% lighter. This is mostly due to the removal of the fan, which would allow the reduction in weight. There are actually slight weight difference between the two models, but it is a small enough difference, 6 grams, that it is not worth listing them separately. The next commonality is with the Siri Remote, which has slightly changed.


Siri Remote

As outlined above, last year’s 2nd generation Apple TV 4K included a new Siri remote that was an all-aluminum design. The 3rd generation Apple TV 4K also includes the all-aluminum Siri remote, but there has been a slight tweak. When the newer Apple TVs were introduced in 2015 the Siri remote included a lightning port. That port is now gone. The latest Siri remote now charges over USB-C. This is a slight change, but a welcome one by many. It should be noted that there is no USB-C cable included in the box of the Apple TV 4K, so you may need to buy one if you do not already have a few already.

That is the extent of the hardware commonalities between the two models, now let us look at some of the differences.


Differences

There are four primary difference between the two models of 3rd generation Apple TV 4K, and two of them are identifiable in the model names, and two of them are not. The first of these differences is in the amount of storage. The 64GB model has 64GB of storage and the 128GB model has 128GB of storage. This is not a new concept for the Apple TV, in fact most of the Apple TV models have had multiple storage tiers, excluding the 2nd and 3rd generations. The Apple TV HD, and subsequent 4K models, have all had 32GB or 64GB of storage, so this year’s Apple TV is actually double the amount of storage.

Storage on an Apple TV is a curious thing. There is no way of being able to cache media or anything on the device. The only device that ever allowed this to be handled by the end user, was the original Apple TV in 2007. Since then, the storage on the Apple TV has been for streaming. Granted, you can use the storage to download things like games, but I suspect that the number of games played on the Apple TV is a fraction of one percent as compared to those on the iPhone, or even the iPad.

One other thing that you can do is allow the Apple TV to store screensavers for the Apple TV. What would really be nice would be if you could control which ones were downloaded to your Apple TV, but this has been a feature that people have wanted since 2015, and Apple has not yet added it, so it is not likely they will, but I digress.

The rear ports on the 128GB 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi + Ethernet

The second difference is the connectivity type. The 64GB model is a Wi-Fi only model. For a vast, vast majority of users this is absolutely acceptable. The 128GB model also includes Wi-Fi, but it also has a physical ethernet port. The Wi-Fi on both models is Wi-Fi 6, or 802.11AX, which supports 802.11A/B/G/N/AC/AX. This is the fastest networking available on the Apple TV. The ethernet port is a standard gigabit port. A vast majority of people who buy an Apple TV will use it on Wi-Fi and never use the ethernet port. However, there are companies who might want to have their Apple TVs plugged into an ethernet jack for security purposes, or just to maintain consistent connections. For individuals who need ethernet, it could be handy, particularly if you have an Apple TV in an area where Wi-Fi connectivity might be spotty. This could be particularly true in older houses where Wi-Fi may not work as well.

The last two differences that are not easily noticeable by the name, the first is with price, and the second is with a feature only available on the 128GB model, so let us start with the price.


Price

The Apple TV has had a variety of prices over its lifetime. One commonality between all of the boxes that had more than one price was that the prime differentiation was due to the amount of storage included with the box. The first Apple TV, the custom Mac mini, was $299 or $399, depending on your choice of storage, 40GB for $299 or 160GB for $399. The 2nd and 3rd generation Apple TVs were $99 and only had 8GB of local storage, which was used for the small operating system and for caching of content while it was being streamed. The Apple TV HD had price points of $149 for the 32GB and $199 for the 64GB model. The Apple TV 4K, both the 1st and 2nd generations, increased the price of the 32GB model to $179, the 64GB model remained at $199.

Apple TV 4K 3rd generation price comparison

One of the complaints about the Apple TV 4K models has been the price, particularly the 1st and 2nd generations of the Apple TV 4K, where the price was increased. This changes for the 3rd generation of the Apple TV 4K. Now, the 64GB model is $129 and the 128GB model is $149. This is a reduction of $20, and $30 less respectively. This price could entice more people look at the Apple TV hardware for their streaming needs. The $20 price difference is not just due to storage and ethernet, although these do contribute to it. But there is one last change that needs to be covered, and it will take a bit. That difference is with the Thread radio.


Thread and Matter

There have been a number of competing standards for the Smart Home. There as been Zigbee, Alexa, and HomeKit, just to name three. The Apple TV has been a Home Hub for all of your HomeKit devices since 2015 when the Apple TV HD was introduced, and it was built into iOS 9, iPadOS 9, and tvOS 9. Which Internet of Things that you could use would be dictated by which ecosystem you chose.

For many, myself included, opted to use HomeKit. However, HomeKit-enabled accessories were initially very limited due to a couple of factors. The first being that HomeKit was brand new, so only a few devices were available. The second was due to the requirement of having hardware within your accessories to allow it to be added through HomeKit. As you might expect, many manufacturers did not like having to have a HomeKit-specific chip in their devices, not only due to the overhead in terms of development, but also in terms of support. Furthermore, it would also increase the price of accessories, and many consumers are quite price conscious, so it would also possibly limit the market. Apple slowly eased these restrictions so that HomeKit accessories could be verified via software, which has helped adoption of HomeKit-enabled devices.

Overall though, Smart Home adoption has not been as robust as other previous technologies. This is not necessarily due to price, because those have come down, but more so due to different ecosystems not being able to communicate with each other. As an example, if you had a doorbell that was only designed for use with Amazon’s Alexa, it would not work with an Apple TV. Similarly, if you had a smart lock that was only designed to work with HomeKit, you could not use it with a Google Home. This bifurcation has lead not only to a lot of confusion on the part of consumers, but it has also meant that many consumers have put off buying any sort of smart home accessories until they can interoperate.

Quite often when there are competing standards eventually one will come forward as the dominant one and the others will fade away. A couple of examples are VHS and Betamax, where VHS became dominant. More recently, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD, where Blu-Ray won out. The industry saw that there would not likely be a clear winner anytime soon, so instead, they actually got together to create a standard. This standard is called “Matter”.

Matter

Matter is a smart-home standard that has been adopted by all of the big companies, like Amazon, Apple, Google, LG, Lutron, Samsung, and many other companies. These companies have all come together to create an industrywide standard. Any accessories that meet the standard will be able to work with any smart-assistant. This means that you can use an accessory with your Amazon Echo with Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomePod mini, or another smart assistant.

The Matter standard, previously called Connected Home Over-IP, or CHIP, is an internet protocol, or IP, based standard. The exact details of the standard are beyond the scope of this review, but the big thing to take away is that it is an industry-wide standard. One way to be able to have devices communicate is with standard protocol called Thread.

Thread

There are many different connectivity options when it comes to smart devices. This can include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or some other proprietary protocol, like Zigbee. When you have a smart device in your preferred ecosystem, it needs a way of connecting. There may instances where you want devices to be able to directly communicate with each other. This is where the Thread may come in handy.

Thread is an IPv6, mesh networking protocol. Mesh Networking allows devices to communicate directly without needing to go through a central hub, or router. In most instances you may not notice a difference, but there are those times when you will. The ability to have devices communicate directly with each other can allow more robust connections and possible future enhancements.

Apple TV 4K and Thread

Matter and Thread were mentioned because the last difference between the 64GB and 128GB models. The 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model does have a Thread radio in it, while the 64GB Wi-Fi only model does not. For most this may not be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind when looking at the models. If you have a 2nd Generation Apple TV 4K, then you already have a device that has a Thread radio in it, and you may be able to go with a 64GB model. The Thread radio being included is the last bit of additional cost for the additional cost of the in the 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model of the Apple TV 4K.

Should you Purchase a 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K?

The decision of whether to purchase an Apple TV 4K will depend on a couple of factors. If you have a 2nd Generation Apple TV 4K, it may not be worth the upgrade, unless you have a TV that can support HDR10+, because the new 3rd generation Apple TV 4K is the only one that can support that.

If you have an Apple TV HD on a 4K TV, then this is an absolute upgrade worth having because you will be able to display 4K content on your 4K TV.

The next question becomes which model to get. For a vast majority, the 64GB Wi-Fi model is the one to get. You should consider the 128GB model is you know you are going to need a Thread radio, or if you want to future proof your purchase. You should also get the 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model if you prefer having your Apple TV wired or you know you need to have it wired due to Wi-Fi issues where your Apple TV is located.


Unboxing

2nd Generation Apple TV 4K and 3rd Generation Apple TV boxes side by side

I received my Apple TV 4K on its launch day and the first thing that I noticed is that the box was a lot smaller than I had anticipated it being. It did not seem as though everything could be in such a small box, but it was all there.

One of Apple’s core tenets is to help reduce their impact on the environment, and this includes the impact of not only shipping their products, but the packaging that they come in. The third-generation Apple TV 4K box is quite a bit smaller than even last year’s model. The packaging is a bit taller, but the box is much smaller, probably about half of the overall size of last year’s model.

This difference is accomplished by rearranging the layout of the box. The power cable and Siri Remote cover the bottom of the box while the Apple TV box sits on top of these. This makes for a much more efficient packaging, allows more of them to be packed into palettes when they are shipped across the ocean, and therefore reduces the carbon footprint, as well as just using less packaging in general.


Port Configuration

As mentioned above, I opted to get the 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model of the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K. The reason I did this was to make sure that I had a device with ethernet as well as for the Thread radio. The 128GB of storage is mostly wasted on me since I do not play games nor do I download that many apps. Like a vast majority of others, I use the Apple TV for streaming. The 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model of the Apple TV does make a slight change to the configuration of the ports. With the previous models, when you looked at the Apple TV ports they would appear in the following order: power on the left, HDMI in the middle, and the ethernet port on the right.

With the 3rd Generation Apple TV 4K, this order is slightly modified. The new order is power on the left, ethernet in the middle, and HDMI on the right. The reasoning for this change is that by having the etherent port in the middle, the 64GB Wi-Fi only model will still have the same general port layout. This makes it easier for troubleshooting and support. There will be no confusion about which one is HDMI, versus which one is power. Furthermore, it does keep the two required cables as symmetrical with having a cable on each side.

Here is a photo of various Apple TVs throughout the years and their port configurations. In the photo below are the 2nd Generation Apple TV from 2010, the Apple TV HD from 2015, the 1st generation Apple TV 4K from 2017, and the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K from 2022. I did not include the original Apple TV, which I still have, and the 2nd generation Apple TV 4K, which I still use.

Ports on various Apple TV Generations, including the 2nd Gen (2010), Apple TV HD (2015), Apple TV 4K (2017), and Apple TV 4K (2022)

Setup

Back in 2017, with the release of tvOS 11, Apple added a new option to the Apple TV, home screen synchronization. If you enabled this option you would have the ability to have all of the Apple TVs that are signed into your Apple ID to use the same layout for apps. This can be useful if you have multiple Apple TVs and you want them all to be the same. This is particularly useful when you are setting up a new Apple TV.

You can setup an Apple TV much like a pair of AirPods, in that if you bring your iPhone close the Apple TV it will use your Apple ID to do all of the necessary configuration, like signing in to your Apple ID, configuring Wi-Fi, and telling the Apple TV to download all of your application and position them properly. This all works without too many issues. What does not work is attempting to use those apps after they have been downloaded.

Signing into Apps

One of the most annoying things that happens when setting up an Apple TV is that you have to sign into all of your apps again. If you have not previously owned an Apple TV, this is entirley reasonable. However, if you have had an Apple TV, particulary an Apple TV HD or newer, this is somewhat absured. Yes, tvOS can use your email address to sign-in, but not every app uses this option. Many apps still use approach of going to a website and then activating the app to effectively pair it to your account. You can understand why these may not work.

But what does not seem to work is those that require a username and password. The Apple TV is using your Apple ID, therefore one might presume that it has access to your iCloud Keychain, which would have these credentails. Even if the apps are not already signed in, at the very least the credentials should automatically fill in for you. However, they are not. Instead, you have two options. First, you can either use the Siri remote for logging in, which can be tedious. The second option, and the one that I use, is to use my iPhone and use the Apple TV remote app, in Control Center, to automatically fill in the username and password. One tip about this, be sure to select the username or password field before filling it in, it is quite likely that it will not fill in the username or password without doing this.

Overall, the entire setup took approximately 30 minutes from start to finish, which is not too bad, but it should be less than 10, including downloading apps and signing in.


Closing Thoughts

In most instances, it is not easy to write a review of the Apple TV hardware itself. This year is no exception, because on the outside there is very little difference between the

The differences with the 3rd generation Apple TV 4K line now extend beyond just storage size. This has been a trend with Apple’s hardware offerings as of late. There are two different models to choose from, the 64GB Wi-Fi model does not have a gigabit port either. Both models have an A15 Bionic, so it will allow the interface, and background processing, to be faster than previous models.

The 3rd generation Apple TV 4K comes with an updated Siri Remote that includes USB-C, so when you do need to update it, you will need to use a USB-C cable. This is a plus because USB-C will become a standard in time.

If you are in the market for an Apple TV box, now is the time to buy one because you cannot go wrong with either option that is currently available. While it is not the cheapest Apple TV that has ever been released, the 64GB model is $129 and it is a pretty good value for what you get. The 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model is $149. Both of these models are available for purchase today and are can be ordered from Apple, or many other third-party retailers.

Side of the box for the Apple TV 4K Wi-Fi and Ethernet
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