Evidence Of Apple TV 4K HDR Support Emerges, Again. What We Think

by on July 28, 2017

Stephan Jukic – July 28, 2017

Rumors and speculation about Apple finally unveiling a version of Apple TV with support for 4K and high dynamic range have been swirling for literally years across the internet and elsewhere but the technology giant has always so far remained strangely mute on the prospect of such an unveiling. To some tech watchers, including us, this lack of movement into what is the obvious future of streaming home media technology has been a rather surprising stance from a company like Apple, which likes to play up a cutting-edge status in so many other ways.

In the current set-top streaming media box market, virtually every other major platform being sold already comes with 4K video at the very least and many of the newer models also include full HDR support. These include the line of Roku TV boxes, Amazon’s Fire platform, Nvidia’s Shield and many other set-top boxes we’ve previously covered here. Apple’s TV box has been a major absence in these listings since at least 2015 and so far Apple has said very little about this. All the more annoying is that the Apple TV platform continues to sell for a price it barely deserves at this point given the major market share being taken up by new 4K TV sales and the device’s purely 1080p resolution support for all those millions of 4K TV owners who might want more.

Now, perhaps finally, we’re starting to see some more solid rumors that Apple has decided to adjust to the inevitable and finally start working on an updated Apple TV version with 4K UHD resolution and high dynamic range:

According to recent reporting from the website MacRumors, iTunes has started listing movies with 4K HDR support in the purchase histories of Apple TV users and this of course implies that maybe, just maybe, support for these listed formats will be coming to Apple devices like the TV box very soon.

Roku Ultra 4K

Competing set-top boxes like the Roku Ultra Offer far more advanced content format support at lower prices than Apple TV

iTunes doesn’t at all support the download of 4K or HDR movie titles on any device or platform and Apple’s only two devices to-date with 4K display support are the company’s 21.5-inch iMac with Retina 4K display, and the 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display. Thus, these new 4K HDR title options for certain iTunes content selections only appear in purchase histories without offering anything more. However, if Apple is now mentioning these format tags in its formal content information profiles for real content, it stands to reason that it means more than just text is coming from the Cupertino tech giant.

So far, the 4K HDR tags have appeared for only a certain limited listing of movie titles, all of them from Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros studios. However, it is worth noting that both of these studios do already at least support and in the case of Warner, directly produce and release their newer movie titles to 4K Blu-ray disc media with HDR included. Columbia for its part is a part of Sony Pictures, which also directly creates 4K UHD movie releases for Blu-ray and other formats.

Other even earlier rumors of a new 4K HDR-enabled version of Apple TV also need to be mentioned here. Most interestingly, in March of this year, Firi Games had leaked evidence of a new Apple TV device called “AppleTV6,2”, which would reportedly run on tvOS 11.0. According to the game platform, this supposed new Apple TV linked up to one of their arcade games with an IP address that’s within the area of Cupertino, California, where Apple’s headquarters is located.

Apple itself has said nothing at all about any of these older and newer 4K HDR support rumors but the company tends to unveil its new technology plans in the latter part of any given year, so if there’s truth to the idea that Apple TV or something like it is finally entering the world of 4K high dynamic range support, we’ll almost certainly hear about it before the 2017 Year-end holidays. If not then, we’re betting on something by CES 2018.

Whichever ends up being the case, it would be about time. Apple is more than unreasonably lagging behind on a move into streaming 4K UHD media and we can think of no good excuse for why the company has avoided entering this end of the home entertainment market so far. 4K HDR content support is still a fractional part of the overall home video media market but it’s more than well-established enough to be a valid, even crucial part of any serious content service and hardware provider’s offerings.

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