Reminder: Apple says it's only streaming 4K iTunes movies, not offering downloads

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2018
People wanting to upgrade their desktop iTunes movie purchases to 4K are out of luck -- Apple is only streaming video in that resolution, not offering downloads, according to an official support document.




"You can download a local copy of an HD movie, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions, but you can't download a 4K version," Apple says. The same webpage recommends at least 25 megabits per second of bandwidth for 4K streaming, and notes that falling below this may automatically switch users to 1080p or lower.

It's possible to stream locally-imported 4K video from one Mac to another via iTunes, AppleInsider can confirm if properly encoded with a tool like Handbrake. So, the Apple TV and iTunes itself is capable of performing the feat.

The situation is likely because of deals negotiated with most major Hollywood studios, which mean that people buying iTunes titles get 4K on the Apple TV at no extra cost. Limiting the extra resolution to streaming could be a way of deterring piracy, and/or keeping Blu-ray disc sales alive.

Additionally, the Apple TV won't stream YouTube videos in 4K, and is currently missing support for Dolby Atmos surround sound, though that is said to be arriving at some point later in a software update.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 51
    This is a genius move by Apple. Because Mac sales won’t suffer over not having this all this will do is bolster sales for the new Apple TV.
  • Reply 2 of 51
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 10,557member

    The situation could be a result of deals negotiated with most major Hollywood studios, which mean that people buying iTunes titles get 4K on the Apple TV at no extra cost. Limiting the extra resolution to streaming could be a way of deterring piracy, and/or keeping Blu-ray disc sales alive.

    Use your heads people, think before jumping to conclusions. The above paragraph is the most likely correct scenario.
    hmurchisonjahbladedoozydozen1983watto_cobraMuntzjbdragonneilmmavemufc
  • Reply 3 of 51
    That kind of sucks. I have a fairly robust tube to teh Interwebs, but it would be much handier to download to my late 2006 iMac (now featuring 2TB drive!), especially since Apple TV's buffering is fairly egregious.
  • Reply 4 of 51
    So we "sort of" get an upgrade to 4K.   Streaming only sounds nice but I've already exceeded my Comcast Terabyte cap like 4 times.  4K isn't going to make this cap any harder to hit.  

    Also it's not the most carbon friendly approach.   Content Distribution Networks are fueled by datacenters which are often "fueled" by energy sources that aren't so clean.  I'm a bit dismayed that a company that prides itself on not using non-recyclable materials is promoting a carbon unfriendly approach to video video disty. 

    I'm going to pick up a Nvidia Shield TV and see how that works along with a ATV 4K.   I'm feeling too constrained with streamers and this "Just stream everything" when my fastest network at home is my LAN. 
  • Reply 5 of 51
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 6,105member
    So we "sort of" get an upgrade to 4K.   Streaming only sounds nice but I've already exceeded my Comcast Terabyte cap like 4 times.  4K isn't going to make this cap any harder to hit.  

    Also it's not the most carbon friendly approach.   Content Distribution Networks are fueled by datacenters which are often "fueled" by energy sources that aren't so clean.  I'm a bit dismayed that a company that prides itself on not using non-recyclable materials is promoting a carbon unfriendly approach to video video disty. 

    I'm going to pick up a Nvidia Shield TV and see how that works along with a ATV 4K.   I'm feeling too constrained with streamers and this "Just stream everything" when my fastest network at home is my LAN. 

    So people buy the movie on DVD, and now that it's out on Blue-Ray, they magically expect the studios to give it to them for free?  There is nothing to read here.

    I'm not sure I buy the carbon footprint here... it's much less than the old days of stamping-out a billion DVD's on plastic, and VHS videotapes back in the day.  You're watching the 4K movie either on your TV, or computer, or both... so you're burning electricity either way, and the datacenter still remain on and running whether people stream movies or not.
    macpluspluscaliStrangeDayswatto_cobraMuntzrandominternetpersonSpamSandwichmavemufc
  • Reply 6 of 51
    Is this download restriction limited to 4K movies that were an upgrade or is this inclusive of 4k movies that we purchase as 4K? What about when I buy a physical 4K disc that comes with a 4k iTunes copy? Still no download option? Can you download 4K on Vudu or any other service or is this an industry wide restriction? 

    I routinely exceeded the Xfinity 1TB limit so now I'm paying the extra $50 for unlimited. 4K streaming shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm happy that the Apple TV 4K exceeded preorder expectations. I'm glad I ordered one from Best Buy. None of the stores in my area has them other than a few 32g models.
    watto_cobralightvox
  • Reply 7 of 51
    sflocal said:
    So we "sort of" get an upgrade to 4K.   Streaming only sounds nice but I've already exceeded my Comcast Terabyte cap like 4 times.  4K isn't going to make this cap any harder to hit.  

    Also it's not the most carbon friendly approach.   Content Distribution Networks are fueled by datacenters which are often "fueled" by energy sources that aren't so clean.  I'm a bit dismayed that a company that prides itself on not using non-recyclable materials is promoting a carbon unfriendly approach to video video disty. 

    I'm going to pick up a Nvidia Shield TV and see how that works along with a ATV 4K.   I'm feeling too constrained with streamers and this "Just stream everything" when my fastest network at home is my LAN. 

    So people buy the movie on DVD, and now that it's out on Blue-Ray, they magically expect the studios to give it to them for free?  There is nothing to read here.

    I'm not sure I buy the carbon footprint here... it's much less than the old days of stamping-out a billion DVD's on plastic, and VHS videotapes back in the day.  You're watching the 4K movie either on your TV, or computer, or both... so you're burning electricity either way, and the datacenter still remain on and running whether people stream movies or not.
    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    The generation of Electricity in its entirety contributes more carbon than our vehicle emissions.  Data centers are getting cleaner thanks to solar and hydroelectric. The first thing I do in every new home is replace low efficiency appliances and lighting. The wife and I are looking at Solar for our roof. 

    Our children have to clean up the trash the former generation leaves. I’m trying to keep that mess as small as possible 
  • Reply 8 of 51
    What about the actual video files themselves?  That is, are they still in H.264, or are they being updated to H.265?  If it hasn't been switched over, might they be waiting for the new release of MacOS, next week?
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 9 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,889administrator
    pujones1 said:
    Is this download restriction limited to 4K movies that were an upgrade or is this inclusive of 4k movies that we purchase as 4K? What about when I buy a physical 4K disc that comes with a 4k iTunes copy? Still no download option? Can you download 4K on Vudu or any other service or is this an industry wide restriction? 

    I routinely exceeded the Xfinity 1TB limit so now I'm paying the extra $50 for unlimited. 4K streaming shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm happy that the Apple TV 4K exceeded preorder expectations. I'm glad I ordered one from Best Buy. None of the stores in my area has them other than a few 32g models.
    I think that I can answer most of the questions in the first paragraph in one sentence: if you're getting 4K from Apple, you're getting it streamed and not from a download stored in iTunes. 

    I am not 100% about 4K downloads from Amazon or Netflix, but I believe that they are streams as well -- so it appears that at least in the early days that it is an industry-wide restriction.
    edited September 2017 pujones1watto_cobra
  • Reply 10 of 51
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 6,889administrator

    What about the actual video files themselves?  That is, are they still in H.264, or are they being updated to H.265?  If it hasn't been switched over, might they be waiting for the new release of MacOS, next week?
    4K from Apple is H.265 now. 
    watto_cobrajbdragon
  • Reply 11 of 51

    What about the actual video files themselves?  That is, are they still in H.264, or are they being updated to H.265?  If it hasn't been switched over, might they be waiting for the new release of MacOS, next week?
    4K from Apple is H.265 now. 
    Sorry, I meant the SD, HD, and the HD1080 copies.

    watto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 51
    Well, that’s a dealbreaker for me. I don’t have access to those kind of speeds where I live. I’ll put that money back in my pocket and get a UHD disc player and keep buying discs. 
  • Reply 13 of 51
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    sog35 said:
    So this is the catch...
    Like someone saying they’ll give you a car to drive for free but it’s not yours. 
    king editor the grate
  • Reply 14 of 51
    mac_128mac_128 Posts: 3,454member
    rprice54 said:
    Well, that’s a dealbreaker for me. I don’t have access to those kind of speeds where I live. I’ll put that money back in my pocket and get a UHD disc player and keep buying discs. 
    You'd be doing that anyway, or waiting hours to download a movie. I'm sure Apple cache's the movie on the expanded storage space for the ATV, so streaming it would only take a little pre-planning? Hopefully.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 51
    pujones1 said:
    Is this download restriction limited to 4K movies that were an upgrade or is this inclusive of 4k movies that we purchase as 4K? What about when I buy a physical 4K disc that comes with a 4k iTunes copy? Still no download option? Can you download 4K on Vudu or any other service or is this an industry wide restriction? 

    I routinely exceeded the Xfinity 1TB limit so now I'm paying the extra $50 for unlimited. 4K streaming shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm happy that the Apple TV 4K exceeded preorder expectations. I'm glad I ordered one from Best Buy. None of the stores in my area has them other than a few 32g models.
    You can't download 4K movies on Vudu either. When I try with the 4K movies I own, it only gives me the option of an HDX download. 
    edited September 2017
  • Reply 16 of 51
    appexappex Posts: 687member
    Nothing like a Mac mini with standalone downloaded movies inside connected to a display or TV.
  • Reply 17 of 51
    sflocal said:
    So we "sort of" get an upgrade to 4K.   Streaming only sounds nice but I've already exceeded my Comcast Terabyte cap like 4 times.  4K isn't going to make this cap any harder to hit.  

    Also it's not the most carbon friendly approach.   Content Distribution Networks are fueled by datacenters which are often "fueled" by energy sources that aren't so clean.  I'm a bit dismayed that a company that prides itself on not using non-recyclable materials is promoting a carbon unfriendly approach to video video disty. 

    I'm going to pick up a Nvidia Shield TV and see how that works along with a ATV 4K.   I'm feeling too constrained with streamers and this "Just stream everything" when my fastest network at home is my LAN. 

    So people buy the movie on DVD, and now that it's out on Blue-Ray, they magically expect the studios to give it to them for free?  There is nothing to read here.

    I'm not sure I buy the carbon footprint here... it's much less than the old days of stamping-out a billion DVD's on plastic, and VHS videotapes back in the day.  You're watching the 4K movie either on your TV, or computer, or both... so you're burning electricity either way, and the datacenter still remain on and running whether people stream movies or not.
    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    The generation of Electricity in its entirety contributes more carbon than our vehicle emissions.  Data centers are getting cleaner thanks to solar and hydroelectric. The first thing I do in every new home is replace low efficiency appliances and lighting. The wife and I are looking at Solar for our roof. 

    Our children have to clean up the trash the former generation leaves. I’m trying to keep that mess as small as possible 
    Then Apple is the sort of data center you should want more of. They’re powered 100% by renewable energy sources.

    https://www.apple.com/environment/
    watto_cobraMuntzrandominternetperson
  • Reply 18 of 51
    Restriction of 4K movie stream but not download comes from Hollywood and whoever produce and distribute 4K movies/contents, Not Apple.
    edited September 2017 watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 51
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,351member
    sflocal said:
    So we "sort of" get an upgrade to 4K.   Streaming only sounds nice but I've already exceeded my Comcast Terabyte cap like 4 times.  4K isn't going to make this cap any harder to hit.  

    Also it's not the most carbon friendly approach.   Content Distribution Networks are fueled by datacenters which are often "fueled" by energy sources that aren't so clean.  I'm a bit dismayed that a company that prides itself on not using non-recyclable materials is promoting a carbon unfriendly approach to video video disty. 

    I'm going to pick up a Nvidia Shield TV and see how that works along with a ATV 4K.   I'm feeling too constrained with streamers and this "Just stream everything" when my fastest network at home is my LAN. 

    So people buy the movie on DVD, and now that it's out on Blue-Ray, they magically expect the studios to give it to them for free?  There is nothing to read here.

    I'm not sure I buy the carbon footprint here... it's much less than the old days of stamping-out a billion DVD's on plastic, and VHS videotapes back in the day.  You're watching the 4K movie either on your TV, or computer, or both... so you're burning electricity either way, and the datacenter still remain on and running whether people stream movies or not.
    https://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/sources-greenhouse-gas-emissions

    The generation of Electricity in its entirety contributes more carbon than our vehicle emissions.  Data centers are getting cleaner thanks to solar and hydroelectric. The first thing I do in every new home is replace low efficiency appliances and lighting. The wife and I are looking at Solar for our roof. 

    Our children have to clean up the trash the former generation leaves. I’m trying to keep that mess as small as possible 
    Then Apple is the sort of data center you should want more of. They’re powered 100% by renewable energy sources.

    https://www.apple.com/environment/
    "Powered by" is a bit of a misnomer, at least as most general readers would understand it, just as it is when almost every other company claims it. In truth most of Apple's electricity originates from the same coal/oil/'nuclear power-plants that we all depend on. So what makes it possible to claim "powered 100% by renewable energy"? Trading in Green Energy Credits. If you read the fine print in Apple's Energy Reports you find it mentioned. (I've linked them before)

    Before you start, No I'm not of the belief Apple is being is being dishonest either, What you think "powered by" and what business means when they say it are two different definitions. You just have to read up to understand what it means.

    Apple absolutely deserves kudos for championing wind farms, solar and other renewable energy sources, they lead by example and with their own pocketbook. They are also far better than some of their other tech brethren in this regard (looking at you Amazon)...but heir North Carolina data center is one of the examples of where what is said is not what you're hearing. In truth their North Carolina power operations are powered by Duke Energy, a producer who depends primarily on coal and nuclear and that's what is sent to their Maidenhead center. Purchasing and/or trading in Green credits allow them to claim 100% renewable. 

    I don't know if you'll bother to read this Forbes link which explains it (and which I would agree upfront comes off as aggressively and unnecessarily harsh on Apple so you'll have to look past it) but it's here if you want to understand the difference between the claim and what you thought Apple was saying. 
    EDIT: I'm deleting that link to prevent a needless distraction from the thread topic. If you want to separate the wheat from the chaff to understand what an enterprise claiming to be using  "100% renewable" sources really means and how it's accomplished it will be easy enough to look for yourself.  
    edited September 2017 hmurchisonmuthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 20 of 51
    calicali Posts: 3,494member
    pujones1 said:
    Is this download restriction limited to 4K movies that were an upgrade or is this inclusive of 4k movies that we purchase as 4K? What about when I buy a physical 4K disc that comes with a 4k iTunes copy? Still no download option? Can you download 4K on Vudu or any other service or is this an industry wide restriction? 

    I routinely exceeded the Xfinity 1TB limit so now I'm paying the extra $50 for unlimited. 4K streaming shouldn't be a problem.

    I'm happy that the Apple TV 4K exceeded preorder expectations. I'm glad I ordered one from Best Buy. None of the stores in my area has them other than a few 32g models.
    You can't download 4K movies on Vudu either. When I try with the 4K movies I own, it only gives me the option of an HDX download. 
    Yeah I’m thinking no services allow this. Of course only Apple will get poo-poohed over it. 
    watto_cobra
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