Apple today refreshed its Apple TV 4K streaming box with improved specs and, perhaps most importantly, a redesigned, simpler Siri remote. When the new device ships at the end of May, it will cost the same price as before: $ 179 for a 32 GB unit or $ 199 for 64 GB. (Sidenote: I haven’t met anyone who needed the higher storage option on an Apple TV.)
But along with the new Apple TV 4K and improved remote – you can buy it standalone – it appears that Apple is keeping the old Apple TV HD from 2015. And for some reason it still costs the same $ 149. I … I don’t get it.
How was this not the time to lower the price to something more reasonable? Anything closer to competitive?
The price difference between Apple TV 4K and 4K streamers from Roku, Amazon and Google is already something that hurts Apple’s market share in the living room. But at least there is one to make a case with the new hardware. It has a faster chip (though still not Apple’s latest and greatest), covers the full range of 4K / HDR / Dolby Atmos functionality you could want, and now includes Wi-Fi 6 and that flashy new screen calibration feature that works in combination with iPhones. And many people appreciate Apple’s stance on privacy and are willing to go the extra mile for that purpose.
But charging a dollar shy of $ 150 for a device with an outdated processor limited to HD display in 2021 feels a lot overwhelmingly over. The Apple TV has HDMI 1.4. It has Bluetooth 4, which means the new remote has fresher technology than the box itself. Sure, it can serve as a HomeKit hub, but so can the $ 99 HomePod mini. AirPlay 2? Yes, but many TVs and even Rokus can do that now.
Who wouldn’t just spend the extra $ 30 for the more future-proof Apple TV 4K? How many more tvOS updates are really in store for this thing? What do you get here with a Roku Express or Fire TV Stick worth such a premium?
Yes, the new remote control is clearly an improvement; I don’t even have to hold it to know so much. But Roku and Amazon’s remotes fall under ‘good enough’ territory – especially when they come with such affordable players. The Apple TV HD continues to live in a price range that is several sports higher than streaming products from Amazon, Roku and Google that can simply do more.
Just look how out of place it is in this quote:
- $ 199.99 Nvidia Shield TV Pro (4K HDR)
- $ 179 Apple TV 4K (4K HDR)
- $ 149.99 Nvidia Shield TV (4K HDR)
- $ 149 Apple TV HD (1080p HD)
- $ 99.99 Amazon Fire TV Cube (4K HDR)
- $ 99.99 Roku Ultra (4K HDR)
- $ 49.99 Chromecast with Google TV (4K HDR)
- $ 49.99 Fire TV Stick 4K (4K HDR)
- $ 39.99 Fire TV Stick (1080p HD)
- $ 39.99 Roku Express 4K Plus (4K HDR)
- $ 29.99 Fire TV Stick Lite (1080p HD)
- $ 29.99 Roku Express (1080p HD)
It would be one thing if Apple were to sell only through remaining stock. But the fact that the company is bothering to bundle the new Siri remote with the Apple TV HD suggests that there are still a lot of these boxes lying around and it’s not on the way for the foreseeable future.
I’m not following what Apple thinks about the Apple TV HD which is still charging such a high price, and it’s gotten to the point where I really can’t recommend this product to anyone. It’s a nearly six-year-old device priced as if it were a top quality modern streamer. Apple must lower the price or just let go.