What is the difference between Apple TV 4K 2017 and 2021? | Gadgets

At an event held in April 2021, Apple announced colorful iMacs, iPad Pro with M1, the AirTags and also the updated model of the Apple TV 4K, with a new remote control. The set-top box replaced the fourth generation, which had been launched in 2017. Understand the differences between the Apple TV models, in addition to the new control.

Comparison: Apple TV 4K 2017 and 2021 (Image: Vitor Pádua / Tecnoblog)

Why 4K in the name?

Having “4K” in the name refers to the maximum supported resolution, 4K (2160p). Apple also sells the Full-HD (1080p) model, but it may not be as advantageous depending on the TV model on which the device will be installed.

4K is already the industry standard for new TVs, even before 2021, but it still serves to differentiate the models sold by Apple.

Does Apple TV still make sense?

Each case is different, but Apple TV offers more than just being a device to watch streaming services. It makes more sense for those who already use other Apple devices and want to integrate these devices even more, whether to mirror an iPhone or Mac screen, to control other connected accessories in the house or to play via Apple Arcade.

If Apple TV functions are of interest, it’s good to know the differences between the 2017 and 2021 models.

What changes in the Apple TV 4K 2021?

There is nothing to discuss about which is better, almost always the new model is superior. In the Apple TV 4K 2021, the company improved the remote control and internal components of the device, the design of the box remains the same.

Nothing changes in the look of the box (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

Nothing changes in the look of the box (Image: Disclosure / Apple)

External changes: the remote control

As said, nothing changes in the appearance of the Apple TV itself. They are the same dimensions and the same weight. On the outside, what stands out is the remote control, which is silver again, with a new arrangement of buttons.

The remote control is called Siri Remote, by Apple. Inside, the difference is that the new accessory uses Bluetooth 5.0 on the Apple TV 4K 2021, instead of Bluetooth 4.0 on the 2017 model, to improve connectivity and range.

But what matters is the additional functions with the new buttons: the old remote control had six buttons in addition to the touch-sensitive surface for gesture control; the Siri Remote 2021 adds a clickpad (circle with directional buttons and central button) also sensitive to touch in addition to the on / off button, a back button and another to mute the audio (mute).

Siri Remote 2017 and 2021 (Image: Press Release / Apple)

Siri Remote 2017 and 2021 (Image: Press Release / Apple)


In the 2017 Apple TV, the processor used was the A10X Fusion, which was also installed on the iPad Pro of the same year. In 2021, Apple switched the processor to the A12 Bionic, which equipped the iPhone XS, launched in 2018, and also the 2020 iPad.

Theoretically, it is an evolution of just one year, considering that the component was launched in 2018 and the A10X was revealed in 2017, as an upgrade of the 2016 A10 Fusion.

However, having a newer processor guarantees support for more features and more updates to the operating system, the tVOS, which are released each year.

Speaking of features, the processor improvement now allows you to watch videos in Dolby Vision and HDR10 at up to 60 frames per second in 4K resolution. The previous model did not support 60 frames per second, but it already worked with Dolby Vision and HDR10.


Nothing has been changed about storage space for apps and games on the Apple TV 4K 2021. Both models offer options of 32 GB or 64 GB.

TV color calibration

The latest addition to the 2021 Apple TV is the ability to calibrate the TV’s colors using an iPhone. It works like this: by pointing the iPhone’s front camera at the frame indicated on the TV, the smartphone uses the light sensor to define the best color balance for the device.

Color calibration with the Apple TV 4K 2021 and an iPhone with Face ID (Image: Press Release / Apple)

Color calibration with the Apple TV 4K 2021 and an iPhone with Face ID (Image: Press Release / Apple)

According to Apple, this adjustment brings specifications used by cinematographers in the world to compensate for the lack of calibration of the TV, displaying more natural colors and enhanced contrast.

Color balance with Apple TV (Image: Press Release / Apple)

Color balance with Apple TV (Image: Press Release / Apple)

You must have an iPhone with Face ID for this adjustment.

How much does the new Apple TV 4K from 2021 cost?

  • 32 GB model: R $ 2,399 (US $ 179 in the United States)
  • 64 GB model: R $ 2,599 (US $ 199)

The figures are those suggested by Apple at launch. The 2017 4K model is no longer sold by the company.

With information: Apple 1, 2.

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