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Compared: New Apple TV 4K versus 2021 Apple TV 4K

Left: Apple TV 4K 2021. Right: Apple TV 4K 2022

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Apple has updated the Apple TV 4K with a thinner design and an upgraded processor. Here's how it compares to the older model.

The device is a modest update from the model that Apple released in 2021. The 2022 version is thinner and lighter and now comes in two configurations. It also starts at a lower price point than the previous model.

Otherwise, the new Apple TV 4K continues to deliver entertainment through tvOS, from services such as Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. Users can also control certain smart home accessories using the Thread network protocol with specific Apple TV 4K models.

One of the most significant differences that the new Apple TV 4K delivers is the two variants: a Wi-Fi-only model or a Wi-Fi + Ethernet model. The older 2021 product included Wi-Fi and Ethernet in one model, without other variants.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Specifications

Specifications2021 Apple TV 4K2022 Apple TV 4K
Price (starting)$179.00$129.00
Dimensions (inches)3.9 x 3.9 x 1.43.66 x 3.66 x 1.2
Weight (ounces)157.3
ProcessorA12 BionicA15 Bionic
Storage32GB
64GB
64GB
128GB
ConnectivityHDMI 2.1
WiFi 6 with MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
Thread
Ethernet
HDMI 2.1
WiFi 6 with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5.0
Thread
Ethernet (one model)
VideoSDR
HDR10
Dolby Vision
SDR
HDR10+
Dolby Vision
AudioAAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Dolby AtmosAAC, MP3, Apple Lossless, FLAC, AIFF, WAV; Dolby Digital 5.1, Dolby Digital Plus 7.1, Dolby Atmos
Siri RemoteBluetooth 5.0
IR transmitter
Lightning
Bluetooth 5.0
IR transmitter
USB-C
PortsHDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
HDMI
Gigabit Ethernet
AirPlayYesYes

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Design, Size, Weight

The design of the new Apple TV 4K hasn't changed from its 2021 predecessor. It's still a glossy black square filled with electronics, although the new model is thinner and lighter.

The 2021 Apple TV 4K is 1.4 inches in height, has a width and depth of 3.9 inches, and weighs 15 ounces. The new Apple TV 4K clocks in at 1.2 inches in height, 3.66 in width and depth, and weighs 7.3 or 7.5 ounces, depending on the model.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Processor & Performance

A significant upgrade that the Apple TV 4K 2022 offers is the A15 Bionic chip that replaces the A12 Bionic chip in the 2021 model. Apple claims the A15 brings up to 50% faster CPU performance than the A12 and up to 30% faster graphics performance.

Apple introduced the A15 Bionic chip with the iPhone 13 smartphone line. According to data from Geekbench users in 2021, the A15 chip's average single-core score is 1730.

Apple TV 4K 2022 has an A15 Bionic chip
Apple TV 4K 2022 has an A15 Bionic chip

Multi-score scores averaged 4621, and we expect roughly the same performance in the new Apple TV 4K. However, a report from September 2022 claimed that the A15 chip in certain iPhone 14 models was an "enhanced" version.

If true, it's certainly possible that Apple included the enhanced A15 chip inside the Apple TV 4K.

Related to the A15 processor and its greater efficiency compared to the A12 chip, Apple says the chip upgrade improves the environmental impact of the 2022 Apple TV 4K. It uses approximately 30% less power than the 2021 model, thus eliminating the need for a fan.

Removing the fan was a contributing factor in the slimmer design, and Apple claims it results in a 25% reduction of the new model's carbon footprint compared to the 2021 Apple TV 4K.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Video Output

The video output capabilities slightly changed in the new Apple TV 4K with the inclusion of HDR10+, compared to HDR10 on the older model.

HDR10 is a common standard for televisions and other devices that can handle HDR video. The 10 in the name refers to 10-bit color depth support, and it also handles content that has been mastered with a peak brightness of 1,000 nits.

HDR10 and HDR10+ both handle video metadata differently. The former uses "static metadata," and the latter uses "dynamic metadata." Static metadata in HDR10 applies the same brightness and tone mapping for the entire video content.

Meanwhile, the dynamic metadata that HDR10+ can handle means the Apple TV 4K can adjust the brightness and tone mapping on a scene-by-scene basis, achieving a more optimized image throughout a movie or TV show. HDR10+ also supports mastering up to 4,000 nits for brighter videos.

New Siri Remote has USB-C charging
New Siri Remote has USB-C charging

Both models support Dolby Vision up to 2160p at 60 frames per second. HDR10+/HDR10/HLG on the new Apple TV 4K handles 2160p at 60 fps, no change from the older model except for HDR10+.

The key to both is a compatible TV. HDR10+ or Dolby support in the Apple TV 4K doesn't matter if the rest of your equipment doesn't support it.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Siri Remote

The Apple TV 4K released in 2021 featured an updated design for the Siri Remote. The Remote is thicker, longer, and has more buttons than the old version, with a silver aluminum finish.

Buttons on the updated 2021 Siri Remote include controls for mute, TV, volume, Siri, a back button for returning to previous content, and a touch-enabled clickpad with four directional buttons and a center selection button.

The only difference in the 2022 Siri Remote is the USB-C port for charging that replaces the Lightning port on the older Remote. Apple is increasingly adding USB-C ports across its products, and that now includes the new Siri Remote.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Connectivity & Capacity

Connectivity is also where the new Apple TV 4K differs from the 2021 model, as Apple now offers the device in two configurations. The Wi-Fi model comes with 64GB of storage, and the Wi-Fi + Ethernet version of the Apple TV has 128GB.

The 2021 Apple TV 4K had one Wi-Fi + Ethernet version with either 32GB or 64GB of storage.

Top: Wi-Fi only model. Bottom: Wi-Fi + Ethernet
Top: Wi-Fi only model. Bottom: Wi-Fi + Ethernet

Connectivity on the 2022 Wi-Fi model includes 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 2x2 MIMO, HDMI 2.1, and Bluetooth 5.0, nearly the same as the 2021 Apple TV that sticks with regular MIMO. The Wi-Fi + Ethernet 2022 Apple TV 4K has Thread networking support, which the Wi-Fi version lacks. The 2021 Apple TV 4K also includes support for Thread.

As a home hub, Apple TV 4K securely connects to compatible smart home accessories, such as Homekit cameras, lights, and shades. The support for Thread also includes Matter, which can run over Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and Thread, using Bluetooth Low Energy to let devices talk to each other.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - Pricing

The 2021 Apple TV 4K costs $179 for the 32GB model and $199 for the 128GB model and is no longer for sale on Apple's website.

The 2022 Apple TV 4K has two configurations. The 64GB Wi-Fi model retails for $129 and the 128GB Wi-Fi + Ethernet model sells for $149.

However, the storage is tied to each device. The Wi-Fi model doesn't have the option to upgrade to 128GB, and the Wi-Fi + Ethernet version doesn't have a 64GB option.

The new Apple TV 4K is available to preorder now. It starts shipping on Friday, November 4.

2022 Apple TV 4K vs 2021 Apple TV 4K - What to Buy

The lineup for the Apple TV 4K is odd this year, with the different configurations and modest upgrades for the processor and video output, as well as Thread support on only one model.

It's a hard sell, and existing customers should only upgrade if they need a faster performance in the chip. The old 2021 model still has Wi-Fi 6 and an Ethernet port, although it is nice that the Wi-Fi + Ethernet model is still cheaper than the old Apple TV 4K.

Most people probably won't notice a big difference today in HDR10 video versus HDR10+ content. However, the updated Siri Remote with USB-C charging is also a welcome addition, and Apple TV owners can purchase that separately.

Apple TV 4K 2022 can handle HDR10+ content
Apple TV 4K 2022 can handle HDR10+ content

We recommend that prospective buyers of the Apple TV 4K should buy the Wi-Fi + Ethernet model. It future-proofs their product ecosystem if they want Ethernet or eventually connect Thread smart home accessories.

Where to buy the Apple TV 4K

The 2022 Apple TV 4K is available to order from Amazon, with a starting retail price of $129.

Closeout Apple TV 4K models are also on sale at Amazon, with prices dipping to as low as $109.99 at press time.

You can find the latest deals and promos across new and closeout models in our Apple TV 4K Price Guide.