Apple made a surprise announcement this morning with the reveal of a pair of new 2022 Apple TV 4K models. The new Apple TV gains more power, more storage, more video capabilities, and, most surprisingly of all, a huge price drop from $179 to $129. That, for the first time, makes Apple’s streaming device less expensive than Amazon’s flagship streaming device, the Fire TV Cube.
The new Apple TV looks a lot like the old model from the outside, apart from some port changes that I’ll get into in just a bit. The included Siri Remote is also nearly identical to the one released last year, except the new remote for 2022 now charges using a USB-C port instead of a lightning port. Apple is also continuing to offer two models with different storage options, but springing for the more expensive version now gets you more than just double the storage.
The 2022 Apple TV 4K for $129 now comes with a whopping 64GB of internal storage, which is twice what the old model started with. That makes the paltry 16GB storage in the Fire TV Cube and Nvidia Shield TV Pro laughable. There is also a 128GB model of the new Apple TV 4K for $149. Unlike past models, however, Apple has decided to remove Ethernet from the less expensive model, so you need to pay more if you want the gigabit Ethernet port in the $149 model. Both models continue to feature WiFi 6 (802.11ax), so the new Fire TV Cube remains the only streaming device to feature WiFi 6E. The $149 Apple TV model also comes with a Thread radio to serve as a smart home hub, which is missing from the cheaper model.
As for video capabilities, the new Apple TV 4K adds support for HDR10+ for the first time. Of course, it continues to support Dolby Vision and all popular audio formats, like Dolby Atmos. Apple has made no mention of support for AV1 video decoding, but I suspect the new Apple TV is plenty powerful enough to support AV1 software decoding via its CPU, which is now bumped up to an A15 Bionic, without needing dedicated AV1 hardware decoding. That new CPU is said to be 50% more powerful than the A12 Bionic in the previous model and the new GPU is said to be 30% more powerful, although it’s unknown if the Apple TV is using the A15 with 4 GPU cores, found in older Apple devices, or the A15 with 5 GPU cores that is in the latest iPhone 14. Either way, the A15 makes the new Apple TV easily the most powerful streaming device on the market in raw performance.