Notes on the Apple TV 4K HDR UHD with Super DolbyVision

Lots to digest in Apple's latest update to the Apple TV. But, first, we need to come up with something less tech nerdy than 4K. And HDR. And Ultra High Definition. I know what they all mean, and I still feel like I'm about to go cross-eyed. Just think, these are phenomenally worse than Super Retina Display, and Super Retina Display is bad. But, I digress.

As I noted on Twitter, if Apple truly needed to use a Dolby Vision theater projection system to show off the device's full capabilites, an Apple TV coupled with the right display would rival the screen at your average theater. Having seen a film projected in Dolby Vision, I can assure you that the image quality is immaculate. If the Apple TV is even close to delivering that same quality, the dream of a high-end home theater is becoming even more obtainable.

Where the Apple TV might falter compared to the theater is a question of compression. Compare the 1080 HD iTunes version of film to it's Bluray counterpart, and the Blu-ray looks better. So the question now is how do the iTunes 4K HDR films compare to the 4K HDR Blu-rays that have started to hit the market. If the quality is close, Blu-ray might be the format for cinephiles, and digital the format for the masses.

But two other things to note:

  1. Apple got (some) studios to agree to the $19.99 pricing. Disney being the notable holdout.
  2. Films previously purchased in HD will be upgraded to 4K for free.

Personally, I think the biggest problem Blu-ray faced—and the problem 4K content will face soon—was people didn't necessarily want to shell out and buy a new copy of a movie they already own. For many, a DVD is good enough. Hell, I still have a bunch of DVDs that I have no intention on shelling out the money to replace them with a Blu-ray. Good on Apple and the studios for putting this update into place. This alone makes purchasing movies through iTunes more compelling. 

Now, if the same thing applies to Digital Copy, it'll be even better. Buy once, 4K everywhere.