Next Apple TV could have 4K 120Hz gaming support

Apple TV 4K
(Image credit: Future)

The next Apple TV could be getting a significant upgrade over its predecessors in the form of a 120Hz refresh rate, as evidenced by lines of code in the current tvOS beta discovered by 9to5Mac

The code contains reference to the higher refresh rate by way of two snippets in particular: “120Hz” and “supports 120Hz.” The referenced lines of code were found in PineBoard, which is Apple’s internal codename for its Apple TV interface.

At the very least, this suggests that Apple could be testing 120Hz support for future Apple TV devices. The higher refresh rate would allow for much smoother media playback and could also position Apple TV as a formidable gaming device. 120Hz support could well be a feature in mind for the upcoming Apple TV device, reported by Bloomberg to be launching later this year.

Apple of your eye

If future Apple TVs are going to support a 120Hz refresh rate, then, it stands that you’d need a fairly top-end TV to make good use of the feature. The TV in question would have to have support for HDMI 2.1, such as the LG CX OLED or Samsung Q80T  QLED TVs, among others you can find in our 4K 120Hz TV buying guide.

A 4K 120Hz Apple TV device could also position Apple Arcade, the company’s gaming subscription service, as a viable alternative to current generation PC and console gaming. Apple Arcade is already proving itself to be a formidable option, having recently bolstered its library to over 180 titles. This also means that future additions to Apple Arcade could go as far as to include big-budget triple-A games to make the most use of a 4K 120Hz output.

All that tech is sure to be expensive, though, and indeed the aforementioned TVs will easily run you over a grand, regardless of your region, before you’ve even bought an Apple TV. We imagine a future Apple TV device that supports 4K resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate won’t come cheap either.

The Apple TV 4K currently retails at $179 / £179 / AU$249 for the 32GB model, while the beefier 64GB version will run you $199 / £199 / AU$279. Expect a future Apple TV model with 120Hz capabilities to be similarly priced, if not even more expensive due to the benefit of a doubled refresh rate.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.