32 GB vs. 64 GB Apple TV 4

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Chromecast

Let’s face it, $200 is a lot to pay for a streaming device that will be obsolete in a few years. This is why Apple TV is taking a beating in the market. Chromecast, Roku and Amazon Fire devices all outsell Apple TV. Unless you are vested in the Apple ecosystem (own a lot of iTunes content, use AirPlay), a competing TV appliance is probably a better deal. These devices are still in their infancy. They’re going to change a lot. Apple TV 4 doesn’t even offer support for 4K resolution, unlike competing units. It’s theoretically possible to add this support with a software update. It’s just as likely that Apple will use 4K support to drive adoption of a fifth generation model. It would be par for the course.

Any Reason to Buy 64 GB Apple TV 4?

The only justification for purchasing a 64 GB Apple TV 4 is if you’re going to use a lot of apps. Perhaps a very large family will reach the limitations of a 32 GB Apple TV 4. Even with a large family, it’s hard to do this.

Games take up the most space, but there’s a lack of great titles for tvOS. They’re mostly cute little mobile games with blocky pixel graphics. You’re not going to be playing World of Warcraft or any major title on Apple TV 4. Unless you can get a 64 GB model at a reduced price, I wouldn’t recommend buying one. Even if you run out of space on a 32 GB model, there’s bound to be a slew of unused apps that can be removed to free up space.

When I purchased my 64 GB model, Apple TV 4 was new and had so many promises. The future of TV was apps and the tvOS App Store was going to have so many amazing apps and games. That didn’t turn out to be true. After almost a year, developers’ reception of tvOS has been lukewarm. Even though developers can recycle a lot of their iOS code for tvOS versions of their apps, it’s just not happening.

The main problem is that Apple TV 4 is not selling well. It’s not like the iPhone. Some of the most popular tvOS apps only have a few ratings, indicating that few people have installed them. Apple refuses to announce sales figures for Apple TV 4. It’s not a flop, but it doesn’t have the traction to produce the critical mass of app development that made the iPhone so amazing.

I bought the 64 GB model because I was fooled by Apple’s distortion reality field. Now I realize, I’m never going to come close to using 64 GB of space. Apple TV is not an iPhone. You’re not going to download videos or music on it. In fact, Apple doesn’t even provide that capability. Don’t be fooled into thinking tvOS is a gaming platform. Expect a smaller selection of the games that are available on your iPhone. They’re mobile games, not console or PC games. First and foremost, Apple TV 4 is a streaming device. The 64 GB model is unnecessary.

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7 comments

  1. Hi,
    Thank you for the detailed inputs about how much memory we may require on ATV. It helped. Though I bought 32gb ATV, yet to be delivered.

    1. Smart move. Apple TV had a lot of promises of great games and whatnot. There’s some cool tvOS apps, but you’re not going to fill up a 32 GB Apple TV 4 with apps that you use every day. It’s mostly a streaming device. Personally, I think Apple should just sell one model (32 GB) for $99.

  2. Wow, what an excellent article. I don’t have an Apple TV 4th gen, but I have the 3rd gen. I wanted to get a 4th gen for educational apps like lynda.com

    I was planning on getting a 64GB… OK, I always get the largest size for iPhone & iPad. But after reading your article, it makes a lot of sense to just get a 32GB.

    Thank you sooooo much for your honesty, frankness, & wisdom. It is much appreciated!

  3. I have two Apple TVs. The Generation 4 32GB, and a 4K 64. I got the 64 GB 4k version as i had a store credit at best buy, so the amount I actually paid out of pocket was less then even the 32 GB at full price, so in that instant, it wasn’t a bad deal. I am also curious to see what Apple does with TVOS, now that 4k, and HDR are a thing with them. I’ve also learned that apple has raised the app size limit to 4GB, so i’m even more interested to see what that brings. FYI, with the best buy store credit, I paid $162 for the 64 GB 4K Apple TV. That’s almost $30 less then the 32 GB at full price. I’m including tax in my calculation here.

    1. I wrote this article a few years ago, and Apple TV is still pretty bad. To put it in perspective, however, it competes with horrible cable and satellite boxes and other defective media streamers. It’s actually one of the best TV devices on the market. That said, it’s not a high quality Apple product, like a Mac, iPhone or iPad.

      I have to wonder whether anyone at Apple actually uses Apple TV. For example, they announced this great partnership with Spectrum cable. My mom has Spectrum and I am visiting right now for Christmas. On my recommendation, she bought an Apple TV a few years ago. One of the worst things about Apple TV (and all TV devices) is that you have to constantly sign in with your cable provider. This entails using a device with a browser. (Apple TV has no web browser, so it requires another device to activate network apps.) Users must manually type in the URL (welcome back to the 90s) and type in a code and then authenticate with their cable provider. My mom is 75, so she never remembers passwords. This happens over and over. There is no persistence to network app activation. If you want to watch anything on an Apple TV network app, you will need to activate the app over and over. ARRRRGGGHHHHHHHH! It’s maddening! This keeps people using the cable box!

      So Apple announced “zero sign in” with Spectrum. Yes, it kind of works. I go to Settings and pick Spectrum and it automatically sets it as the TV provider, based on the network. Unfortunately, the network apps *still* need to be authenticated with this clumsy process. “Zero sign is” is a lie. It doesn’t work. Before that, they offered “single sign on”. That was a lie too. You have to continually activate these network apps and sign in with your cable provider, on a website. This cannot be done on Apple TV directly. I have never seen anything so poorly implemented in my life and they don’t know how to fix it!

      Apple TV is a PoS, but it’s the least stinky PoS of the bunch. TV devices are a joke, and I think it is intentional. The cable industry really wants you to use a cable box. I have a hunch that Spectrum wants to replace their horrible cable boxes with Apple TVs. I welcome that, but they are so far off and constantly delaying their product launch. In addition to “zero sign on” (which still does not work) they were supposed to launch the Spectrum Apple TV app, which is basically a replacement for their cable boxes. They keep pushing the date back. That’s a really bad sign. I think it will be horribly defective when it launches.

      Yeah, Apple TV is a real s–t show. Eddie Cue did a very poor job of negotiating deals that could have made it better. When the deals fell through, Apple gave up on it. They have assigned the worst engineers at Apple to work on it. They constantly introduce regressive bugs. For example, they break and fix AirPlay constantly. The break and fix Siri constantly. You can’t rely on Siri to turn “Reduce Loud Sounds” on and off, because they break it with every other release.

      Putting it into perspective, however, it’s still one of the best TV appliances. If you want to see buggy, nothing is worse than a Spectrum cable box made by Cisco. Not only does it guzzle massive amounts of power, it’s buggy as can be. Most of the on demand options don’t work. You see a spinning wheel for 30 minutes and give up. One has to reboot the thing all the time, just to get the channel guide.

      The quality of technology is declining at a rapid rate. This is because they will hire anyone to write code these days. It won’t get better until the next recession. If you like cable TV, stick with it. I am more into Netflix, Crackle (awesome 70s shows like “What’s Happening!!!”), Hulu and digital content in general. My mom, for example, loves 24 hour TV “news”. Cable is best for that. Sports nuts will fare better with cable, as even with the expensive Apple TV subscription apps, local games are blacked out. This is also true with many of the Apple TV “cable over the Internet” apps. Apple TV has been hobbled by Eddie Cue’s incompetence and the cable industry’s greed. The “Bad News Bears” on the Apple TV engineering team have added injury to this insult, creating one of the most defective Apple products to date.

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