Apple reveals 4K and HDR plans in iTunes, hinting revamped Apple TV may arrive soon

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  • Reply 81 of 94
    palegolaspalegolas Posts: 1,361member
    I've always thought Apple has been waiting for hevc/ h.265 to mature before launching 4k content. Perhaps this is now actually the case? Like when High Sierra launches, and h.265 is rolling out, we might see Apple using the increased efficiency to deliver 4k not much bigger than the current HD file size.
  • Reply 82 of 94
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    lkrupp said:
    Can we settle an ongoing argument about 4K streaming? How much bandwidth is recommended for reliable 4K streaming? I have seen figures of around 20mbps. Now what is the average bandwidth available in the U.S. right now? I myself have a 12mbps DSL line so I am assuming 4K streaming would be useless to me, especially if other devices were consuming bandwidth online at the same time. And while we're at it my DSL line is 1mbps upstream. Using an online bandwidth calculator I figured it would take 120 hours to upload 50GB of my Photos library. This makes cloud computing a non-starter for me and I assume millions of others.
    This is a good point. IMO, this trend is more of a 'cart driving the horse' thing. TV makers went 4k to have something new to sell. So, people are buying 4k TV and then going... oh, there's no 4k content. So, now people producing content are being forced to start *attempting* to distribute 4k content.

    But, our distribution networks can't really handle that, so my guess is that you're going to get nastily compressed 4k. I wonder if it will ultimately be better than lesser compressed 1080p? It might turn out that it doesn't use that much more bandwidth, if they crunch it enough... but then what's the point? Selling more TVs. :)

    Yea, the upstream numbers for a lot of people make true cloud use rather prohibitive. But, if we're talking watching 4k content, then it's downstream that matters. And, as others said, if there were some actual competition, a lot more people would probably have better service. We've finally made the jump to 100mbps+ down and ~5mbps up, which is starting to get usable for cloud purposes. But, I'd rather have the bi-directional 50mbps the telcos cut deals with the Clinton admin (in trade for $billions in tax relief) how many years ago? Yep, haven't seen any of that around except in areas Google Fibre services.
  • Reply 83 of 94
    gregalexandergregalexander Posts: 1,400member
    palegolas said:
    I've always thought Apple has been waiting for hevc/ h.265 to mature before launching 4k content. Perhaps this is now actually the case? Like when High Sierra launches, and h.265 is rolling out, we might see Apple using the increased efficiency to deliver 4k not much bigger than the current HD file size.
    Yes the claim was that with HEVC you could move to 4K and only double the bandwidth. So that would be 10-12Mbps for the same quality as current 1080p on Apple.

    On a negative note, I'm not sure how well that held... plus h264 compression has improved too (so double h264 from 2012 is different to double h264 from 2017).

    On a positive note, Apple can use adaptive rates better than streaming services can, inserting a minute at 20Mbps where necessary and use 8Mbps where movement is minimal. 

    Personally.. I'd like Apple to send 1080p content to my AppleTV 4 using HEVC, for starters :)
  • Reply 84 of 94
    Could anyone with a 4th gen Apple TV (or access to one without having to drive an hour) tell me if you can set timed access on it? It’s absolutely mystifying to me why every single other Apple product can be set to automatically shut off at (or after) a given time, but not the Apple TV. That’d be my only reason to get one, and I’d get one immediately if it was the case.
    Well, this isn't quite so elegant, but you can most likely set timed access based on MAC address thru your router. 
    You would do his on your router (brand specific instructions - look for time access control) and look on your AppleTV for it's unique MAC address (usually 4 pairs of hex numbers separated by colons) - this could then be set to only allow use between certain hours, and/or certain days of the week. 
    As separately mentioned, there's also an auto off timer for sleep, but that's not an access control thing. 
    This timed access can be set for any MAC addresses, so if you have a smart TV you wish to prevent access to the internet on certain times, then that's possible too. 
    chia
  • Reply 85 of 94
    Hopefully the new model will have a decent DAC and bring back the optical output.
  • Reply 86 of 94
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    Hopefully the new model will have a decent DAC and bring back the optical output.
    Even without any inside knowledge I can tell you that optical audio is not coming back.
  • Reply 87 of 94
    lkrupp said:
    Can we settle an ongoing argument about 4K streaming? How much bandwidth is recommended for reliable 4K streaming? I have seen figures of around 20mbps. Now what is the average bandwidth available in the U.S. right now? I myself have a 12mbps DSL line so I am assuming 4K streaming would be useless to me
    OMG!! Get off of antiquated DSL the minute you can!
    edited August 2017 singularity
  • Reply 88 of 94
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,388member
    OMG!! Get off of antiquated DSL the minute you can!
    What do you propose we do? No one is building out any fiber anymore (because they aren’t being forced to by anyone) and the price of it isn’t coming down, and the ISPs all have local monopolies so that you can only get service from one of them depending on where in your city you live. Cable shares bandwidth with neighbors; I can’t abide that idea.
  • Reply 89 of 94
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    OMG!! Get off of antiquated DSL the minute you can!
    What do you propose we do? No one is building out any fiber anymore (because they aren’t being forced to by anyone) and the price of it isn’t coming down, and the ISPs all have local monopolies so that you can only get service from one of them depending on where in your city you live. Cable shares bandwidth with neighbors; I can’t abide that idea.
    Move? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 
  • Reply 90 of 94
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,952member
    tallest skil said:
    Cable shares bandwidth with neighbors; I can’t abide that idea.
    Yea, I don't like the concept so much either. But, in reality, I've found cable to work *much* better in the last few places we've lived. I think DSL is pushing the tech a bit too much, where as cable has tons of headroom, they just have to open the spigot a bit for you (which they keep clamped down good to keep prices up).

    But, yea, it sure would be great if we got some of the speeds and infrastructure they promised back during the Clinton (Bill) years. (cue up 'Take the money and run')
  • Reply 91 of 94
    I have a few "concerns" about the forthcoming adoption of HEVC.  Firstly, while I agree with most everybody here that it's pretty obvious that iTunes 4K content would be in HEVC, what about current content that's in SD or HD?  

    Secondly, in regards to the 4K offerings themselves, which devices will "get it"?  Will it be restricted to current "Kaby Lake" CPUs, due to some DRM issue, or will it apply to older CPUs as well, like "Skylake".  I know "Skylake", based on current UHD Blu-ray requirements, wouldn't support HDR, but what about 4K iTunes itself.  

    Finally, we see Disney releasing UHD Blu-rays now, with Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 being the first, however, I can't seem to find anything relating to 4K digital copies.  While it's almost impossible to look in iTunes currently, I have looked in Vudu and Google Play, among others, and can't find any listing for a 4K digital copy version.  While the Blu-ray doesn't come out until Aug. 22, the digital release is this Tuesday.  

    Another concern relating to the "availability" of 4K iTunes is will it be "restricted" to Apple Devices, or will Windows PCs be able to buy and view them as well.

    I'm not expecting anybody here to have the answers at present, I just wanted to mention them for discussion purposes and to "get them out there" as it were.
  • Reply 92 of 94
    SoliSoli Posts: 10,035member
    I have a few "concerns" about the forthcoming adoption of HEVC.  Firstly, while I agree with most everybody here that it's pretty obvious that iTunes 4K content would be in HEVC, what about current content that's in SD or HD? 
    We'll just have to wait to find out which model works best for Apple. My guess is that if they still keep SD as an option they may not even bother with re-encoding for HEVC if they find that those still buying SD also overwhelming still use old Apple tech that can't reasonable support the HEVC codec anyway. If they keep SD I wonder if 720p might be kicked out so they can keep the Good-Better-Best model over Good-Better-Betterer-Best.

    Secondly, in regards to the 4K offerings themselves, which devices will "get it"?  Will it be restricted to current "Kaby Lake" CPUs, due to some DRM issue, or will it apply to older CPUs as well, like "Skylake".  I know "Skylake", based on current UHD Blu-ray requirements, wouldn't support HDR, but what about 4K iTunes itself.  
    We still have to see if they have limitations will be allowed to get HEVC. We know that even the 2015 iMacs—pre Kaby Lake—offered HW acceleration for HEVC and it's possible they've been planning for this with a discreet chip. I think this comes down to testing to see how efficient it is for playback. Getting HEVC is great for reducing the size of the download and storage but if the codec will cause the fans to spin up on a 2015 MBP and battery life that's a kin to playing a DVD movie on a 2006 MBP then it becomes something you may want to limit as an option or input some additional warnings or settings so the user has some idea what's going on. Regardless, it's something that will resolve itself with time.

    We know that the iPhone was HEVC for several years now within a very narrow usage for relatively low-res FaceTime when both devices are on Cellular and iPhone 6 or better. 

    Finally, we see Disney releasing UHD Blu-rays now, with Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 being the first, however, I can't seem to find anything relating to 4K digital copies.  While it's almost impossible to look in iTunes currently, I have looked in Vudu and Google Play, among others, and can't find any listing for a 4K digital copy version.  While the Blu-ray doesn't come out until Aug. 22, the digital release is this Tuesday.  
    This mostly comes down to licensing. There's plenty of 4K+HDR content out there and there will be more every day. Since GoTG is Marvel which is Disney I wouldn't be surprised if we see this hit iTunes Store as a big 2160p/HEVC paid-for demonstration once we see the Apple TV, iTunes, and the iTunes Store all updated to support HEVC.

    Another concern relating to the "availability" of 4K iTunes is will it be "restricted" to Apple Devices, or will Windows PCs be able to buy and view them as well.
    How common is it to have HEVC support built into their WinPCs? I could see Apple just making a blanket "not with iTunes on Windows rule for the time being when purchases, but syncing an iDevice or streaming to an Apple TV may be common enough that it's not a good limitation to have.

    I'm not expecting anybody here to have the answers at present, I just wanted to mention them for discussion purposes and to "get them out there" as it were.

    What I'm most curious about is whether Apple will offer a conversion tool like they did for music codecs in iTunes. Any conversation will take an ungodly amount time, but I wouldn't mind just letting it crank through all my stuff—including videos in Photos—to help reduce file sizes. I'm guessing this will have to come from a 3rd-party. Now, one might say that Handbrake can already convert to HEVC, but I'm talking about a convert in place solution that will systematically make an HEVC copy, copy and paste the metadata and file name from the original file, and then leave it in place without the Photos or iTunes app even hiccuping.

    PS: As of the current High Sierra beta iTunes will play the audio from HEVC encoded videos while showing a black window. I'm wondering if this won't even be possible until the whole shebang gets the overhaul to HEVC.

  • Reply 93 of 94
    Soli said:
    We'll just have to wait to find out which model works best for Apple. My guess is that if they still keep SD as an option they may not even bother with re-encoding for HEVC if they find that those still buying SD also overwhelming still use old Apple tech that can't reasonable support the HEVC codec anyway. If they keep SD I wonder if 720p might be kicked out so they can keep the Good-Better-Best model over Good-Better-Betterer-Best.

    How common is it to have HEVC support built into their WinPCs? I could see Apple just making a blanket "not with iTunes on Windows rule for the time being when purchases, but syncing an iDevice or streaming to an Apple TV may be common enough that it's not a good limitation to have.


    In relation to SD content, you would generally have 2-3 "groups" who buy it.  First, are those you mentioned who are on older hardware.  Then you have the content that simply isn't available in HD.  While I haven't looked lately, the Highlander TV Series was one, and Babylon 5 is currently another.  Thirdly, you have some people, like myself, who when buying seasons, can't afford at present to buy the whole thing, so to stretch the gift card further and drop the whole season price down, I buy individual episodes in SD even though I'm planning on buying the whole season in HD.  That being said, I do think iTunes might drop 720P, Vudu has already done that/is in the process of doing so and now offers SD, Full HD, and UHD.

    As for Windows PCs supporting HEVC, Windows 10 included support for HEVC from the initial release of the operating system, Skylake chips have supported it, and newer CPUs, (from "Kaby Lake" forward for Intel unknown for AMD) will only run on Windows 10, not previous versions of Windows.  Windows Vista is also "out of service".  It's only Windows 7 & 8 that could have problems.  That being said, it's my understanding the HEVC was designed to have greatly improved software decoding capabilities.  So, while they would need some kind of driver codec, maybe from iTunes itself, they might be able to run it, or at least SD and HD in HEVC.  Or, Apple might simply just not support 4K on Windows 7 & 8 or any CPU prior to "Skylake" at all.  Just like they're likely to restrict HDR content to "Kaby Lake" CPUs and forward.
    edited August 2017 Soli
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