Over the years, Apple has released several generations of the Apple TV player, each improving in often tiny but significant ways. While some may be shocked at how long ago the initial Apple TV player was released, the Apple TV player has maintained its constant look and style despite the advancements behind the hood.
Apple TV is only one of several streaming players on the market today. Of course, because it is an Apple product, it is heavily focused on Apple’s services and has more interoperability with the company’s other hardware products. However, even for people unfamiliar with Apple gear, Apple TV is a product worth considering due to its emphasis on high-quality hardware and user-friendly software.
The Apple TV portfolio currently consists of the Apple TV HD and the Apple TV 4K. Both players differ from the Apple TV app, which is accessible on various streaming players and smart TVs from other manufacturers in addition to Apple TV players. Similarly, the Apple TV player and app are different from the Apple TV Plus streaming service, which needs a paid monthly subscription to access Apple’s original shows and movies.
Apple TV Player History
When you consider the many players, dedicated apps, and separate streaming services, it’s clear to understand how far Apple’s TV goals have been released since the introduction of the initial Apple TV player.
Apple TV (1st generation): Released In 2007
The first Apple TV was introduced and released in early 2007. The original model, unlike subsequent ones, was more similar to a specialized iTunes player, allowing Apple customers to access all of their iTunes content on a TV effortlessly. Indeed, Apple compared Apple TV to a “DVD player for the twenty-first century,” although one that plays digital content rather than physical discs. However, it was not limited to iTunes content. By June of 2007, YouTube had arrived on Apple TV, and given that the first iPhone didn’t arrive until later that month, Apple TV had access to YouTube before the iPhone.
The 2007 Apple TV (1st generation) cost $299 and had a 40GB hard drive capable of storing up to 50 hours of video and a maximum output quality of 720p.
Apple TV (2nd generation): Released In 2010
The next Apple TV would be released in September 2010. Compared to the original model, the second-generation was marketed as a cheaper streaming player with support for numerous major streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, Flickr, and MobileMe. Apple’s subscription-based service was the latter. In addition, users may also watch videos streamed from other devices and rent movies and episodes from iTunes on the 2010 Apple TV.
The 2010 Apple TV (2nd generation) included a maximum output resolution of 720p, an updated aluminum Apple Remote, and was priced at $99 in the United States.
Apple TV (3rd generation): Released In 2012
The third-generation Apple TV was released in March 2012 and was the first time the lineup supported 1080p. This was likely the most appealing feature of the 2012 Apple TV player, while it did improve on other of the series’ key characteristics, such as increased support for additional services and a simpler, polished user interface. In addition, Apple TV’s iTunes Store support has been expanded, resulting in users accessing over 15,000 movies and 90,000 TV episodes.
Despite the 1080p increase, the 2012 Apple TV (3rd generation) was priced at $99 in the United States, the same as the previous iteration.
Apple TV (4th generation), aka Apple TV HD: Released In 2015
The Apple TV (4th generation) debuted in 2015 and arrived at the beginning of what many now refer to as the Apple TV player. It is now more widely known as the Apple TV HD to distinguish it from the newer and still-current Apple TV 4K players. Apple even promoted this model as the “all-new Apple TV,” emphasizing the distinction between it and previous generations. New internal hardware and the introduction of a simpler Siri Remote were among the modifications. The 2015 Apple TV was also the first model to ship with tvOS, which is still used on Apple TV players today.
The 32GB model of the 2015 Apple TV (4th generation) was priced at $149 in the United States. However, buyers could also choose the 64GB model, which upped the price to $199 in the United States. Unlike the previous models, all discontinued, this Apple TV player is still available for purchase through the Apple Store, although with an improved remote.
Apple TV 4K (1st generation): Released In 2017
The Apple TV 4K (1st generation) initially arrived on the scene in 2017 and, as the name implies, ushered in the 4K era. This was a significant change for the Apple TV range after the 2012 transition from 720p to 1080p. In addition to 4K, the 2017 Apple TV player included High Dynamic Range (HDR) support to provide customers with a clearer, crispier, richer viewing experience. With 4K being the main selling point here, Apple also announced at the 2017 player launch that iTunes users would receive free upgrades to 4K copies of any HD movies they had purchased when a 4K version became available. Given that the Apple TV app was first released in late 2016, the 2017 Apple TV 4K was also the first Apple TV player to provide access to the Apple TV app at launch.
The Apple TV 4K (1st generation), like the 2015 Apple TV HD, was offered in two storage configurations. The 32GB Apple TV 4K was priced at $179 in the United States, while the 64GB version was priced at $199.
Apple TV 4K (2nd generation): Released In 2021
The Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) debuted in 2021 and should come as no surprise given that it is Apple’s newest and greatest streaming player. It was a slight upgrade compared to the first-generation model, but the adjustments were important enough. These included utilizing the A12 Bionic processor to provide enhanced video experiences with high frame rate HDR and Dolby Vision support. In addition, the new and enhanced Siri Remote is also included with the 2021 Apple TV 4K.
Like the previous iteration, the 2021 Apple TV 4K (2nd generation) is available in two storage configurations, with the 32GB model costing $179 in the US and the 64GB model costing $199. The Apple TV 4K, like the Apple TV HD, is available today through the Apple Store.
Apple TV Generations Conclusion:
Since the first Apple TV streaming player was released in 2007, Apple has released six more, resulting in three unique generations of players. Those limited to 720p, those limited to 1080p, and those capable of reaching 4K. Along with adjustments to the maximum output resolution, each model has undergone refining. Even if they are less visible than previous product changes, they have contributed to the present and greatest Apple TV experience.
Along with the growth of the Apple TV player, the remote has evolved as well. The remote included with the first-generation model was not only updated to an aluminum remote before developing into the Siri Remote but it has also been updated with the most recent Apple TV player, resulting in the most helpful and current remote yet.