Apple may be working to update its existing collection of video content available on the iTunes Store with support for high-definition 4K and HDR. While the majority of iTunes video content, including movies and TV shows for purchase or rent, remain available either in standard definition (SD) or high-definition (HD) 720p or 1080p, recent leaks published by MacRumors suggest that 4K iTunes content could be looming just over the horizon. And the likelihood of a revamped, fifth-generation Apple TV offering 4K support remains a strong possibility.
4K Content Leaks
The argument for 4K iTunes content began building steam last week when MacRumors reader Tomas Jackson discovered that Apple began listing select films with availability in “4K, HDR.” In a discussion topic posted to the MacRumors forums, Jackson, who resides in the U.K., provided the screenshot seen below, which was taken directly from his iTunes purchase history and clearly shows the 2016 film, Passengers, being available in “4K, HDR.” Interestingly, Jackson went on to say in subsequent posts that iTunes only allowed him to download the film in HD quality.
Another U.K.-based user, medavo, noted in response that the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is also being offered in “4K, HDR.” However, MacRumors editors claim they were able to independently verify that while the film did indicate an availability in “4K, HDR,” but were only able to download and watch it in 720p HD.
New 4K/HDR Capable Apple TV Imminent?
Rumors surrounding a next-generation Apple TV device first surfaced back in February of this year, when Bloomberg reported that the Mac-maker was internally testing a next-generation Apple TV device capable of streaming 4K video content. And that the unit, internally codenamed “J105,” could even be released later this year. The report further hinted at the device’s ability to render content boasting more dynamic, true-to-life colors, which suggests a likelihood that high dynamic range (HDR) will also be on board.
While not guaranteed, it’s certainly conceivable that Apple could be gearing up to release its iTunes library in 4K alongside a new Apple TV device later this year, especially as online video-streaming companies like Netflix, for example, continue to show interest in the next-generation HD standard. Currently, the fourth-generation Apple TV is capable of displaying content in up to 1080p HD, however as Apple’s recent iMac computers have shown with their 4K and 5K Retina displays, the company appears to be getting serious about its 4K future.