With energy prices rising, switch to a cheaper plan
Compare Prices Now

Apple TV (fourth generation) review: A slick media player

Apple's update to its Apple TV set-top box is a lot of fun if you like apps.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

Quick verdict
The fourth-generation Apple TV is a solid choice for those who want a simplified smart TV interface with the flexibility of future app expansion.


  • Siri Remote
  • Cleaner interface
  • Simple games
  • HDMI-CEC support
  • App expansion

Could be better

    • You already have an Apple TV and you only want to watch TV with it
    • It's really early days for apps
    • No optical audio out
    • No 4K video support
    • Siri doesn't know everything

The "new" or fourth generation of the Apple TV promises an exciting world of voice-activated searching, content discovery and apps covering everything from travel to games. It's a bold gambit from Apple that brings the Apple TV experience much closer to that of the rest of Apple's iOS devices, giving it a potential foothold in the lucrative console market.

But should you buy one? Here are the basic specifications for the fourth-generation model.

Apple TV (4th generation) Details
Processor 64-bit Apple A8 processor
Storage 32/64GB
Wireless Wi-Fi 802.11ac with MIMO*
Video output HDMI support
Receiver Integrated circuit (IC)
Wired connection 10/100 ethernet
Remote Glass touch controls, gyroscope and accelerometer
Remote connection Bluetooth 4.0
Remote charging Lightning cable (iPhone 5 and up)
Remote battery life 3 hours with full charge
Software iOS 9 rebranded as tvOS: App store access and Siri support
Australian Price 32GB $209.00
Release date Available now

Upsides: Why you'd want the Apple TV

  • Siri Remote: You might feel a little socially awkward talking to your iPhone 6s in public, but in the confines of your own living room, being able to query Siri to find something to watch makes a surprising amount of sense. In Australia, Siri's searches encompass locally available iTunes and Netflix Australia content, with quick and easy launching of titles once they're found.
  • Cleaner interface: It has been a number of years since Apple updated the Apple TV experience, while it has changed the way iOS looks numerous times. The new Apple TV's interface is bigger, bolder and generally easier to navigate for video content.
  • Simple games: So far, the vast majority of available Apple TV games are ports of existing iOS titles, with only a few more in-depth titles. That will change over time, but for now, if you want a quick games fix using either the supplied Siri Remote or an optional MFi game controller, it's easy to do so. As a bonus, developers can offer games titles on iOS that are fully universal, so buying them for your phone also means you get the Apple TV version as well.
  • HDMI-CEC support: Most recent TVs and home theatre set-ups should support HDMI-CEC, and the new Apple TV does too. The volume controls on the Siri Remote should seamlessly control your home audio, cutting down on remote clutter considerably. This worked flawlessly in our tests.
  • App expansion: Previous model Apple TVs got new channels when Apple approved their release, which often meant you got channels you didn't care about or were left wanting if there was an outlet that Apple wouldn't create a channel tile for. Everything on the new Apple TV is an app, which means you can install what you want and nothing you don't. Notably, popular media streaming app Plex is finally officially supported on the new Apple TV.

The new Apple TV is slightly chunkier than the third-generation model.

Downsides: Why you might not want the Apple TV

  • You already have an Apple TV and you only want to watch TV with it: The new interface is an improvement and the voice search is neat, but the new model doesn't change anything in terms of available content on the Apple TV. If you're happy with the older model you've already got and can live without apps, there's no great rush to upgrade, as we discuss here.
  • It's really early days for apps: At launch, the app store on Apple TV is really messy, which is uncharacteristic for Apple. Search is limited to text entry only with no Siri support. Once there's a more solid number of apps, it's going to be very tough to navigate if there isn't a significant clean-up.
  • No optical audio out: If your sound set-up uses optical audio, you're better off with the older third-generation Apple TV, as Apple omitted it from the fourth-generation model.
  • No 4K video support: The hardware inside the Apple TV should be powerful enough for 4K video rendering, and the HDMI 1.4 port on the back definitely supports it. However, the new Apple TV is a Full HD-only product. That's not vital right now because there's really not much 4K content to be had, but it's a poor future-proofing decision on Apple's part that it will hopefully reverse via a software patch.
  • Siri doesn't know everything: Contextual search is great, but it's limited right now in Australia to your iTunes account and Netflix Australia. If you want to search Stan, ABC iview or any other local video content source, Siri isn't going to help you out at all.
  • Games play better with a proper controller: Apple's edict for tvOS apps is that while they can support MFi controllers, they must also support the Siri remote for gameplay. This is a plus, meaning every games app will work out of the box, but the issue is that some games just don't play that well without a proper controller. If that aspect of the new Apple TV seriously appeals to you, you're going to have to budget extra for an MFi controller to make the most of your games experience.

Who is it best suited to? What are my other options?

The fourth-generation Apple TV is a solid choice for those who want a simplified smart TV interface with the flexibility of future app expansion, especially if you have a current TV with HDMI-CEC and poor (or no) smart TV features.

If you're heavily invested in iTunes content, Apple is still selling the third-generation Apple TV model at its original $109 price point, which could be a budget alternative.

If you want direct access to the local big 3 streaming content providers Presto, Stan and Netflix and you're a Telstra customer of some type, you could also consider the Telstra TV set-top box.

At a very budget level, if you're happy to stream video from your smartphone or laptop, Google's Chromecast offers simple streaming at a budget price point.

Where can I get it?

Apple sells the fourth-generation Apple TV in its stores and via its Apple TV app as well as its online shop. It's also widely available from electronics retailers.

Buy Apple TV

Buy Apple TV from Apple Store

It might not look much different on the outside, but 2016's Apple TV is packed with awesome new features such as voice control, a touch-sensitive remote and gaming.

View details

Latest streaming news

More guides on Finder

Stream the best and save

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.

2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    PoiredorJanuary 14, 2016

    How do I download the Freeview App on to my Apple TV. I have it on my iPhone 6 but can’t get in on the Apple TV

    • Default Gravatar
      BrodieJanuary 29, 2016

      Hi Poiredor,

      The Freeview app is not available on Apple TV.


Go to site