The new Apple TV has finally arrived, after much anticipation and rumor regarding the new Apple set-top box. And with a three-year gap since the last version of the Apple TV was released, the next generation device needs to offer a significant improvement over the existing Apple TV hardware. So how does the new Apple TV compare to the old, and does this next generation device deliver? Here is a comparison of the last gen and new gen Apple TV.
Apple TV – Size and Weight
The new Apple TV is in fact slightly larger and heavier than the previous hardware. This could be due to the new features that Apple has included in its makeup. But whatever the reasons for this discrepancy, the new Apple TV is over 150g heavier than the previous version of the set-top box, and also very marginally larger, being approximately 10 mm longer than the previous iteration in the series.
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Many Apple fans were demanding a 4K resolution Apple TV in this release, but unfortunately Apple has not delivered this screen resolution. Apple TV is capable of displaying either of the two HD resolutions, 720p or 1080p, but Apple has decided against including any form of ultra HD technology in this device.
The new generation Apple TV should be a significantly more powerful device than the somewhat out-of-date predecessor considering that it includes the new A8 processor as a CPU. This should ensure a much slicker viewing and browsing experience for Apple TV users when the device hits the stores.
Apple has also massively increased the memory in the Apple TV device, effectively quadrupling it over the last generation Apple TV to 2 GB. Combined with the improved processor, this should ensure a slicker operation that finds favor with Apple fans. Considering that there has been no screen resolution increase as well, it almost guarantees a significantly improved performance over the last generation hardware.
Apple TV users wanting to store data on the device will be pleasantly surprised by Apple’s decisions in this department. The consumer electronics giant has announced two versions of the Apple TV, and both hugely improve on the storage in the last generation device. Whereas the previous iteration in the Apple TV series offered 2 GB of storage, the next generation hardware will offer consumers a choice of 32 GB and 64 GB versions. In a world in which people are storing increasing amounts of media in hard drives, even outside of conventional computers, it certainly seems to be a step in the right direction.
Naturally Apple has included HDMI ports in the Apple TV, as was the case in the last generation of the device, but there is also a major innovation here as well. Apple TV will embrace the USB-C connector that has generated a fair amount of headlines since its release, and this will be extremely welcome to fans of the Apple TV series, and also those Apple TV users with multiple Apple devices.
There isn’t a huge amount of difference between the last generation Apple TV and the new hardware in terms of either video or audio codecs, with one notable exception. Apple has included Dolby Digital Plus 7.1 in the new Apple TV, ensuring that this becomes an outstanding music player and also that video content can be accompanied by the highest sound quality imaginable. This should really be a welcome feature for those who intended to use Apple TV as a home cinema system.
Another major innovation in this new Apple TV is the inclusion of apps. This must be seen as pretty much a no-brainer in a marketplace in which people are obsessed with the concept of apps, but it is nonetheless an extremely welcome inclusion in the Apple TV hardware. According to the presentation that Apple gave on September 9, Apple TV will have full Apple App Store access, ensuring that all manner of software can be downloaded to the set-top box.
Apple has also ensured that the amount of content available for this new Apple TV release is significantly increased. Thus, some of the content already confirmed for the Apple TV includes iTunes, AirPlay, iCloud, Netflix, HBO Now, Zulu, Showtime, NBA, NHL, CNN, Fox, CBS Kids, BBC News, Disney channel and ESPN. Apple also promises much more content besides, and there is already a huge amount of negotiation taking place behind the scenes to bring new movies in particular to the Apple TV platform. There certainly shouldn’t be a lack of content for people upgrading to this next generation set-top box; this is the best stocked Apple TV thus far.
Probably the biggest innovation that Apple has included in the new Apple TV is the games-oriented capabilities of the hardware. With the Apple TV now being operable via gestures, comparisons with the Nintendo Wii video games console have been rife. Apple certainly seems to be making a major play for the casual gaming market, and the new Apple TV can play a major role in this process. The previous Apple TV was very much focused on television, whereas the new device attempts to be more of an all-rounder.
All of these improvements naturally come at a premium in terms of price. Whereas the last generation Apple TV retailed at $99, the new Apple TV will cost either $149 or $199 depending on the specific memory quotient that is required.
The new Apple TV is certainly a significant improvement over the previous set-top box, and represents a serious change of strategy for Apple in this marketplace. In truth, an update to the Apple TV concept was long overdue, and this new device clearly delivers a lot more bang for your buck than the previous Apple TV device. Apple is clearly attempting to ensure that the Apple TV occupies a more mainstream position in its product range, and the upgrades made to the Apple TV concept certainly suggest that the hardware could attract a broader audience this time out, despite the increased price tag.