4K/HDR Movies Come to iTunes Ahead of Apple TV 4K Launch

Posted on September 15, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in iOS, Music + Videos with 22 Comments

4K/HDR Movies Come to iTunes Ahead of Apple TV 4K Launch

The Apple TV 4K doesn’t arrive until next week, but Apple is already delivering 4K and HDR content to its customers via the iTunes Store.

As you may recall, I described Apple’s Apple TV 4K announcements this week to be the only unadulterated win from its iPhone X press event. That is, this device will provide 4K and HDR content to a living room device that is (for Apple) reasonably priced. And better still, Apple’s 4K content will not cost extra.

“In the only real surprise at the event, and what I will argue was, in fact, the best news of the day, Apple will not charge extra for purchased 4K/UHD/HDR content,” I wrote. “That is, movies and TV shows in these formats will cost the same as Full HD/1080p videos did before (typically $15 or $20 for a new movie). And better still, if you purchased movies or TV shows from Apple in Full HD before, they will automatically be upgraded to 4K/UHD/HDR as those versions become available. Other service providers charge a lot of money for this kind of thing. For example, Google sells the movie King Kong: Skull Island for $19.99 in Full HD, but the 4K/UHD/HDR version is $29.99. For people who care about home entertainment, Apple’s pricing here is—yes, really—a game changer.”

You can preorder the Apple TV 4K today from Apple.com—the 32 GB version, which I preordered, is $180, and the 64 GB version is $200. Apple says that the first orders will arrive next Friday, September 22, a week from today.

I’m going to make this new Apple TV 4K the center of my home entertainment system in the living room and will write about my experiences in the Paul’s Tech Makeover series for Premium readers. But I’ve been very curious to see how and when 4K and HDR content would begin appearing on Apple’s service.

It’s already begun.

As many have reported, and as I can confirm, when you browse the iTunes Store in iOS 11—say, on an iPhone or iPad—you will see that much of the content is now listed as 4K (instead of HD, as it was before; here’s a partial list). And a very limited number of titles—OK, I’ve only found one, the movie Logan—are also being tagged as “HDR,” for high dynamic range.

On the iPad Pro I’m using—I upgraded to the GM version of iOS 11 the other day—there’s no way to configure the device to download 4K content. The only choices are HD and SD. But you can download HDR content, meaning that HDR is separate from and does not require 4K. So on the iPad Pro, which features a 2732 x 2048 display (which is more than 4,000 pixels but still not technically 4K because of the aspect ratio), I can view HDR but not 4K. I assume once 4K downloads are possible (iOS 11.1, I bet), I can get better quality if I don’t mind killing my storage.

For now, I don’t see any HDR titles in my own library, and I’m not buying Logan just to test this. But I suspect this situation will rapidly improve. And that HDR movies will look amazing on the iPad Pro. And that 4K/UHD and HDR movies will likewise look amazing on Apple TV 4K.

I can’t wait to find out.


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Comments (22)

22 responses to “4K/HDR Movies Come to iTunes Ahead of Apple TV 4K Launch”

  1. Stooks

    Logan was actually one of the better X-Men movies.

    I want to know about the Live TV stuff, especially sports. Details about what actual content you can get.

  2. jeetisking

    Great news for i tunes movies lovers, it's gonna be so easy to watch movies.

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  3. desenal

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  4. Mavic

    Being able to watch movies online is easy and doable. However, there are a lot of apps and sites out there that tend to deceive you. By that, they pose as though they offer the service of allowing you watch movies online when in actual sense, they want you to keep clicking ads and not watching a movie.

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  6. Shane789

    Why would anyone care about Netflix when there are lots of sites where one can https://glowthemovie.com/watch-tv-shows-online-free/ I've found many sites that are actually free.

  7. gvan

    I just checked the pre order status and the Apple TV 4k delivery date is moving. That means it's selling out while the iPhone 8 has plenty of supply.

    Fortunately, the dog woke me up at 1:00am last night and I ordered my Apple TV before going back to sleep. So, mine will be arriving on launch day (September 22nd one week from today).

  8. CrownSeven

    A big negative - it seems the new apple tv does not support dolby atmos or dtsx. So we finally get 4k, without the sound to go with it.

  9. glenn8878

    Logan is the worst Wolverine movie. You shouldn't bother buying it.

  10. jbuccola

    Paul, tell me you bought the $7 silicone sleeve for the remote. It is truly the upgrade the thing needs (to distinguish north from south).

  11. rajwik9

    This is an amazing news for all the movie lover who own iOS device. Beside this, one must check app like mobdro for HD movies and TV shows.