4K titles on iTunes can only be streamed, not downloaded

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Broaden / The fourth-generation Apple TV.
Andrew Cunningham

Apple announced the arrival of uncountable 4K content to iTunes when it introduced the new Apple TV 4K last week. Yet, those who purchase the new set-top box will be limited in how they can enjoy 4K tags. According to an Apple support document, 4K content from iTunes can alone be streamed, not downloaded directly to a device.

“You can download a local copy of an HD silver screen, and you might be able to download HDR and Dolby Vision versions, but you can’t download a 4K view,” the support document states.

It appears the only guarantee customers get is downloading an HD copy of purchased movies to their devices. Apple also stated last week that it will upgrade customers’ previous acquires to 4K free of charge. But, judging by this support document, you won’t be able to download the 4K variant of the titles you already purchased—only the HD versions.

While the support chronicle doesn’t offer an explanation for this restriction, it’s likely due to local storage places, as 4K movies come in at around 100GB. The new Apple TV 4K comes in 32GB and 64GB storage configurations. While those potentials should be fine for downloading games, apps, and a couple of HD titles, there’s little leeway for an entire 4K film. Apple is selling 4K content on iTunes at the same sacrifice as HD content, so it’s also possible that the company made deals with motion picture studios that included a restriction on 4K downloads.

In addition to iTunes, the Apple TV 4K confirms 4K streaming from Netflix and other streaming services. Later this year, Apple lay outs to include Amazon Prime Video on its set-top box, and it will support 4K delighted from that service as well. However, it doesn’t currently bankroll 4K video from YouTube. The Apple TV 4K only supports H.264, HEVC (H.265), and MP4 video formats for surge and 4K videos on YouTube are streamed in the VP9 format, which isn’t supported by the new device.

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