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You should get more useful life out of a fourth generation Apple TV. Even though it doesn’t offer 4K video, this feature can be added in a future update. Of course, you get the App Store and a better remote control. Apple will probably support this new model for at least three years before they neglect it and urge customers to buy the new model. If you buy a new Apple TV 3, expect maybe one or two years of use before it is forsaken.
Apple TV 4 can run apps on your television. If you are into games or just want another view of the Apple ecosystem, the fourth generation Apple TV is more useful.
Beyond apps, tvOS offers more advanced functionality. You can use Siri to find content and information.
If you’re a sports fan, the interactive capabilities of sports apps will change the way you watch games.
The UI is impressive and features a lot of eye-candy. The new Apple TV 4 can do a lot more, but do you really need it?
Apple TV 3: Worth Buying?
For those who just want to watch TV shows and movies, Apple TV 3 is a great option. The choice depends on your needs and how much you are willing to spend. Apple TV 3 is less than half the price of the base Apple TV 4 model. Even the new Siri remote costs more than a third generation Apple TV.
I would recommend Apple TV 3 to those who are on a budget, already subscribe to cable, or anyone who just wants a simple media player. Keep in mind, you probably won’t get years out of this model, as Apple has a well-established pattern of neglect.
If you are afraid of breaking the new Siri remote, Apple TV 3 offers a simple, durable aluminum remote. There’s a lot less that can go wrong with the third generation model, and that may be appealing to a lot of customers. If you just want to get your toe in the water, buy an Apple TV 3. At a mere $69 (or less), few will regret the purchase.
If you want something that “just works”, go for the third generation model. Apple TV 4 is still a work in progress. It may get better with updates, but expect regressive bugs to sneak in to releases.
The new model is perfect for fans of Apple products who want Siri and apps on their television. I plan on upgrading from Apple TV 2 to Apple TV 4. I don’t expect it to be the wonderful and magical experience that Apple suggests. For me, it’s more about sticking with the devil I know.
There are a lot of other options out there, and some are superior to Apple TV 4. Roku 4 and the Nvidia SHIELD both support 4K video.
Nonetheless, I know Apple TV 4 will integrate with my Apple products better than any competing set-top box. This same integration (AirPlay) is available on Apple TV 3. I am also choosing the fourth generation model because I plan on keeping it for a few years. I already own a second generation Apple TV. Upgrading to the third generation model doesn’t make sense for me. Many consumers may find adequate value and utility with the third generation model.