Trying to figure out whether to buy or skip the new Apple TV 4K (2022)? First off our Apple TV 4K (2022) review is out, so check that out for all the details. As a huge fan of the existing Apple TV 4K (2021) — it is the device I use for streaming everything I watch online, I can help you figure out if this newly-announced upgrade is right for you.
The Apple TV 4K (2022)'s arrival is something of a surprise. Apple waited four years to update its streaming box when the 2021 model came out, so we didn't expect a new (and similar) model so soon — especially when streaming devices aren't like iPhones. You don't upgrade them that often, do you?
That said, with more storage, an A15 Bionic chip, a lower price and other perks, the Apple TV 4K (2022) is no dud. In fact, its similarities to the previous Apple TV 4K portend well for our impending review and where it could land on our best streaming devices list. That said, everyone is different, so here's my best buying advice for anyone considering the Apple TV 4K (2022).
Also, now that I've been using the new Apple TV 4K, check out the 5 things I love about the new Apple TV 4K — and one thing I hate.
Why you should buy the Apple TV 4K (2022)
You were waiting for a cheaper Apple TV 4K
As I explained in my Apple TV 4K (2022) vs Apple TV 4K (2021) face-off, the new Apple TV 4K is very similar to the old one. Sure, it's got some upgrades (Apple kinda had to if it was going to release a new model), but it's not that different.
Which is why I can say without a doubt that you will love the Apple TV 4K (2022). Or at least I know I will. The 2021 model is already pretty fast, with a much cleaner interface than many other candidates for the best streaming devices. And now that it's starting at $50 less than before (at a still-steep $129), the Apple TV 4K is definitely a bit more enticing.
You need all the A/V standards
Like Pokemon trainer Ash Ketchum, you want to be the very best. And when you realized that the Apple TV 4K (2022) improves HDR support by including HDR10+, you just got a little bit of envy for all the folks who beat Apple here. (HDR10+ support is included on all but the cheapest Roku devices, all of the Fire TV sticks and Cube and the Chromecast with Google TV 4K and its HD model too.)
HDR10+, if you didn't know, uses metadata to ensure that the contrast is more specifically fine tuned to the scenes and the content you're watching. Yes, someone uses a "+" sign outside of a new streaming service. We're as shocked as you are.
You want the fastest and most stable streaming possible
Apple packs a Gigabit Ethernet port into the Apple TV 4K (2021), which means you can get download speeds of up to 1,000 Mbps. Simply put, this out-works the 10/100 Base-T Ethernet ports (which support both 10 and 100 Mbps rates) in the Roku Ultra (more on that below) and the new Fire TV Cube 3rd Gen.
That's good news if you're in a large enough house or one where the Wi-Fi is super-congested from way-too-many devices. Similarly, if you rely on your hard-wired connections for high-quality streaming, you might see Apple's Gigabit Ethernet as a cause for celebration. And since the 2021 model had that feature too, you can find the older Apple TV for $109 on Amazon right now and save additional money.
Your current streaming device is too slow
If you fall in this camp, please reach out to me at Henry(dot)Casey(at)futurenet.com. Because we need to talk if you find the 2021 Apple TV 4K too slow. The 2022 Apple TV 4K fixes this concern with up to 50% higher CPU performance for improved responsiveness and load times, and up to 30% faster GPU performance for better Apple Arcade gaming.
As someone who uses their Apple TV 4K a lot, I've never thought "this thing is too slow." That said, if you own a Fire TV stick, a Chromecast with Google TV or a lesser Roku, and thought "this thing isn't fast enough," I understand. Having tested practically all of those options, I've always felt that some of the cheaper streaming devices need more power. And often that's either because they're in those stick/dongle enclosures that don't have the space for a heat-sink, or because the manufacturer just isn't investing.
Now, Apple's upgraded the A12 Bionic system-on-chip in the previous Apple TV 4K with an A15 Bionic chip. That's akin to not just setting the pace at an F1 Grand Prix, but lapping the competition.
You ran out of storage on your Apple TV 4K
I've only seen this happen once, but you can hit a wall on the Apple TV 4K (2021)'s default storage capacity of 32GB. That might be because this is my job and I'm always trying new apps. Or because I had one too many Apple Arcade games installed.
Either way, Apple's upgrading storage with its new model. The entry-level Apple TV jumps from 32GB of storage to 64GB, while the $149 Wi-Fi and Ethernet model features 128GB. All you app addicts (hopefully) won't need to think about having to erase a single game, streaming service or other kind of tvOS app.
Why you should skip the Apple TV 4K (2022)
You already own the Apple TV 4K (2021)
It may be a lower price, but $129 is a lot of money to spend on a decidedly iterative update. Yes, there are some improvements here, but none is quite worth $129. Especially in this economy. So while I wouldn't turn my nose up at being gifted the Apple TV 4K (2022) to replace my 2021 model, I'm not sure I'd put one on my wish list.
Right now, the biggest Apple TV 4K internal upgrade I can imagine would be the addition of webcam support (which the new Fire TV Cube (2022) improves upon with its built-in USB port) for SharePlay. You currently have to juggle a second device in hand, and that's no good.
You care about streaming more than Apple features
Here's the thing about the Apple TV 4K (2022): beyond the Apple integrations such as Apple Arcade and Apple Fitness), it's still simply a fast and snappy 4K UHD streaming device. If you buy the $149 model, it has an Ethernet port for more stable streaming.
The $99 Roku Ultra, which can be had for $50 less than the Apple TV 4K with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, has the same streaming smarts as the Apple TV 4K. You get Dolby Vision and Atmos for video and sound quality, the same non-Dolby HDR settings and the 2021 Apple TV 4K's support for Dolby Vision at 60fps for sports and other fast-paced content.
Apple TV 4K (2022) outlook
On paper, the Apple TV 4K (2022) is what happens if you took the already-great 2021 model, and made it (slightly) better. Format sticklers and pro users who need more speed and storage will appreciate this year's model. I'm excited to get it in and start testing it out, but this Apple TV doesn't look like it reinvents the wheel, especially when it's still more than twice as much as the Roku Streaming Stick 4K, our pick for the best streaming device.
That said, those who love their Apple hardware will likely love the upgrade if and when they move from a different platform.