While we’re still awaiting some sign that Apple is going to release new products sometime this month, there’s no shortage of Apple TV rumors. After hearing rumblings of a new remote and possible FaceTime support, the latest report has the new streaming box adding support for super-smooth 120Hz 4K TV sets.
According to tvOS 14.5 code spotted by 9to5Mac, the Apple TV 4K may gain support for 120Hz displays. In basic terms, the faster the screen refresh, the smoother pictures look, and the Apple TV box currently supports only the standard 60Hz refresh rate. A faster refresh rate wouldn’t mean all that much for movies—most TVs use software to compensate for lower frame rates—but it would make a big difference with games, particularly Apple Arcade. With a newer chip, Apple TV will be plenty powerful to run console-quality games, and opening up 120Hz support could attract higher-end titles to the device.
We’ve been hearing a lot about 120Hz in the lead-up to the launch of the next iPhone, but this is the first time we’ve heard that the Apple TV will be getting support for higher-refresh-rate displays. ProMotion already brings 120Hz refresh rates to the iPad Pro, and rumors have suggested the tech will also be coming to the iPhone 13 Pro’s display in the fall.
Support for 120Hz video would propel Apple TV 4K to the front of the streaming pack. No other streaming box from Google, Roku, or Amazon has yet to bring support for 120Hz TVs. To take advantage of the feature, you will need an HDMI 2.1 cable that delivers 18Gbps bandwidth and a newer 4K television that supports 120Hz.
Michael Simon has been covering Apple since the iPod was the iWalk. His obsession with technology goes back to his first PC—the IBM Thinkpad with the lift-up keyboard for swapping out the drive. He's still waiting for that to come back in style tbh.