The 2021 Apple TV 4K is the second-generation Apple TV 4K and the third with support for HomeKit, which first appeared with the AppleTV HD.
The AppleTV 4K is a great streaming box with support for all of the popular streaming options such as Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, as well as all the network channel apps… assuming you have an active cable subscription. I use AppleTV to watch all my cable-provided channel content. Additionally, there are rumors that Xfinity Live Streaming will eventually be making its way to the AppleTV platform (it's been available on iOS/iPadOS for several years).
In this latest iteration of the AppleTV 4K, there is are several minor but notable new features.
Adding support for eARC audio allows you to use connected HomePods as speakers for other devices connected to your TV, such as a game console or Blu-Ray player. Before this, you could only play the AppleTV's own audio via HomePod.
New HDMI 2.1 support brings added features such as 4K at 120Hz (up from 60Hz), and the addition of the latest Bluetooth 5.0 should mean much better range over the older 4.0.
Alongside the new Bluetooth 5.0 is added support for the all-new Thread protocol. The AppleTV 4K (2021) is the second device from Apple to feature Thread support, allowing Thread-capable devices to connect to Apple HomeKit with no additional hub required.
The AppleTV 4K is also the only Ethernet-capable HomeKit Hub, making it a popular choice for HomKit enthusiasts. However, there is no guarantee that HomeKit will choose to use your AppleTV as the active hub, a continued source of frustration for many.
Processor: Apple A12
AirPlay 2: Supported
WiFi: WiFi 6 (802.11ax)
Power: 100-240V AC
- Ethernet Support
- Thread Support
- Excellent Streaming Box
- eARC Support
- Theater Mode for HomePod audio
- Almost twice the price of a HomePod Mini
- Only makes sense connected to a TV, limiting locations
AppleTV 4K (2021) is the most reliable HomeKit Hub. It supports Ethernet and has decent hardware specs. Additionally, it supports WiFi and Bluetooth, and the 2021 version also supports Thread. In short, if you can only get one HomeKit Hub, this is the one to get. It's also an excellent streaming box.