How Does Apple TV Work and Is It Worth It?

Apple TV 4K vs Apple TV HD

How Does Apple TV Work and Is It Worth It?

The streaming media player market is quite a crowded one in this day and age. Lately, it seems every tech company in Silicon Valley has its own take on the idea of a smart TV streaming device. From Amazon to Google to Roku to Apple, streaming media players come in all shapes, sizes, and price points. Of all these offerings, the Apple TV remains one of the most sought-after. However, how does Apple TV work? Is it worth paying the extra price for an Apple TV when rival offerings can be found for much cheaper? Let’s look into it.

Apple TV: The Basics

Latest Model3rd Gen. Apple TV 4K
(a.k.a. 7th Gen. Apple TV)
ReleasedNovember 4th, 2022
DeveloperApple Inc.
ManufacturerApple Inc.
Foxconn, Pegatron (contracted)
Device TypeDigital media player/Microconsole
Size1.2 in. x 3.66 in. x 3.66 in. (device)
5.4 in. x 1.4 in. x 0.36 in. (remote)
Weight7.3 oz. (device)
2.3 oz. (remote)
ProcessorA15 Bionic Chip
Dolby Vision SupportYes
Dolby Atmos SupportYes
HDR SupportHDR10+, HDR10, HLG
Price$129 (4K 64 GB)/$149 (4K 128 GB)
Best Premium Pick
Apple TV 4K (3rd Generation)
  • 4K Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos sound and HDR10+ support
  • Equipped with the powerful A15 Bionic chip
  • Third-generation Siri Remote with improved clickpad
  • Wi-Fi and Ethernet options available
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
09/14/2023 11:18 pm GMT

5 Must-Know Facts About Apple TV

  1. The original Apple TV was going to be called the iTV. When Apple first announced its streaming media player, it hoped to keep its branding in line with its other products such as the iPod, the iMac, and so on. However, due to a trademark issue with the British television giant of the same name, Apple was forced to change the name to Apple TV before it was released.
  2. Apple TV is viewed first and foremost as a streaming media player. However, did you know it can also be used as a hub for smart home devices? With the latest Apple TV models, users can use the device as a way to control their smart lights, thermostats, and other devices — all through the easy-to-use Apple TV interface.
  3. Nobody likes having their streaming data messed with. That’s why Apple TV also supports multiple user profiles. Each Apple TV user can create their own profile, which allows them to keep their watch history, preferences, and other settings separate from other users. This feature is particularly useful for families or roommates.
  4. Thanks to a recent update, the Apple TV has been given the ability to display live sports scores. When watching a live sports game, users can use the Siri remote to ask for live updates on the score and other information. The device can also show live stats and other details during the game.
  5. Apple TV devices don’t have to be reserved solely for entertainment. Businesses have also gotten a lot of use out of the devices. For instance, the Apple TV can be used as a conference room display. With the help of AirPlay, users can use their Apple TV as a display for their laptops during meetings and presentations.

The History of Apple TV

Before answering how Apple TV works, let’s look at the history of the Apple TV. This streaming media player — which paved the way for rival offerings in the form of Roku, Google Chromecast, and Amazon Fire Stick — allows users to watch movies, TV shows, and other content on their television screens with remarkable ease. The device has come a long way over the years, growing and advancing tremendously since its origin in the mid-2000s. From the first generation iTV in 2007 to the third generation Apple TV 4K in 2022, this is the complete history of the Apple TV.

Apple released its first iteration of the Apple TV in 2007. Dubbed the iTV before embracing the Apple TV name, the original device was a small, white box that connected to a user’s TV and allowed them to stream content from their iTunes library or the internet. Alas, due to constraints in internet connectivity and television quality, it was less than the smash hit Apple anticipated. The company went back to the drawing board and completely overhauled the device. In 2010, they released the second generation device. Needless to say, it was a significant improvement over the original.

This new and improved device was not only smaller but also more affordable. It introduced several new key features such as AirPlay, which, as we know, allows users to stream content from their iPhones, iPads, or Macs directly to their TV screens. All in all, it wisely shifted the focus away from a user’s iTunes library and toward streaming content from the internet. The third generation of Apple TV, released in 2012, was another major upgrade. The new device featured an updated interface and new features like Siri integration and the ability to stream content in 1080p resolution.

Apple TV in the HD Era

At the turn of the decade, there began to be a real push toward HD television. 1080p HD flat-screen televisions were becoming increasingly more affordable, and the big, bulky CRT TVs of the past were quickly becoming obsolete. Though the third generation Apple TV brought 1080p resolution to the device, it wasn’t until the Apple TV HD in 2015 that the streaming media player truly entered the HD era. This fourth-generation Apple TV introduced a new operating system called tvOS. It facilitated a wider range of content and services — including games, news, and sports — all in beautiful 1080p.

With this, the Apple TV HD also introduced a new remote with a touchpad and a microphone for voice commands. The remote made it easier for users to navigate the interface and search for content, and it also allowed them to use Siri to control their TV experience. It was a big departure from the Apple TV remote of the past… and was not well-received. Though 2017’s Apple TV 4K carried over this remote, the sixth generation Apple TV — also known as the second generation Apple TV 4K — gave it a much-needed rehab.

Today, the latest model is the third-generation Apple TV 4K (also known as the seventh-generation Apple TV). Featuring 4K resolution, HDR10+ content, faster performance, improved graphics, Spatial Audio support, and more, this 2022 model is a true stand-out — even in the crowded home entertainment market. While the Apple TV continues to be outsold by cheaper offerings from Roku and Chromecast, Apple’s streaming media player is undoubtedly the most impressive device of its kind.

The third-generation Apple TV 4K supports HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Dolby Atmos.

©Peter Kotoff/Shutterstock.com

How Does Apple TV Work?

You understand what Apple TV is, but how does Apple TV work? Allow us to explain. This streaming media player allows users to watch movies, TV shows, and other content on their HD or 4K TVs. It connects to the user’s TV via an HDMI cable, then connects to the user’s home internet network — either through Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Once this is done, users can begin accessing content from a variety of sources (including the user’s iTunes library, streaming services like Netflix and Hulu, and live TV apps like Sling TV or Hulu + Live TV).

Once your Apple TV device is set up with HDMI and Wi-Fi or Ethernet, you can begin to access a variety of apps and services through the Apple TV interface. This tvOS interface is designed to be user-friendly and easy to navigate using the intuitive Apple TV remote. You can browse and search for content using the controls on the remote, or you can use voice commands via the microphone built right into the remote. Either way, the tvOS interface is littered with a variety of streaming content and services for you to use and enjoy.

This content and these services include:

  • AirPlay, which allows users to stream content from their Apple devices directly to their TV screens.
  • Siri integration, which allows users to control their TV experience using voice commands — including searching for content, changing channels, and adjusting volume.
  • Gaming apps, which allow users to play games on their TV using the remote control or a game controller.
  • Streaming apps, which give users access to streaming service applications such as Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and more.
  • Apple TV+, which is a paid streaming service with original content produced by Apple — including TV shows, movies, and documentaries.

Is Apple TV Worth It?

So: Now that we’ve explained how the Apple TV works, there’s just one question remaining: Is Apple TV worth it? Simply put, if you’re looking for a high-quality streaming media player, the Apple TV is absolutely worth it. There are plenty of reasons why. Firstly, the Apple TV offers a great user experience — It’s easy to set up, and its interface is remarkably easy to navigate. The Apple TV also has a wide range of content and services in both 4K and UHD. Not to mention, the Apple TV offers great versatility that other streaming media players can’t offer. All in all, it’s very much worth it.

  1. Apple TV 4K (3rd Generation)
  2. Apple TV 4K (3rd Generation)
    • 4K Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos sound and HDR10+ support
    • Equipped with the powerful A15 Bionic chip
    • Third-generation Siri Remote with improved clickpad
    • Wi-Fi and Ethernet options available
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    09/14/2023 11:18 pm GMT

How Does Apple TV Work and Is It Worth It? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

What is the difference between Apple TV and Apple TV+?

The difference between Apple TV and Apple TV+ is a little bit more drastic than that between, say, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus. The Apple TV is a streaming media player that allows users to access a wide range of content and services. Conversely, Apple TV+ is a streaming service that provides users with access to original content produced by Apple. You can enjoy an Apple TV without Apple TV+, and you can enjoy Apple TV+ without an Apple TV. There’s also an Apple TV+ app for the Apple TV.

Can I use Apple TV without an internet connection?

While you can certainly navigate around the home screen and adjust things like settings without an internet connection, an internet connection is required to use most apps and features on an Apple TV. Users will need to connect the device to their home network either through Wi-Fi or Ethernet if they want to stream anything.

Can I watch live TV on Apple TV?

Yes, you can watch live TV on Apple TV, but not through any service that Apple offers. The only way to watch live TV on the Apple TV is by downloading a relevant live TV app (such as Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, or a similar streaming service with live television functionality). Otherwise, you’ll be limited exclusively to streaming content that isn’t live.

Can you use your iPhone as an Apple TV remote?

Yes, if you’ve lost your Apple TV remote (or simply don’t want to get up and grab it), you can use your iPhone as a remote for your Apple TV. All you need to do is download the Apple TV Remote app or enable the Apple TV Remote widget on your phone. This app will then allow you to control your Apple TV using your iPhone or even your iPad.

Does the Apple TV support 4K streaming?

Yes, all three of the latest Apple TV models support 4K content as well as HDR video. With that being said, you will only have access to this high-resolution, high-quality streaming content if you have a 4K TV and corresponding 4K HDMI cable. Otherwise, your content will break down

To top