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If you were thinking of buying an Apple TV, it might be worth waiting

Could a 120hz version of Apple TV be coming this year?

apple tv streaming box
Image: KnowTechie

Apple’s TV box hasn’t had a refresh for years, but that might be about to change. 9to5Mac went diving into tvOS 14.5’s beta and found some references to a feature the current hardware doesn’t support. That might mean a new Apple TV release is imminent.

Multiple places in the code reference “120Hz” and “supports120Hz,” in the PineBoard system inside tvOS. PineBoard is the code block that controls the Apple TV interface, like how SpringBoard runs the interface on iPad or iPhone.

While that doesn’t necessarily mean that new hardware is about to release, none of the existing Apple TV units can support 120Hz refresh rates. The current hardware has an HDMI 2.0 port, which is limited to 60Hz at 4K. A future Apple TV unit supporting 120Hz would need an HDMI 2.1 port.

Then again, rumors about an Apple TV unit with HDMI 2.1 have been around since 2019. Will 2021 be the year that Apple finally upgrades its hardware? It could be, while Apple has been busy increasing the size of the Apple Arcade library which would definitely benefit from the move to 120Hz.

Apple could also be waiting for the TV manufacturers. While 120Hz TVs are becoming more plentiful, they’re still not the norm, reducing the potential market if Apple does decide to release a refreshed Apple TV box this year.

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