Apple TV with 4K UHD, 10-bit HDR and Dolby Vision revealed by HomePod firmware

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited August 2017
Apple's own firmware for the upcoming HomePod speaker has proven to be the gift that keeps on giving for enthusiasts, this time revealing that a next-generation Apple TV will boast support for 4K video, as well as high dynamic range in both 10-bit and Dolby Vision formats.


Via developer Guilherme Rambo.


Developer Guilherme Rambo once again dove deep into the HomePod firmware to find reference to a "4kHDR" display mode. Digging even further, he found references to display modes for "HDR10" and "Dolby."

In addition, AppleInsider reader Marc Bach also pointed out on Twitter that HLG, also known as Hybrid Log-Gamma, is another supported HDR mode. The royalty-free HDR standard was developed by the BBC and NHK.

The references would seem to confirm that the next-generation Apple TV will not only include support for ultra-high-definition 4K content, but also three popular HDR modes for better contrast and colors.

The HomePod firmware leak comes just a few weeks after Apple also seemingly accidentally confirmed 4K and HDR plans on the iTunes Store. Users found that some new releases listed availability in 4K resolution and high dynamic range -- going well beyond the 1080p high-definition content that currently populates the iTunes Store.

Apple's planned support for 4K content on iTunes isn't a surprise, as films and other programs are now becoming available in UHD resolution to support new high-end 4K TVs. Netflix, for example, streams its new original series in 4K, and the Xbox One S is capable of reading 4K Blu-rays.




But the Apple TV remains lagging behind the competition in that respect, maxing out at 1080p resolution and not offering any HDR support. Hardware limitations within the current Apple TV with Siri Remote prevent it from supporting 4K resolutions with a software update, meaning a new set-top box is necessary.

Given the information found in the HomePod firmware, it would seem that a new 4K and HDR capable Apple TV is on tap for this fall. That falls in line with rumors from earlier this year, which claimed that a hardware refresh known as "J105" will support 4K and HDR, though not much else new is expected.

Apple does already have products in its lineup capable of displaying proper 4K content: the 21.5-inch iMac boasts a Retina 4K display, and the 27-inch iMac has a Retina 5K display.

Notably, Apple's recent iPhone models dating back to the iPhone 6s also shoot 4K resolution video. But that content has its quality reduced to 1080p when played back on an Apple TV.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    You guys are like those people who post spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, but you put the spoilers in the headline. To help fans enjoy the movie.  :/
    williamlondontmaySpamSandwichlolliver
  • Reply 2 of 50
    mazda 3smazda 3s Posts: 1,578member
    You guys are like those people who post spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, but you put the spoilers in the headline. To help fans enjoy the movie.  :/
    Did you forget the /sarcasm tag?  :D

    With that being said, besides the actual leak iPhone 4 lost/stolen prototype, this is the biggest internal leak from Apple in recent memory, correct? Wonder what must be going through Tim and the gang's head at this point? Wonder if they'll make a joke about it during the iPhone keynote like Jobs did during the iPhone 4 unveil.
    cornchipwatto_cobrarepressthislolliver
  • Reply 2 of 50
    HomePodLeaks part 2...
    watto_cobrarepressthis
  • Reply 4 of 50
    pujones1pujones1 Posts: 155member
    Oh happy days!!!

    I can't wait to replace all my fourth generation Apple TVs. I hope that it has both Dolby Vision and HDR10 options. At least it looks like it will from that code. 

    Thank you Home Pod!!! I'll buy you too my pretty!!
    Scot1cornchipwatto_cobraRacerhomieXrepressthislolliver
  • Reply 5 of 50
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    mazda 3s said:
    You guys are like those people who post spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, but you put the spoilers in the headline. To help fans enjoy the movie.  :/
    Did you forget the /sarcasm tag?  :D

    With that being said, besides the actual leak iPhone 4 lost/stolen prototype, this is the biggest internal leak from Apple in recent memory, correct? Wonder what must be going through Tim and the gang's head at this point? Wonder if they'll make a joke about it during the iPhone keynote like Jobs did during the iPhone 4 unveil.
    The crazy thing about the HomePod firmware is that software is the *one thing* Apple can successfully keep under wraps, because it's all done in house. Hardware is impossible to lock down, because the supply chain is massive and Apple doesn't control all of it. We usually know what a new iPhone is going to look like ahead of time thanks to supplier leaks, but we're never really sure what new software tricks it will have up its sleeve until the event day when Apple makes it public. That's what makes this leak so unprecedented.
    Solimazda 3stmaywatto_cobraRacerhomieXMacsplosionlolliver
  • Reply 6 of 50
    Lost in the story is Apple supporting the nascent hybrid log gamma (HLG) form of HDR which is likely going to be the broadcast standard in the next year or two.  Apple is covering all the major bases for HDR, which is great.
    Scot1SoundJudgmentcornchiptmaywatto_cobraDuncanABainesRacerhomieXrepressthis
  • Reply 7 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,382member
    mazda 3s said:
    With that being said, besides the actual leak iPhone 4 lost/stolen prototype, this is the biggest internal leak from Apple in recent memory, correct? Wonder what must be going through Tim and the gang's head at this point? Wonder if they'll make a joke about it during the iPhone keynote like Jobs did during the iPhone 4 unveil.
    I'd say this by far the biggest leak. The iPhone 4 did give us some information about the new HW and some blurry photos from Gizmodo that made the iPhone 4 look really unappealing. This is telling us about SW, unreleased HW, and upcoming features of the upcoming HW. Most of it either was already rumoured or expected, but this has confirmed Apple is at least far along with the development.

    PS: A lot of people like to say this is planned but what's the upside for Apple here? All this does is make it harder to "WOW!" us when they're finally ready to announce the demo the products.
    cornchiprepressthis
  • Reply 8 of 50
    The current AppleTV will be upgraded to 4K via a firmware update.
    RacerhomieX
  • Reply 9 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,382member
    The current AppleTV will be upgraded to 4K via a firmware update.
    How will 2160p and HDR be supported on its current HW?
    repressthis
  • Reply 10 of 50
     Soli said:
    The current AppleTV will be upgraded to 4K via a firmware update.
    How will 2160p and HDR be supported on its current HW?
    Easy. You CAN stream 4K UHD video from your iPhone to the current AppleTV on a good network.
    RacerhomieX
  • Reply 11 of 50
    Soli said:
    The current AppleTV will be upgraded to 4K via a firmware update.
    How will 2160p and HDR be supported on its current HW?
    To my understanding the proccesing is compatible, but the HDMI port is what's needed. They will release the new model soley for the advertising 4k, like they did with the 3rd generation for 1080p.

    Side note, doesn't USB C support display port? maybe the new Apple TV will use that to make it compatible with new monitors? They could also have it USB C powered, but that's less likely.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,824member
    nhughes said:
    mazda 3s said:
    You guys are like those people who post spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, but you put the spoilers in the headline. To help fans enjoy the movie.  :/
    Did you forget the /sarcasm tag?  :D

    With that being said, besides the actual leak iPhone 4 lost/stolen prototype, this is the biggest internal leak from Apple in recent memory, correct? Wonder what must be going through Tim and the gang's head at this point? Wonder if they'll make a joke about it during the iPhone keynote like Jobs did during the iPhone 4 unveil.
    The crazy thing about the HomePod firmware is that software is the *one thing* Apple can successfully keep under wraps, because it's all done in house. Hardware is impossible to lock down, because the supply chain is massive and Apple doesn't control all of it. We usually know what a new iPhone is going to look like ahead of time thanks to supplier leaks, but we're never really sure what new software tricks it will have up its sleeve until the event day when Apple makes it public. That's what makes this leak so unprecedented.
    So does this mean we will be able to create a home theater system out of homePods sans bass channel.  It would be a brilliant move by Apple.
    cornchip
  • Reply 13 of 50
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    Soli said:
    mazda 3s said:
    With that being said, besides the actual leak iPhone 4 lost/stolen prototype, this is the biggest internal leak from Apple in recent memory, correct? Wonder what must be going through Tim and the gang's head at this point? Wonder if they'll make a joke about it during the iPhone keynote like Jobs did during the iPhone 4 unveil.
    I'd say this by far the biggest leak. The iPhone 4 did give us some information about the new HW and some blurry photos from Gizmodo that made the iPhone 4 look really unappealing. This is telling us about SW, unreleased HW, and upcoming features of the upcoming HW. Most of it either was already rumoured or expected, but this has confirmed Apple is at least far along with the development.

    PS: A lot of people like to say this is planned but what's the upside for Apple here? All this does is make it harder to "WOW!" us when they're finally ready to announce the demo the products.
    It depends how much hype is generated... From seeing reaction to all of this, the hype train is ramping up nicely... This is at least putting brakes on anyone buying anything else from the competition, which is always a good thing. If people delay an Apple phone purchase because of this, it would not phase Apple too much (except shifting all revenue in the same quarter).

    If the leaked info was lukewarm, it would be a lot worse for Apple. This info, on the contrary is pretty exciting.
    repressthis
  • Reply 14 of 50
    Soli said:
    The current AppleTV will be upgraded to 4K via a firmware update.
    How will 2160p and HDR be supported on its current HW?
    To my understanding the proccesing is compatible, but the HDMI port is what's needed. They will release the new model soley for the advertising 4k, like they did with the 3rd generation for 1080p.


    I think if they do update the current generation Apple TV, it will be to show current SD and HD content in HEVC.  I don't think they'd update it to run 4K, let alone HDR, due to the HDMI Port if nothing else.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    jd_in_sbjd_in_sb Posts: 1,496member
    You guys are like those people who post spoilers for the next Star Wars movie, but you put the spoilers in the headline. To help fans enjoy the movie.  :/
    Apple Insider is a spoiler site hence the "insider" part of the name. Next you should visit Star Wars Insider and complain when they post Star Wars spoilers. 
    edited August 2017 mazda 3srepressthis
  • Reply 16 of 50
    wizard69wizard69 Posts: 12,902member
    Honestly guys the feature I most want to see in the next Apple TV is the ability to manage an external disk array.   It is the only way to deal with bandwidth limitations and the home videos, business flicks and other sources that don't stream well.    For many of us streaming isn't the answer, we need a local video repository.   It make sense to do this on Apple TV due to its low power nature.   

    All that being said I'm sitting here wondering if the new Apple TV will be tied into HomePod in some manner, maybe even a variant of HomePod.
    Soliwilliamlondonentropys
  • Reply 17 of 50
    bluefire1bluefire1 Posts: 923member
    Next generation Apple TV now added to my shopping list.


  • Reply 18 of 50
    bigmikebigmike Posts: 254member
    pshhhh... 4K... We need at least 8K. I want to see every damn nose hair on my screen. Then, and only then, will the shows be worth watching.
    command_f
  • Reply 19 of 50
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,382member
    wizard69 said:
    Honestly guys the feature I most want to see in the next Apple TV is the ability to manage an external disk array.   It is the only way to deal with bandwidth limitations and the home videos, business flicks and other sources that don't stream well.    For many of us streaming isn't the answer, we need a local video repository.   It make sense to do this on Apple TV due to its low power nature.   

    All that being said I'm sitting here wondering if the new Apple TV will be tied into HomePod in some manner, maybe even a variant of HomePod.
    That (or a NAS) would great. It would then be a very short leap to make it work as a bona fide digital hub for Time Machine backups, intelligent Apple pre-downloading and local device checking so that a home with several Macs aren't grabbing unique macOS updates from over the internet, and HomeKit management, among other features.

    That said, I'm not holding my breath because all this seems pretty simple to do and Apple has chosen not to go down that road this whole time.
    addisonStrangeDaysentropys
  • Reply 20 of 50
    sevenfeetsevenfeet Posts: 402member
    The HDMI port on the current Apple TV is supposidly HDMI 1.4.  HDR needs HDMI 2.0 since its required for the metadata in any HDR implementation.  As for 4K, you could do 4K on HDMI 1.4 but it would be limited to 24 fps.  That's not horrible since most movies are 24 fps anyway.  But I still think it's unlikely that the current Apple TV would get updated to support 4K, even limited.
    repressthis
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