Apple HomePod Firmware Details Confirm New 4K HDR Apple TV

by on August 6, 2017

Stephan Jukic – August 6, 2017

At this point it’s basically certain that a new Apple TV version with 4K UHD and high dynamic range support for both HDR10 AND Dolby Vision is coming soon.

After months of rumors, gossip and a growing list of small clues spotted by some of the world’s thousands of loyal Apple watchers and reported by us as well, the most concrete evidence yet has emerged and as far as we can see it’s enough to pretty much settle the issue: Apple TV with 4K support will finally be emerging sooner rather than later.

The most recent leak? Apple’s own recent Homepod speaker software update. On the night of August 6th an iOS developer tweeted that he’d noted lines of code in the firmware update which refer to a version of Apple TV that supports both high dynamic range and 4K resolution. Furthermore, not only does it support HDR, it will support it in all three current “major” formats. This means 4K Apple TV support for HDR10, the most popular format; Dolby Vision, arguably the most dynamic HDR format and HLG, the new broadcast HDR standard.

The iOS developer's Apple TV 4K firmware code tweet

The iOS developer’s Apple TV 4K firmware code tweet

In other words, the new Apple TV 4K model will be an absolute powerhouse of 4K digital video entertainment delivery and it’s going to give stiff competition to rival set-top streaming media boxes with 4K support…… just as soon as it actually comes out, at least a year late as some would argue.

Now Apple itself hasn’t commented publicly on any of this but the company is in definite need of an Apple TV overhaul. The set-top box’s current version is not only badly out of date with its basic 1080p HD support, it’s also priced well beyond its worth if you compare it to fully 4K streaming media device with HDR like the Roku Ultra, Google’s Chromecast Ultra, Amazon Fire and others in this major niche. Of course, since Apple derives at least 70% of its total revenues from iPhone sales, it has little reason to rush on a 4K Apple TV box but considering how popular their consumer devices tend to be, having waited this long was a definite missed opportunity for earlier reputation building and new revenues. Another possible reason for the delay could have been due to Apple waiting for 4K TV popularity to grow and 4K video delivery standards to solidify. However even in this regard, 4K TV standard have been pretty solid since early 2016 and firmware updates are always possible for the rest.

An Apple TV 4K version will apparently even support the HLG broadcast HDR standard

An Apple TV 4K version will apparently even support the HLG broadcast HDR standard

Whatever the case may be, it would be a downright embarrassment for Apple if its next Apple TV box came out without 4K and HDR support at this point. Thus, if the company is indeed planning on a release of the device in some form factor for late 2017 or early 2018, 4K is something we can be sure to see. These new firmware code snippets alluding to these technologies are likely a form of preparation for the missing device inside the Apple technology ecosystem.

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