Video Overview

Introduction

Two long years have passed since our last encounter with an Apple TV. Today on our teardown table, we have a shiny new Apple TV 4K plucked straight from the technology orchards of Cupertino. So what are we to do with Apple's first 4K HDR streaming device? Binge-watch Stranger Things? We definitely thought about it… but nah, we're tearing this sucker apart!

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Apple TV 4K, use our service manual.

We all know this little black obelisk is packing some serious 4K chops, but let's see what else is new in this revamped Apple TV: 64-bit Apple A10X Fusion chip
  • We all know this little black obelisk is packing some serious 4K chops, but let's see what else is new in this revamped Apple TV:

    • 64-bit Apple A10X Fusion chip

    • Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac Wi‑Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, IR receiver, and HDMI 2.0a

  • ... and in the remote:

    • Glass touch surface

    • Dual microphones

    • Accelerometer and gyroscope

    • Bluetooth 4.0, IR transmitter, Lightning connector

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We're excited to dig into a new TV offering from our favorite UFO-dwelling tech company in Cupertino—but first, let's compare Apples to 4K Apples. The newest Apple TV doesn't tower over its predecessor this time around, but we did notice a couple of key differences in the design. The bottom panel has been redesigned for what looks like some serious thermal venting.
  • We're excited to dig into a new TV offering from our favorite UFO-dwelling tech company in Cupertino—but first, let's compare Apples to 4K Apples.

  • The newest Apple TV doesn't tower over its predecessor this time around, but we did notice a couple of key differences in the design.

    • The bottom panel has been redesigned for what looks like some serious thermal venting.

    • Bye-bye, USB-C port.

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Before we pop the box open, our partners at Creative Electron provided some fancy X-ray scans. X-ray vision reveals a new circular object which seems to coordinate closely with the new exhaust ports on the bottom panel.
  • Before we pop the box open, our partners at Creative Electron provided some fancy X-ray scans.

  • X-ray vision reveals a new circular object which seems to coordinate closely with the new exhaust ports on the bottom panel.

    • Is it a fan? A particle accelerator? A portion of the Contact ring?

    • Alright, our interest is piqued. It's time to crack this black box open and see what this 4K upgrade is all about.

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We take a familiar access route through the underside of the Apple TV 4K. Just like with its single-K sibling, the Apple TV 4K features repair-friendly plastic clips that secure its bottom panel.
  • We take a familiar access route through the underside of the Apple TV 4K.

  • Just like with its single-K sibling, the Apple TV 4K features repair-friendly plastic clips that secure its bottom panel.

    • These clips are a little more stubborn than what we've seen before—but still, they're not terribly difficult.

    • No moat of glue or uncommon screws? This upgraded unit gets a 1 Up as a reward.

  • Peeling back the rear panel reveals a beefy fan secured by some Torx screws.

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Deck the Halls
With tools and Fix Kits
After pulling out the T7 Torx screws, we meet Apple TV's biggest fan! It looks like Apple merged the new fan with the heat sink/EMI shield assembly from the Apple TV 4th Generation—combining them to form one whopper of a cooling solution. This Voltron of a thermal assembly suggests that 4K HDR capability comes with a significant increase in thermal output.
  • After pulling out the T7 Torx screws, we meet Apple TV's biggest fan!

  • It looks like Apple merged the new fan with the heat sink/EMI shield assembly from the Apple TV 4th Generation—combining them to form one whopper of a cooling solution.

    • This Voltron of a thermal assembly suggests that 4K HDR capability comes with a significant increase in thermal output.

  • With the twist of a few more Torx screws, the assembly is disassembled—revealing a replaceable fan driven by a Nidec brushless motor.

    • A replaceable fan is good news for owners. Otherwise, we're guessing that a failed fan would quickly mean a failed device.

    • This new fan assembly is apparently secured by an identity disk. TRON, is that you?

Any clue on which way the air flows through the fan unit front to back, back to front or side to side

Dan - Reply

From the housing of the fan, it looks like air is pulled in from the front and side vents, then exhausted through the back vents.

Andy Tran -

We're pleased to see that Apple keeps with the tradition of easily removable logic boards for the Apple TV 4K. Apple 343S00198 64-bit A10X Fusion processor
  • We're pleased to see that Apple keeps with the tradition of easily removable logic boards for the Apple TV 4K.

    • Apple 343S00198 64-bit A10X Fusion processor

    • Broadcom BCM57762 Gigabit Ethernet Controller

    • SK Hynix H9HCNNNBRUMLQR 2 GB LPDDR4 RAM and SK Hynix H9HCNNN8KUMLQR 1 GB LPDDR4 RAM for a total of 3 GB

    • Apple 343S00150 (similar part number to the 338S00055 custom memory controller found in the Retina MacBook 2015)

    • Murata 339S00381 Wi-Fi/Bluetooth Module

    • Toshiba THGBX6G8D2LLDXG 32 GB flash memory

    • Megachips MCDP2920A4 DisplayPort 1.4 to HDMI 2.0 converter

Broadcom BCM57762 should be PCIe Ethernet controller.

JJ Wu - Reply

Yep, 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet PCIe Controller with ASF2.0.

“The device combines a triple-speed IEEE 802.3-compliant Media Access Controller (MAC) with a triple-speed Ethernet transceiver, x1 PCIe bus interface and on-chip buffer memory in a single device. The device is fabricated in 1.2V CMOS process, providing a low-power system solution.”

repoman27 - Reply

From the components around Apple 343S00150, Apple 343S00150 could be the PMIC. Memory controller should be integrated in the Apple A10X processor. There is 343S00151-A0 next to Apple 343S00150. Supposedly, Apple 343S00150-A0 and Apple 343S00151-A0 could be the PMIC for Apple TV 4K.

JJ Wu - Reply

Does anyone know why Apple would use DisplayPort internally and convert it to HDMI instead of just using HDMI internally? (an ELI5 type answer would be best - https://www.reddit.com/r/explainlikeimfi... for more info)

Matthew Adams - Reply

  • We don't run into any surprises here; the heat sink remains much the same as its predecessor from 2015.

  • We take a moment to pluck a familiar pair of presumed power posts from the body of the heat sink.

    • During our Apple TV 4th Generation Teardown, we suspected that power was transmitted to the logic board via the heat sink screw posts. It looks like this is still the case with Apple TV 4K.

  • With the heatsink and posts out of the way, the only thing left to do is remove the power supply board.

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The new power supply is rated for 12 V at 1.083 A. This is a modest bump up from the 0.917 A power supply in the Apple TV 4th Generation. Again taking a design lead from its older sibling, the Apple TV 4K eschews internal wiring between the power supply and logic board.
  • The new power supply is rated for 12 V at 1.083 A. This is a modest bump up from the 0.917 A power supply in the Apple TV 4th Generation.

  • Again taking a design lead from its older sibling, the Apple TV 4K eschews internal wiring between the power supply and logic board.

    • The use of conductive posts in lieu of wiring probably saves internal real estate, and it eliminates the possibility of pinched or bent wires during assembly.

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There's all the bits! Now to reassemble this thing and binge-watch Stranger Things for real... And special thanks Creative Electron for sending us some sweet X-rays all the way from the other hemisphere!
  • There's all the bits! Now to reassemble this thing and binge-watch Stranger Things for real...

  • And special thanks Creative Electron for sending us some sweet X-rays all the way from the other hemisphere!

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Final Thoughts
  • Plastic clips hold the case together for easy opening.
  • Modular components make for easy disassembly and repair.
  • The power supply is modular and features a removable AC-in jack.
  • Standard Torx screws hold everything together.
  • All major components are soldered to the logic board, meaning fixing any port problems will require board-level soldering or a full board replacement.
Repairability Score
8
Repairability 8 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)

20 Comments

Just sanity checking what my eyes are telling me - are both the inner and outer rings of that moving fan parts, or is the outer ring just an air channel?

Edit: ok the last breakdown picture shows the outside is not part of the fan

tipoo - Reply

Got off the phone with Apple. No USB means a corrupted firmware means you will have to send in the device for recovery/restore. You will at least have to pay shipping. Apple stores should be able to recover/restore as well. Don’t exactly the USB pads on the PCB. Maybe the four pads on the left of the bottom image. Anyone?

Kemal NottaTurk - Reply

Maybe they'll allow it to be done through the ethernet port….

Andrew spoelstra -

Any more detailed info (part numbers) on the remote?

techno_freak - Reply

Isn’t that Broadcom ethernet chip used in thunderbolt dongles, but not necessarily anything to do with Thunderbolt? I.e TB carries it, but it's it’s own thing. Not sure this shows Thunderbolt on ARM.

tipoo - Reply

It was so funny, to see it’s and it’s, the first meaning it is, the second meaning its. I haven’t seen that blunder in a long while. Thanks for the laugh.

Roberto Manuel -

That’s a lot of mirth derived from an extra apostrophe. Small things, as they say…

tipoo -

What quick video tear down for a product that took two years to make!

I would go slower and show the chips and defiantly try not to damage the backcover…

Benjamin Nabulsi - Reply

Hm, I wonder if going down to 3GB impacts the A10X 128 bit memory bus from the 4GB iPads.

tipoo - Reply

AppleTV 4K is awesome, seeing it naked it quite sexy indeed. Nice big cool fan.

Riccardo - Reply

Is a bit of an illusion and I had to double check - only the inner blades are a fan, looks about as big as a regular laptops fan. The outer ring is metal air baffles/channels, connected to the upper heatsink, just to bring air in part of the fan and let it push air out the rear part.

tipoo -

When the Apple TV has better cooling than the MacBooks.

Christian Galvez - Reply

What about the possibility to upgrade the 32/64 Gb memory?

Fedele Boccasini - Reply

Is the memory bus still 128 bit, with 1GB removed from the iPad A10X?

tipoo - Reply

Where is the IR receiver? I can’t see it in the photos.

ggilley - Reply

It uses bluetooth. Only IR is used for the TV.

David Maitland -

This is what I came here for too.

There is an IR receiver, but it seems to have moved a bit left (facing the Apple TV 4K) from where the previous 4th gen was. I installed a few yesterday and stuck an emitter back on the center and got a bit nervous thinking they changed codes.

Aaron C -

Yes, the IR (Infrared) receiver is at the front left side. It is the four dots at the bottom left of the X-Ray photos in STEP 3.

Daniel Mui - Reply

Is the built-in power supply capable of 110-220vdc? I’m thinking about buying one in the US and taking it with me to Asia where the power is 220v

Derrick - Reply

i wish hacked this 4k tv for install IOS 11.1 on it every body have idea???

because in ipad pro same as!!

please how can edit ios image for install ios on 4k tv this is Revolution in age of smart t.v with one wireless touch pad any thing can do

behnam for - Reply

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