iTunes issue downgrades 4K movies to HD resolution for some customers [u]

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited May 14
An issue with 4K-resolution movies offered on iTunes has started to surface on Twitter, with customers complaining 4K movies bought through the digital storefront are being downgraded in resolution to HD, with no obvious reason as to why the change is occurring.




The iTunes store has offered 4K and HDR content since 2017, coinciding with the launch of the Apple TV 4K, allowing customers to buy and rent movies from a variety of studios and stream them to the set-top box. Recently, some users have discovered that their 4K-resolution purchases aren't being provided to them at the resolution they paid for.

Posts to Twitter claim collections of movies bought via iTunes were previously showing the 4K logo, signifying their availability at the higher resolution. Now, some users are finding a quick check of their collection has removed the 4K logo from view, a sign that the offered content is no longer available at 4K, only at HD resolution.

Let me know what happens! I just checked iTunes on my Mac as well and the 4K logo has been removed from the complete collection! Like what the heck! Fix this! ASAP!

-- AnthonyPettenon (@AnthonyPettenon)


One customer, Greg Paige, attempted to clarify the situation by Apple's support teams, but had unsatisfactory responses ranging from it being "modified by the content provider" to being dismissed as only supporting up to HD in the first place, despite previously being bought in 4K.

According to a post on the Blu-ray forum, some of the affected movies include "Batman vs. Superman," "Hitch," "Matrix Reloaded" and "Matrix Revolutions" but not the original, "X-Men: Days of Future Past," and the entire "Harry Potter" franchise.

It is ultimately unclear exactly why the change is happening, but it appears to be more an issue with Apple's systems rather than one caused by a particular studio. The variety of movies allegedly affected by the issue suggests it is more a general problem with Apple itself, as it is unlikely multiple studios pulled 4K content simultaneously.

AppleInsider has contacted Apple about the situation, and will update this post if there is a response.

Update: The issue appears to be resolved, as 4K versions of impacted movies are returning to customer accounts.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    Interesting, I checked 3 of the movies listed that I have also purchased and they still show as 4K via the TV app on my iPad.

    I wonder if the movies are being delivered in HD or if it’s just the label that’s missing.
    edited May 14
  • Reply 2 of 11
    tyler82tyler82 Posts: 833member
    The humanity
    kruegdudekudu
  • Reply 3 of 11
    Are the 4K to HD downgraded movies stored in iCloud? If stored in iCloud Apple is contractually bound to make changes to content demanded by content owners. This includes deleting content.

    On another note, I remember reading Apple’s 4K encryption might have been broken and movies are being uploaded to pirate sites. If the downgrades are occurring for the broken encryption then I’m guessing the 4K movies will return with new encryption. Of course silence isn’t the greatest way to support customers. 
  • Reply 4 of 11
    chadbagchadbag Posts: 1,080member
    Was someone able to file a class action suit before it got fixed?   /s
    Carnage
  • Reply 5 of 11
    Johan42Johan42 Posts: 155member
    chadbag said:
    Was someone able to file a class action suit before it got fixed?   /s
    Hopefully
  • Reply 6 of 11
    davendaven Posts: 514member
    chadbag said:
    Was someone able to file a class action suit before it got fixed?   /s
    Hopefully not
  • Reply 7 of 11
    arlorarlor Posts: 495member
    This happens to me on Netflix all the time, and often won't correct itself unless I refresh my browser.
  • Reply 8 of 11
    Apple opened up a ticket for the development team on iTunes for me regarding this issue.  Seems ALL of my 4K titles in my library are showing up AND downloading as HD, even after support had me delete and retry the download.  Support even removed all rights to the movie on the store for my account and then re-added the rights with the same results.  I also informed them that this was happening to both my work and home MacBook Pro's with Retina displays.  My IOS based devices are showing and playing 4K correctly.  I noticed this AFTER the latest MacOS update to version 10.14.5.

    So the problem hasn't been quite fixed......
    edited May 15
  • Reply 9 of 11
    Apple opened up a ticket for the development team on iTunes for me regarding this issue.  Seems ALL of my 4K titles in my library are showing up AND downloading as HD, even after support had me delete and retry the download.  Support even removed all rights to the movie on the store for my account and then re-added the rights with the same results.  I also informed them that this was happening to both my work and home MacBook Pro's with Retina displays.  My IOS based devices are showing and playing 4K correctly.  I noticed this AFTER the latest MacOS update to version 10.14.5.

    So the problem hasn't been quite fixed......
    You can’t download movies in 4K, only stream. Movies will only download in HD. That’s how it has worked since they announced 4K movies on iTunes.

    From iTunes:

     
    edited May 15
  • Reply 10 of 11
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,425administrator
    Apple opened up a ticket for the development team on iTunes for me regarding this issue.  Seems ALL of my 4K titles in my library are showing up AND downloading as HD, even after support had me delete and retry the download.  Support even removed all rights to the movie on the store for my account and then re-added the rights with the same results.  I also informed them that this was happening to both my work and home MacBook Pro's with Retina displays.  My IOS based devices are showing and playing 4K correctly.  I noticed this AFTER the latest MacOS update to version 10.14.5.

    So the problem hasn't been quite fixed......
    You can’t download movies in 4K, only stream. Movies will only download in HD. That’s how it has worked since they announced 4K movies on iTunes.

    From iTunes:

     
    Can confirm this. iTunes has never had the ability to download or play 4k content purchased from iTunes -- it will instead give you the 1080p version.

    Properly encoded iTunes can play 4K, but it can't download from Apple.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    kudukudu Posts: 34member
    tyler82 said:
    The humanity
    Lol! You’re so right. I just wanted to politely add the complete quote: “Oh, the humanity!”
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