An Apple TV that actually competes with Roku and Amazon could hit the market by the end of the year. According to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo in a tweetApple would launch a new Apple TV “that improves cost structure” in the second half of 2022.
It’s about damn time.
Currently, Apple sells three Apple TV models. The 4K Apple TV comes in 32GB and 64GB capacities and costs $179 and $199 respectively. That’s a good deal for what you get from the 4K Apple TV. Aside from Nvidia’s Shield lineup, no set-top box really offers the same support for a wide variety of home theater standards and formats as the Apple TV 4K. It is the gold standard for professional home theater installers and is especially praised for its EDID capabilities.
EDID, or Extended Display Identification Data, basically tells your set-top box, or Blu-Ray player, or other device, what kind of display you have it plugged into. Devices that perform bad EDID handshakes can try to play HDR content when your TV can’t support it or worse, think your TV isn’t capable of HDR and deny you that sweet dynamic range you probably paid for. . Roku, Amazon, and many other set-top boxes can be pretty lousy at those handshakes, giving your TV the best quality signal it can handle from any given streaming source. Apple nails it.
But while the more budget-friendly Apple TV HD shares the same crackerjack EDID treatment, it lacks all the other goodies that make 4K a must-buy for home theater geeks. It only supports up to 1080p and at $149 it’s a terribly bad buy. Like, you’d better save your money a bad buy.
That’s a problem for Apple. The company wants to sell its services to you, including Apple Fitness (which only works on Apple devices) and Apple TV Plus. It’s worked diligently with other set-top box providers and TV makers to get those products on their devices, but that’s really not enough to compete with Roku and Amazon, who each have set-top boxes that start at less than $50 and most. have the same capabilities as the $149 Apple TV HD.
An Apple TV stick starting at $99 or less with AirPlay 2 support, that excellent EDID processing, and the ability to tackle Fitness would be much more appealing. That’s closer in price to the sticks offered by Roku and Amazon. It would still be more expensive, but at least it would be less than $100.
But with any cheaper Apple TV device, I’d still ask myself, what the hell is the use of the Apple TV HD then? To just take money out of the wallets of people who aren’t paying attention? With its high price and lower resolution output, it doesn’t make much sense as a product at its current price. It could eventually see a price drop to less than $100, and a new device with 4K support could take its place in the middle.
Kuo’s tweet doesn’t really clarify where this new device would sit in the Apple TV lineup, so it’s anyone’s guess at this point. (If you really know, drop us a line at email@example.com.) It could even replace the Apple TV HD altogether.
Whatever this potential new product becomes, let’s hope it’s cheaper than the current offering and has a better name. We have Apple TV 4K, Apple TV HD, Apple TV Plus and the Apple TV Up Next app; if we add Apple TV Stick or whatever to the lineup, I’m genuinely concerned about Google’s search algorithm when people google “Apple TV”.