Apple TV 4K 1st Gen vs 3rd Gen: Unraveling the Ultimate Showdown!

Comparing Apple TV 4K 1st Gen vs 3rd Gen: Which is Right for You?

In the ever-evolving landscape of home entertainment, the choice between Apple TV 4K 1st Gen and 3rd Gen beckons a discerning decision. 

These two iterations promise stunning visuals, Dolby Atmos sound, and seamless integration into the Apple ecosystem. While the 1st Gen boasts user testimonials of excellence in audio and video, the 3rd Gen steps in with the powerhouse A15 Bionic chip for enhanced performance. 

Join us as we delve into the nuanced world of Apple TV, exploring the nuances, pros, and cons that set the 1st Gen and 3rd Gen apart in this comprehensive comparison.

Brief Overview Table:

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Name Customer Rating Overall 1/10 Scale Rating Ports Networking   
Apple tv 4k 1st gen 4.8 8.5 HDMI 2.0a3, Gigabit Ethernet, IR receiver Gigabit Ethernet; 802.11ac Wi‑Fi with MIMO; simultaneous dual band (2.4GHz and 5GHz); Bluetooth 5.0 3.9 inches (98 mm) 1.4 inches (35 mm)
Apple tv 4k 3rd gen 4.7 9.5 ‎HDMI 2.1Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology 3.66 inches (93 mm) 1.2 inches (31 mm)

Apple TV 4K 1st Gen:


  • Excellent picture and sound quality, especially with Dolby Atmos.
  • Smooth interface and easy navigation.
  • Seamless integration with other Apple devices.
  • Supports AirPlay for easy mirroring of content from iPhone and iPad.
  • Siri voice control allows searching across multiple apps.
  • Supports HomePods for stereo sound and Dolby Atmos.
  • Integration with Apple Fitness+ for fitness enthusiasts.
  • 4K HDR and Dolby Vision for stunning visuals.
  • Apple TV+ subscription included for one year.
  • Wide range of apps available on the App Store.


  • The remote control is criticized for its touch sensitivity and gestures.
  • Remote lacks physical buttons and can be challenging to use in the dark.
  • The remote issue could be a significant drawback for some users.
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Apple TV 3rd Gen:


  • Fast performance and no lag in operation.
  • Improved screen mirroring speed from iPhones.
  • Sleek design and small form factor.
  • 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10+ for vivid picture quality.
  • Dolby Atmos provides immersive sound experience.
  • A15 Bionic chip ensures powerful processing.
  • Siri Remote with touch-enabled clickpad for precise control.
  • Magnificently packaged, even in refurbished units.
  • Seamless connectivity with Apple accounts and other Apple devices.
  • Easy setup and user-friendly interface.


  • Some users may find the remote too sensitive.
  • The need to purchase a USB-C cable separately for charging.
  • Limited customization for power users compared to other media centers.
  • Best suited for users within the Apple ecosystem; may not be ideal for non-Apple users.
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Overall Comparison:

  • Both devices offer excellent picture quality with 4K Dolby Vision and HDR10+ support.
  • The 3rd gen model boasts the powerful A15 Bionic chip for fast performance.
  • Apple TV 4K 1st gen has reported issues with occasional cutouts and a touch-sensitive remote.
  • The 3rd gen model has a sleek design, improved screen mirroring, and a more user-friendly remote.
  • The choice between the two may depend on individual preferences, budget, and whether the user is already within the Apple ecosystem.

Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: A Visual and Auditory Marvel

The first-generation Apple TV 4K, adorned with a solid rating of 4.8 stars, promises a home entertainment experience that transcends the ordinary. 

Users laud its ability to deliver fast shipping and a flawless interface, providing a visually stunning and sonically immersive journey into the world of Dolby Atmos. The device, equipped with 32GB of storage, beckons users into the Apple ecosystem with seamless connectivity to other Apple devices.

However, not all experiences have been pristine, as some users encountered an unsettling issue of intermittent picture flickering and audio cutouts. 

The need for hard reboots became a recurring theme, raising concerns about the device's reliability. The purchase of a specific Belkin cable is recommended to alleviate these issues, adding an extra layer of investment for potential buyers.

The integration of Apple Fitness+ adds a unique dimension, catering to fitness enthusiasts who find solace in exercising in the comfort of their bedrooms. 

The unit's buttery-smooth interface and Siri voice control offer a commendable user experience, though Siri's performance can be hit or miss for some users. Picture quality is lauded, especially when used with 4K TVs, and the integration with HomePods for stereo sound enhances the auditory allure.

Yet, the Achilles' heel of the Apple TV 4K 1st Gen lies in its remote control. Criticized for its touch sensitivity, users bemoan accidental scrubbing through videos and the lack of physical buttons for quick navigation. 

Despite this flaw, the device earns points for allowing users to use iPhones as TV remotes, enhancing convenience for those firmly entrenched in the Apple ecosystem.

For users invested in Apple's universe, the device stands as a testament to the company's commitment to quality. The seamless integration, stunning visuals, and Dolby Atmos support make it a desirable addition to any home entertainment setup. Nevertheless, the intermittent issues reported by some users and the sensitivity of the remote control may give potential buyers pause.

Apple TV 3rd Gen: A Leap into Bionic Brilliance

The Apple TV 3rd Gen enters the scene with a respectable rating of 4.7 stars, bringing forth the prowess of the A15 Bionic chip. 

This iteration aims to rectify the performance pitfalls of its predecessor, offering users a faster and more responsive experience. One user's testament highlights the device's capability to outshine a sluggish 2020 Samsung TV, elevating screen mirroring speeds and overall functionality.

Performance, a cornerstone of the 3rd Gen, is complemented by a sleek design and a compact remote. 

The device's packaging, even in refurbished units, maintains Apple's trademark excellence, providing users with a visually pleasing and seemingly brand-new product. The inclusion of Dolby Atmos ensures an auditory experience that matches the device's visual prowess.

Unlike its predecessor, the 3rd Gen doesn't escape critique entirely. The absence of USB ports limits its connectivity options, potentially hindering users who rely on external devices. 

However, the sleek remote, though noted for its sensitivity, introduces a new power button feature, allowing users to power off multiple devices with a single press.

Users appreciate the device's ability to seamlessly connect with other Apple products, making it a natural choice for those already enmeshed in the Apple ecosystem. 

Its compatibility with Apple Fitness+, Apple Originals, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Music further solidifies its standing as a versatile addition to the home entertainment arsenal.

In terms of content access, the 3rd Gen provides a wide array of streaming options, ensuring users can access popular services without limitations. The easy app setup and clean interface enhance the overall user experience, offering a device that caters to both tech enthusiasts and casual users.

In nutshell, the Apple TV 3rd Gen brings forth the technological prowess of the A15 Bionic chip, aiming to provide users with a faster, more efficient, and visually stunning home entertainment experience. 

While it addresses some of the concerns of its predecessor, the absence of USB ports may be a trade-off for those seeking additional connectivity options.

Comparative Analysis: Navigating the Apple TV Landscape

Both the Apple TV 4K 1st Gen and the Apple TV 3rd Gen present compelling options in the realm of home entertainment. Let's delve into a detailed comparative analysis to aid potential buyers in making an informed decision.

1. Performance and Chipset:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Performance is lauded but marred by intermittent issues. The specific chipset is unspecified.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Showcases the powerful A15 Bionic chip, promising improved overall performance.

2. Remote Control:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Criticized for touch sensitivity and gestures, potentially impacting user experience.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Noted for sensitivity, but introduces a power button feature, enhancing convenience.

3. Connectivity and Mirroring:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Seamless integration with Apple devices, supports AirPlay for content mirroring.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Improved screen mirroring speed, offering a reliable connection.

4. Design and Packaging:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Magnificently packaged, even in refurbished units.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Sleek design, visually pleasing packaging, maintaining Apple's quality standards.

5. User Interface:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Praised for a clean interface but criticized for occasional performance issues.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Described as user-friendly, offering easy app setup and a visually clean experience.

6. Integration with Apple Ecosystem:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Seamless integration with other Apple devices, enhancing connectivity.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Connects seamlessly with other Apple products, catering to existing Apple users.

7. Content Access:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Provides access to a wide range of apps, with a one-year Apple TV+ subscription.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Offers access to various streaming services, catering to diverse content preferences.

8. Customization and Power Users:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Some users criticize the remote's touch sensitivity, potentially affecting power users.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Limited customization for power users compared to other media centers.

10. Additional Features:

  • Apple TV 4K 1st Gen: Integration with Apple Fitness+, HomePod compatibility, and Dolby Atmos support.
  • Apple TV 3rd Gen: Dolby Atmos, Siri Remote, A15 Bionic chip, compatibility with Apple Originals, Apple Arcade, Apple Fitness+, and Apple Music.


In the dynamic landscape of home entertainment, the choice between the Apple TV 4K 1st Gen and the Apple TV 3rd Gen boils down to individual preferences, budget considerations, and an affinity for the Apple ecosystem. 

While the 1st Gen dazzles with its visuals and audio, intermittent issues and a touch-sensitive remote raise concerns. The 3rd Gen, driven by the A15 Bionic chip, offers improved performance and a sleek design but may not cater to power users seeking extensive customization. Ultimately, the decision rests on the user's priorities and alignment with Apple's ecosystem.


Should I upgrade to Apple TV 4K 3rd gen?

Reasons to Consider Upgrading to Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen:
  • Performance Boost: The 3rd Gen boasts the A15 Bionic chip, promising improved overall performance and responsiveness compared to the 1st Gen.
  • Enhanced Screen Mirroring: Users have reported faster and more reliable screen mirroring experiences, addressing potential issues faced with other devices.
  • Sleek Design and Packaging: The 3rd Gen maintains Apple's trademark sleek design, and users commend the visually pleasing packaging, providing a refined and modern aesthetic.
  • Dolby Atmos Support: Like the 1st Gen, the 3rd Gen supports Dolby Atmos, ensuring an immersive audio experience for your home entertainment.
  • Seamless Integration with Apple Ecosystem: If you are already deeply integrated into the Apple ecosystem, the 3rd Gen will likely provide a seamless experience with your existing Apple devices.


  • Limited Customization: Some users note limited customization options compared to other media centers. If extensive customization is crucial for your preferences, this might be a point to consider.
  • No USB Ports: The absence of USB ports in the 3rd Gen might be a drawback if you have specific connectivity requirements involving USB devices.

Budget Consideration:

If budget is a significant factor, it would be helpful to compare the cost of upgrading against the benefits you expect to gain.

In conclusion, if you prioritize improved performance, enhanced screen mirroring, and a sleek design, the Apple TV 4K 3rd Gen could be a worthwhile upgrade. However, it's essential to weigh these advantages against your specific needs and budget constraints before making a decision.

Is Apple TV 4K first generation still supported?

The Apple TV 4K 1st generation was still supported by Apple. However, support for devices can change over time as new models are released, and software updates may eventually phase out support for older hardware.

To get the most accurate and up-to-date information regarding the support status of the Apple TV 4K 1st generation, I recommend checking the official Apple website or contacting Apple Support directly. They will provide the latest information on software updates and support status for specific devices.

Does 1st generation Apple TV still work?

The first-generation Apple TV (introduced in 2007) may still work for certain basic functionalities, but it is likely to have limitations due to its age and discontinued support from Apple. Here are some points to consider:
  • Software Support: The first-generation Apple TV runs on an older version of the Apple TV software, and it is no longer eligible for official software updates from Apple. This means it may not support newer apps and services.
  • Content Access: While the device may still function for accessing content purchased through iTunes, streaming services, or local media, it may not be compatible with the latest streaming platforms or apps due to the lack of updates.
  • Connectivity: The first-generation Apple TV may have limited connectivity options, and it might not support newer standards for video or audio output.
  • iTunes Store: As of the discontinuation of iTunes, accessing and purchasing content from the iTunes Store on the first-generation Apple TV may be limited.
  • AirPlay Compatibility: The first-generation Apple TV may not support the latest AirPlay features, limiting its ability to mirror content from other Apple devices.
It's important to note that technology evolves, and older devices may eventually become obsolete in terms of software and app support. If you own a first-generation Apple TV and are experiencing issues or limitations, you may want to consider upgrading to a more recent model for a better and more up-to-date user experience.

Does Apple TV 4K 3rd gen support 120hz?

The specific technical details and specifications for the Apple TV 4K 3rd generation, including its support for a 120Hz refresh rate, were not available. Apple does not always disclose detailed technical specifications for its devices, and this information may be subject to change with software updates or new releases.

To obtain the most accurate and up-to-date information about the Apple TV 4K 3rd generation's specifications, including its support for a 120Hz refresh rate, I recommend checking the official Apple website, product documentation, or contacting Apple Support directly. They can provide the latest technical details and specifications for the device.

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