This Is One Major Catch To Watching Apple TV 4K Content
Stephan Jukic – October 1, 2017
When Apple TV 4K was finally unveiled and more recently also went on sale, fans of Apple had plenty of reasons to be happy. After years of waiting for it, they finally got a version of the set-top box that’s truly cutting-edge and based on what we’re seeing so far for the UHD media box (we’re working on a review at the time of this writing), Apple TV 4K is one genuinely great streaming platform, with some truly competitive 4K content prices as well.
To sweeten the iTunes 4K content pot even further Apple CEO Tim Cook also promised users that anyone who had already bought movies for their older, HD-only version of iTunes would get free upgrades to 4K ultra HD versions of those selections if they were available in the newer resolution.
Now however, it turns out that this seemingly excellent deal for existing subscribers does come with something of a catch: basically, it turns out that Apple TV 4K can only deliver 4K UHD content in streaming form, with no download option. Thus, according to customer support documents recently released by Apple, subscribers who’ve purchased 4K versions of movies through their UHD versions of the set-top box will only have access to those pieces of content if they’re connected to a robust enough internet connection.
Any movies that have been downloaded from iTunes in their 4K versions or streamed 4K movies that are watched on WiFi/Ethernet connections without enough bandwidth will simply play back on any TV display in 1080p HD instead. The possibility of HD-only playback for streamed movies under internet connectivity that’s not up to par for 4K streams is pretty much par for the course in the world of UHD content streaming, since the same rule applies by necessary default from all streaming 4K content providers, but the inability to even download movies for playback in native 4K might definitely disappoint some users. Other services which allow for 4K HDR movie downloading do support their titles in full 4K if this is what you paid for, so it’s a bit unusual for Apple to not allow the same thing.
On the other hand, downloading of HDR-mastered versions of movies is possible it seems, even if the 4K aspect is missing. According to the Apple support document: “you can download a local copy of an HD movie, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions,”
Thus, those of you who want to keep your library of iTunes video content bought through Apple TV 4K offline-ready for whatever connectivity contingency will have to forego the 4K. But if you own an HDR TV, you might still at least get that even more crucial video quality feature to render.
Apple TV 4K is definitely one of the pricier 4K UHD set-top boxes on the market today but its manufacturer has delivered some wicked specs in exchange for the dollars you’re spending. Unlike any other 4K set-top device sold so far, the new Apple box offers not only standard HDR10 high dynamic range in its 4K UHD content, it also delivers mastering the more premium and arguably superior Dolby Vision format. Owners of 4K HDR TVs from LG, Sony, and others with Dolby Vision support thus have one particularly good reason to be excited about the new set-top media box.
The new Apple TV 4K media box also offers certain third-party 4K entertainment apps such as Netflix. It does not however yet support 4K video from YouTube and an app for Amazon Prime Instant Video is still on the way from what we’ve last heard.
Story by 4k.com