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Apple TV 4K (2022) vs Apple TV 4K (2021): Which one should you buy?

We recently reviewed the Apple TV 4K (2022), giving it the full five stars after plenty of in-depth testing. But how does it compare to the older, and now fully replaced, 2021 Apple TV 4K?

Whether you’re looking to upgrade your existing model or unsure whether it’s worth plumping for the new version over the old, this guide will outline all the notable differences so you can make the right decision.

The Siri Remote has an important change

As with recent iPads, MacBooks and probably the iPhone 15, Apple has ditched the Lightning port from the Apple TV 4K (2022) Siri Remote, replacing it with the far more standard USB-C charging port that’s become ubiquitous across the industry. Considering this will soon be an EU requirement, it’s hardly surprising to see Apple finally using the port in a wider range of devices.

You won’t find a USB-C cable in the box, though. Most Apple users have plenty of Lightning cables already knocking about however, so they could get by without an additional cable. We’re not sure whether this is the case when it comes to USB-C.

Of course, the switch to USB-C is far from a reason to upgrade, but it’ll likely be a benefit in the long term.


The new model is cheaper and comes in two versions

In a year when many Apple products have risen in price, especially in many European countries including the UK, the Apple TV 4K 2022 actually comes with a lower RRP than the 2021 model.

The 64GB model is now £149/$129, while the 128GB model with a Gigabit Ethernet port for wired connections and support for the Thread smart home protocol is now £169/$149.

In the UK, that means you can save £20, while in the US it’s up to $50 more affordable than before.

The Apple TV range has always been a bit of an outlier price-wise compared to rival devices from Amazon, Google, Roku and the rest. However, this cut puts it at roughly the same price as the recent Fire TV Cube 2022 and it feels, to us, a reasonable price to pay for such a feature-packed device.

Of course, this change won’t affect those who have the older version but it means that unless you can find the 2021 iteration heavily reduced, it’s worth going for the 2022 model.

Apple TV 4K

HDR10+ joins Dolby Vision at the party

The Apple TV 4K 2021 supports Dolby Vision when it comes to High Dynamic Range standards, but the new model adds the competing HDR10+ standard to the mix.

Dolby Vision itself is backwards compatible with the HDR10 format. That means if you have a Dolby Vision-compatible device, it can play HDR10 content.

HDR10+ is a similar idea to Dolby Vision, offering an improved HDR image, and it’s the format of choice used by Samsung televisions. If you’ve got a Samsung set that supports HDR10+, but not Dolby Vision, you’ll get a better HDR image with this latest version of the Apple TV 4K.

There are plenty of streaming services that do rely on HDR10+, such as Google Play Movies and TV, Hulu Originals, Paramount Plus and Prime Video – although the latter has decided to support Dolby Vision again very recently.

Here’s our what is HDR10+ explainer to help you determine how useful the addition should be.

The new model has a lot more power, but it’s smaller and lighter

The Apple TV 4K 2022 now runs on the A15 Bionic processor – a version of the powerful chip Apple uses in the 2021 iPhone 13 range.

It’s also a decent upgrade on the Apple TV 4K 2021, which ran on the A12 Bionic processor. In our tests, we immediately noticed the snappier UI, with apps opening faster and lag reduced even further. The added speed should also help this box stay faster for longer.

On that note, the GPU performance is also 30% faster than the previous generation. The whole package is also more energy efficient, which is great news for Apple Arcade subscribers.

These performance improvements don’t make for a bigger device, in fact the Apple TV 4K 2022 is noticeably smaller and lighter than the previous model. It’s about 20% smaller, and the removal of the internal fan allows it to be lighter. The branding is a little more discrete on the top, too.

Apple also said the new box features 100% recycled gold in the plating of multiple circuit boards, while the remote features 100% recycled aluminium.


If you’re looking to buy an Apple TV 4K, the 2022 model is the one to get. It’s smaller, faster, supports more HDR formats and includes USB-C on the remote – which will be handy once Apple ditches Lightning for good.

If you picked up the previous Apple TV 4K then we say you don’t need to upgrade as that model remains fast and very capable, though if you have a Samsung TV and want the best HDR support the Apple TV 4K offers that.

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