The next Apple TV may boost the screen refresh rate to 120Hz for smoother gaming

The next Apple TV could introduce a new 120Hz display refresh rate option that would make gaming, watching high-frame-rate videos and navigating the user interface much smoother.


  • The tvOS 14.5 code hints at possible 120Hz support.
  • Twice the refresh rate would make onscreen movement smoother.
  • Twice the refresh rate would be especially great for gaming.
  • You would also need a television set supporting 120Hz.

Apple TV and Siri Remote from Pixabay

The next Apple TV may double the refresh rate

9to5Mac has discovered some curious evidence in the code of the current tvOS 14.5 beta which could indicate that a 120Hz option might be coming to the next Apple TV model.

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.

The current boxes lack the oomph to refresh the display 120 times per second, defaulting to 60Hz instead. Besides, the Apple TV 4K and Apple TV HD use the HDMI 2.0 protocol which supports 4K resolution at 60Hz. To support 4K resolution at 120Hz, the next Apple TV would need a newer HDMI 2.1 port. In other words, don’t be crossing your fingers for a software update that would automagically add a 120Hz option to your current Apple TV.

Where is that on Apple TV?

With a higher refresh rate, the interface would feel much smoother — and games could benefit from this technology as well. This rumored option would also require a 120Hz compatible TV. Aside from games, pretty much all onscreen motion should benefit from twice the refresh rate, including watching movies and TV shows that were recorded using high frame rates, navigating the entirety of the tvOS user interface, using and switching apps and so forth.

Is the next Apple TV on the horizon yet?

We don’t know when the next Apple TV is coming.

The rumor-mill had been previously calling for a late-2020 launch which has never happened. The consensus among industry sources and analysts is that the next Apple TV is coming at some point this spring, which is also when the tvOS 14.5 update is releasing publicly.

According to Bloomberg, the next Apple TV will have a major focus on gaming and feature a much-improved GPU along with twice the storage, more RAM, a redesigned remote and more.