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Apple TV 4K (2017) vs Apple TV 4K (2022): Should You Upgrade?

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The Apple TV 4K hasn’t changed much over the years with the 2017 model still very similar to the new 2022 versions. However, there are enough changes that may make now the right time to consider an upgrade. Here is a closer look at the Apple TV 4K (2017) in 2022 and how it compares to the new Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) models.

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The first Apple TV 4K was released in September 2017. The first-generation streaming player was available to buy in two versions with the storage limit the main difference between the two. The standard 32GB version was priced at $179 in the United States, while the 64GB model set buyers back $199.

The newest Apple TV 4K (3rd generation) was announced in October 2022. Similar to the 2017 model, the 2022 player is also available in two different versions with the primary differences being storage, connectivity, and Thread support. In spite of being newer and equipped with more advanced technologies, Apple is actually selling the latest versions for cheaper. The 2022 Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi) costs $129 while the Apple TV (Wi-Fi + Ethernet) is priced at $149.

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Below is a more detailed look at the specs of both the 2017 and 2022 Apple TV 4K players:

Apple TV 4K20172022
Height1.4 inches (35 mm)1.2 inches (31 mm)
Width3.9 inches (98 mm)3.66 inches (93 mm)
Depth3.9 inches (98 mm)3.66 inches (93 mm)
Weight15 ounces (425 g)7.5 ounces (214 g)
Storage32GB64GB/128GB
ProcessorA10X Fusion chipA15 Bionic chip
Siri Remote1st generation3rd generation
SDR videoup to 2160p, 60 fpsup to 2160p, 60 fps
Dolby Visionup to 2160p, 60 fpsup to 2160p, 60 fps
HDR10up to 2160pup to 2160p, 60 fps
HDR10+Noup to 2160p, 60 fps
Dolby AtmosYesYes
HDMI2.0a2.1
IR receiverYesYes
Bluetooth5.05.0
Wi‑Fi802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMOWi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Gigabit EthernetYesWi-Fi - No
Wi-Fi + Ethernet - Yes
Thread supportNoYes

Time to upgrade to a new Apple TV 4K?

Five years is plenty of time to consider upgrading, but the 2017 model does hold up surprisingly well overall. Probably the biggest difference between the 2017 and 2022 versions is at the chip level. While the Apple TV 4K (2017) is equipped with an A10X Fusion chip (also found in the 2017 iPad Pro models), the Apple TV 4K (2022) features an A15 Bionic chip. This is the same chip that’s in the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus.

Naturally, a newer chip, especially with such a generational gap between the A10X Fusion and A15 Bionic, is going to help with performance. If the current Apple TV 4K (2017) is feeling a little sluggish or encounters problems, then upgrading to the 2022 and its faster and more efficient processor is likely to remove those issues. If considering upgrading to the Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi + Ethernet), the buyer will also get four times the storage, making it possible to download even more apps and games.

The decision to upgrade does become slightly harder if considering purchasing the cheaper Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi). The reason for this is that the cheaper 2022 model is actually missing Gigabit Ethernet, which the 2017 version does come with.

Apple TV 4K wifi vs wifi and ethernet
Left: Wi-Fi, Right: Wi-Fi + Ethernet

If Gigabit Ethernet is important, then it will be best to upgrade to the Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi + Ethernet) model. If not important, then upgrading to the cheaper $129 Apple TV player will still result in a boost in performance and twice the storage.

Regardless of which 2022 model a consumer decides to upgrade to, they will benefit from an upgrade in the remote department as well. While the 2017 Apple TV 4K came with a first-generation Siri remote, both 2022 models ship with a new third-generation Siri remote. The third-generation remote is very similar to the second generation, with the major difference being a switch to USB-C for charging. Either way, it is a significant upgrade on the remote shipped with the 2017 Apple TV 4K.

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Apple TV 4K 2017 vs 2022 summary

The 2017 and 2022 Apple TV 4K players look similar but they do house a number of differences underneath. For example, the newest models come with a processor that’s multiple generations newer, more storage, HDR10+ support, and an even cheaper price. All of which should make the decision of whether it is time to upgrade from the 2017 model a little easier.

Of course, with two new 2022 Apple TV models to choose from, some may find that they lose out in some ways if opting for the cheaper model. Not only will they lose Gigabit Ethernet, but they also won’t gain access to Thread support. If wanting to upgrade from the 2017 model to the best player that Apple currently sells then the Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi + Ethernet) is going to be the right choice. If just wanting to stream movies and shows on a faster device (and not using Ethernet) then the Apple TV 4K (Wi-Fi) will work just fine.

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John Finn

By John Finn

John started Streaming Better to help consumers navigate the live TV streaming and subscription service landscape. John has been writing about technology and TV-related services and devices since 2014 and believes the best streaming approach is to bounce between services as needed. Contact John via email at john@streamingbetter.com or on Twitter

4 replies on “Apple TV 4K (2017) vs Apple TV 4K (2022): Should You Upgrade?”

Good question. The 2022 version supports Dolby Atmos while the 2017 version doesn’t. Otherwise, the audio format support is identical. Will update the comparison table to include this.

You are right, it does. It seems the 2017 Apple TV 4K gained Dolby Atmos via a software update in 2018, which is what led to the confusion. Thanks for spotting.

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