The fourth-generation Apple TV, with its apps and fancy remote, is the set-top box Apple wants you to buy. But if you’re not interested with friends and you really just want Netflix on your big screen, the $69 third-gen Apple TV has been a good option.
That is until today, when Apple unceremoniously yanked the 3rd-gen TV off shelves, leaving the $149 Apple TV as the only option.
Apple hasn’t provided any reasoning for the change, so a gradual phasing out of the old for the new is a safe bet. The new Apple TV was the biggest change the company has made to the platform since it launched, so it makes sense that Apple wants to focus on the new tvOS and the new app store. That will be easier without any of the old hardware lying around.
CNET notes that some refurbished 3rd-gen Apple TVs are still available, which means you still have a chance to pick one up for cheap. Otherwise, the market for low-end streaming devices is flooded with Roku, Chromecast and Amazon Fire sticks, all of which do much of the same thing as the older Apple TV, but for less money and fewer wires lying around your home theater.