We're considering picking up a handful of Apple TVs for next year and trying to decide between the 3rd and 4th gen models. It looks like a used 3rd gen model can be had for around $100 which is a significant enough discount from the $150 4th gen model that we're leaning toward it. I realize the 4th gen has plenty of new features on the Apple side but what sort of management capabilities are still there on 3rd gen models? All the Apple TVs will live almost exclusively in Conference Room Mode and about the only potential use of profiles I could think of would be pushing up wifi password changes rather than needing to walk around manually to each classroom with the new wifi password. Any reason to go with 4th gen over the 3rd gen despite the cost?
Speaking from my experience deploying 100+ Apple TV's in our K-12 environment the 4th Gen models are a huge upgrade over the 2nd and 3rd gen models.
Not only are the 2nd & 3rd gen models "end-of-life" from an OS development point we were having many issues with AirPlay mirroring dropping out and disconnecting, significant lag when mirroring & network issues requiring almost daily reboots of the Apple TV’s.
We spent many months troubleshooting this with Apple and our network guys but could never find a cause/solution.
In the end we ended up getting a couple of trial 4th gen models and suddenly all those issues disappeared. Having them enrolled in Jamf was also a great help being able to configure AirPlay secuirty settings, conference display mode, managing tvOS updates and the ability to reboot the devices using MDM commands.
After that successful trial we ended up selling all our 2nd & 3rd gen models and replaced the entire fleet with 4th Gen models. We have also deployed our first batch of 4K models this year but I can’t say at this stage whether there is any significant benefit to deploying these vs the 4th gen models.
So bottom line is if you can afford the extra cost the 4th gen models are well worth the expense - plus you can expect a much longer lifetime with tvOS updates, AirPlay 2 support etc.