We’ve been hearing rumors about the next generation Apple TV for over a year now, and although more evidence has been found, Apple’s plans for its set-top box remain unknown. However, 9to5Mac found references to 120Hz support in the tvOS 14.5 beta code, which is something that wouldn’t work on the current generation Apple TV due to hardware limitations.
Multiple references to “120Hz” and “supports120Hz” have been added to tvOS’ PineBoard in the latest beta release. For those unfamiliar with the matter, PineBoard is the internal name of the system that controls the Apple TV interface, similar to the SpringBoard on iPhone and iPad. These references strongly suggest that Apple is at least internally testing a 120Hz mode for Apple TV.
It’s important to point out, however, that the current Apple TV 4K doesn’t support 120Hz — even with a software update. That’s because the current generation Apple TV is equipped with an HDMI 2.0 port, which is limited to 4K resolution at 60Hz. To enable 4K resolution at 120Hz, an HDMI 2.1 port is required.
With a higher refresh rate, the interface would feel much smoother — and games could benefit from this technology as well. This, of course, would also require a 120Hz compatible TV.
Back in 2019, a source told 9to5Mac that a new Apple TV model with an HDMI 2.1 port was under development. At the same time, the leaker known as Longhorn said the new Apple TV (identified as Apple TV 11,1) would feature the A12 chip. More references about this model were found in the tvOS 13.4 beta, but Apple never introduced this product.
More recently, Bloomberg reported that an upgraded Apple TV is still on track for 2021, and while we believed it would have a new Remote, it turned out that Apple is just working with cable companies to offer a universal remote control that works with the Apple TV.