Last week, Apple announced the new Apple TV. The Apple TV 4K packs both 4K image quality and HDR technology to give a better picture than ever.
But the older model of Apple TV is still on sale. Not sure which is right for you? We’ve compared them by categories including content, connections, power, and of course the all-important price, so you can see which fits your needs.
Are you sitting comfortably? Then we’ll begin.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): picture quality
The headline feature of the new Apple TV is 4K. This is a resolution with four times as many pixels as high definition, making for much sharper image quality.
Not only does it have 4K, it also packs HDR, which stands for high dynamic range.
This enlarges the difference between the light and dark parts of the picture, and also adds in more ‘steps’ in between them.
As a result, it's easier to see what’s going on in moodily-lit scenes. It also gives the picture a greater sense of depth, making it feel more lifelike.
The older model of Apple TV, however, has no such bells and whistles. Instead, you’ll have to make do with HD content, which is still perfectly good, of course. And remember, if you don’t have a 4K TV, you won’t see any difference with 4K films anyway.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): content
Both models run the same selection of apps, so you get the same films, TV shows, apps and games from iTunes. Though there are some differences.
Netflix, iTunes and Amazon Prime Video (when it arrives on Apple TV later in the year) all offer 4K content, which obviously isn’t available on the older Apple TV. You’ll need a Premium Netflix subscription (£8.99 a month) to watch 4K films and shows from that streaming service. But iTunes offers it for no more money than HD content.
Even better, if you’ve already bought a film or show in HD, Apple will gift you the 4K version (if there is one) at no extra cost.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): processor
The new model is powered by Apple’s A10X fusion chip, which is the same as found in the iPad Pro. Which should make it blisteringly fast.
The 2015 model contains the A8 chip, which is older. In fact, it’s the same one found inside the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, both of which are still fine phones. Though performance won’t be quite as nippy as the newer model.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): storage
The Apple TV 4K comes in both 64GB and 32GB options, while the 2015 model is only available in 32GB. That means you’ll fit about twice as many films, apps, games and songs on the newer model.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): connectivity
The Apple TV 4K has far more advanced connections than its predecessor. As well as a gigabit Ethernet port, there’s 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, for speedy – and future-proofed – wireless connections.
It also has an HDMI 2.0a port.
The 2015 Apple TV has to make do with a lesser Ethernet port, an older standard of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. There’s also an HDMI 1.4 port.
While it has older ports and connections, it’s worth noting that the 2015 Apple TV will still work fine with modern TVs.
Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV (2015): price
Now, the all-important question. How much do they cost?
The Apple TV 4K starts at £179 for the 32GB model – that’s £30 more expensive than the same capacity 2015 model. For the 64GB Apple TV 4K, you’ll pay £199.
There are much cheaper alternatives around. The Google Chromecast Ultra streams in 4K, though you’ll need an Android phone to use as the remote control. It costs £69. Not bothered about 4K? The standard Chromecast costs just £30.
Roku also makes a range of streaming boxes and sticks that are cheaper than Apple’s, but come with remote controls. You can see the range here.
Finally, Amazon’s Fire TV range of devices do much the same thing, though you will be locked into Amazon’s ecosystem. So check what content it offers before you buy.