Apple knows how to blindside their customers. Last week, they were touting the awesomeness of their new Apple TV 4K set-top box and its 4K offering. As the device is being released, it is not all that its cracked up to be. Apple TV 4K will only stream 4K content. That’s right, it will not be able to download the 4K content, but only be able to stream. This is the issue 4K content has always had – file size.
Ars Technica is reporting that based on the support document from Apple, you can download an HD movie from Apple, but not the 4K version of it. That would explain the promise they made about previous HD buyers on iTunes will get a free 4K copy of selected movies. They can offer it for free since you will not be able to download it.
Storage Was Always The Problem
When you consider the size of 4K movies, storage space was always going to be the problem. While both versions of the Apple TV only offer 32GB and 64GB storage, how were people going to download 4K movies? The average size of a 4K movie is about 100GB. You don’t need a doctorate in mathematics to see that there is not enough room.
This was one of the reasons 4K movies from services on PlayStation and Microsoft are were so slow in coming. Not to mention the bandwidth issue that people will experience simply streaming 4K content, but finding a place to store it. However, Microsoft and Sony both offer 1TB storage on their PS4 and Xbox One, respectively. They have allowed for additional external storage devices that could make storing 4K content achievable.
Later this year, Apple plans to add (finally) Amazon Prime Video to their list of streaming content, and it will support the 4K content. However, it seems that 4K on YouTube will not be in the cards. The Apple TV 4K only supports H.264, HEVC (H.265), and MP4 video formats for streaming and 4K videos on YouTube are streamed in the VP9 format, which isn’t supported by the new device. Go figure.