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Apple TV 4K: Streamlined TV streaming device that sticks to a winning formula

Apple haven’t fiddled too much with the blueprint in this new streamer - it’s slightly smaller, with a few added features

Apple TV 4K (2022)
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Price: €169
Where To Buy: Apple

Apple’s latest TV streaming device may look a touch familiar. But that is not necessarily a bad thing. The company has found a formula that works, and if we have learned anything from tech history, it’s that if you have a success on your hands, it’s probably best not to mess with it too much until you really have to.

So the black box largely looks the same, albeit slightly smaller than its predecessor and significantly smaller than the old Apple TV HD that has been a part of my streaming TV set-up for some time. It performs the same tasks too: streaming TV, some games from Apple Arcade, and has some smart home abilities. Plus you can send content from your Airplay-enabled devices straight to the TV.

Apple TV – not to be confused with streaming service Apple TV+ – isn’t the cheapest TV streaming device out there. But in a world where prices are climbing thanks to a strong dollar, Apple’s device manages to buck the trend. At launch, the 2021 version of the Apple TV 4K was €199; this year’s updated version starts at €169. For that, you get 64GB of space, but no Ethernet connection. If you want the ability to use a wired connection you’ll need the €189 version, which is the version reviewed here, with double the on-board storage at 128GB and Thread and Matter support for the next generation of smart home connections. That means your Apple TV can act as a Thread border router in your smart home of the future, though you won’t necessarily need that feature if you already have a similarly enabled device in your set-up. And, as the name suggests, it supports 4K content.

Apple has kept all the good features from the previous version. Set-up takes only a few minutes, especially if you have an iPhone that you can use to log into apps, add wifi connections and generally get everything up and running in a matter of minutes. Apple gently walks you through it step by step, so as far as device set-up goes, it’s actually a pleasant experience. Your iPhone can also act as a remote control for when you inevitably lose the Siri remote, or a remote keyboard for logging into apps without having to use the painful on-screen keyboards.


You can also add apps to it easily if you want, thanks to the App Store, which largely replicates the same experience you get on the mobile and Mac platforms.

So far, so Apple. The real changes are largely on the inside. The new version adds a few things, such as HDR10+ support. That joins Dolby Vision, HDR and HDR10. As far as TV tech goes, Apple has it covered.

The whole package is now powered by the A15 Bionic, the same chip that’s in the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro models, the latest iPhone SE, and the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus. It’s significantly faster than the A12 Bionic that was in last year’s Apple TV, and the GPU is faster too. You might wonder why the jump is necessary, but it means that your device is fast and will remain that way for some time. If you are an Apple Arcade gamer, you’ll be glad of the extra power. It also means that things like on-screen menus seem to load faster, although you’ll only really notice if you have been using an older Apple TV device.

The Siri remote is largely the same, although it has shifted to a USB C connection rather than a lightning one. That’s yet another device that has moved away from the proprietary connector and towards the common standard that has been adopted widely in electronics.

What would be helpful is if you could track the remote control on the Find My app. My ancient Apple TV HD has been working minus the Siri remote for at least a year because the remote control has long since disappeared. Apple hasn’t seen fit to put this feature into the Siri remote yet, which is a shame.


Apple has managed to bring the new Apple TV in cheaper than last year’s launch price, while also cramming more storage into the entry-level version. If you want a purely wireless experience, and have no need for a Thread border router, the entry-level version will fit the bill nicely.

Removing the fan has also allowed Apple to slim down the Apple TV box. It was news to me that there was a fan inside the Apple TV – I can’t recall ever being aware of it – but it makes for a neater package.

Adding in support for HDR10+ also fills a gap in last year’s device capability.


The Ethernet connection isn’t available on the 64GB version, only the 128GB. And having Thread support will future-proof your smart home. There isn’t a huge amount in the price, though.

And it would be nice to see the Siri remote findable through the Find My app.

What else?

The new generation of Apple TV 4K is powered by the A15 Bionic, which is a jump from last year’s A12-powered device. But if you are using it solely for TV streaming, you won’t notice much of a difference in performance.

Should I upgrade?

If you bought last year’s version, there isn’t a lot extra here that would warrant a replacement this soon. However, if you’ve got the older generation Apple TV HD, for example, this might be a reasonable – and slimmer – upgrade.

The verdict

Apple has delivered another solid streaming TV device that can also work for games – but it is facing stiff competition from cheaper rivals.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist