Apple Explored 4K Video Distribution in 2013

Apple requested 4K video content from Sony Pictures for the purpose of digital distribution and on-demand streaming testing, according to a new document [PDF] released by WikiLeaks from the Sony data breach (via AppleInsider).

appletv
The document is a materials access letter from Culver Digital Distribution Inc, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to Apple. It served as a formal agreement between the two companies for the "testing and / or preparing" of 4K content from Sony movies and TV shows. The letter is dated September 26, 2013, hinting that Apple has been exploring distributing 4K content for the past two years.

The Cupertino company has been rumored to be working 4K in the past, most notably in 2013 when two reports suggested Apple was working on a 4K TV set. Those plans were eventually nixed and reports emerged of a brand new set-top box Apple TV with an A8 chip alongside a TV streaming service. Speculation suggested the new Apple TV's rumored A8 chip, which is capable of playing 4K content, would result in a 4K-capable Apple TV and streaming service. However, a report earlier this year confirmed that a new Apple TV would not support 4K content.

While 4K, also known as Ultra HD, has seen an increased amount of popularity recently with more affordable 4K TV sets from manufacturers and some availability of 4K content on streaming services like Netflix, the format is not yet ubiquitous.

Tag: 4K

Top Rated Comments

HobeSoundDarryl Avatar
83 months ago
I don't really understand the hype around 4k... The difference in resolution (HD vs 4K) is not noticed from a distance... And streaming will not have full resolution and frame rate anyways!
Very same thing said when :apple:TV was limited to 720p and some of us wanted it to go 1080p. Funny how before Apple embraces something it doesn't make much sense... but after they move, it makes great sense (go back and look at 1080p wish threads when 720p was Apple's max, or bigger screen phone threads, or NFC, or even front-facing "iSight" cameras when iPad 1 was launched, etc).

Why bother with a 5K iMac since we sit the same distance from the non-5K iMac screen? Why bother with retina-screens at all when we look at them from the same distance as non-retina screens?

4K is the next big thing in screens. If it can't make sense to us today, it shouldn't make sense when Apple embraces it either. BUT, like bigger screen phones or 1080p or 5K iMac or NFC or Retina screens on anything or FaceTime cameras on iPads, our collective sentiment will "evolve with the times" as soon as Apple decides to go there.

That said, I'm much encouraged by this rumor. The hardware must lead; it never makes sense for the software to come first. Personally, I don't really care if there is ever 4K content in the iTunes store; 4K playback means sharper pictures on 4K screens, our own 4K content shot on 4K camcorders will play back that much sharper, and so on. Eventually a Studio would be tempted to test 4K movie profitability; it they make a profit, they'll do more. And competition will want to compete.

There's no downside. The "1080p is good enough" (or the "no one will be able to see a difference") crowd could still enjoy their 1080p to the fullest, as better hardware can always player lighter software to it's MAX. Even the "720p is good enough" crowd could still enjoy their 720p video to it's fullest too... just like older software written for Macs several years ago will run just fine on brand new Mac hardware just made. My current :apple:TV plays my choice of 1080p, 720p or even SD video. Should a 4K option come along, I'd expect it to simply be one more option (not forcing anyone to buy a 4K TV if they are happy with whatever TV they have now).
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
F4C4 Avatar
83 months ago
I don't really understand the hype around 4k... The difference in resolution (HD vs 4K) is not noticed from a distance... And streaming will not have full resolution and frame rate anyways!

3D, 4K and curved screens are desperate attempts to make people upgrade their TVs...

Keep your HD TV or buy a bigger screen instead!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
yadmonkey Avatar
83 months ago
4K TVs are so tantalizingly cheap, but where are the damn sources?!

If the next Apple TV supports 4K I'll finally have a reason to make the jump.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Andres Cantu Avatar
83 months ago
It seems probable that the Apple TV 4th generation will have 4K. The A8 chip can play it, the name matches nicely, and now this! Plus, they've released new Apple TVs when the iPhones get video recording upgrades (720p with the A4 and 1080p with the A5). Maybe now 4K with the A8?
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WestonHarvey1 Avatar
83 months ago
Very same thing said when :apple:TV was limited to 720p and some of us wanted it to go 1080p. Funny how before Apple embraces something it doesn't make much sense... but after they move, it makes great sense (go back and look at 1080p wish threads when 720p was Apple's max, or bigger screen phone threads, or NFC, or even front-facing "iSight" cameras when iPad 1 was launched, etc).
No. 4K is literally something you cannot see at the distances people ordinarily sit from a 50-80 inch television. Apple can't make you see it just because they are Apple.


Why bother with a 5K iMac since we sit the same distance from the non-5K iMac screen? Why bother with retina-screens at all when we look at them from the same distance as non-retina screens?
Because you can tell the difference at the distances you use a computer or smartphone. It's a huge difference.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Thunderhawks Avatar
83 months ago
Until this format is widely adopted maybe a 401K is better than 4K?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
os x mountain lion macs 16x9 2

Apple Makes OS X Lion and Mountain Lion Free to Download

Wednesday June 30, 2021 12:19 pm PDT by
Apple recently dropped the $19.99 fee for OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, making the older Mac updates free to download, reports Macworld. Apple has kept OS X 10.7 Lion and OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion available for customers who have machines limited to the older software, but until recently, Apple was charging $19.99 to get download codes for the updates. As of last week, these updates no...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
General Apps Messages

Android iMessage Competitor Puts Pressure on Apple

Friday July 30, 2021 3:15 am PDT by
Google and the three major U.S. carriers, including Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile, will all support a new communications protocol on Android smartphones starting in 2022, a move that puts pressure on Apple to adopt a new cross-platform messaging standard and may present a challenge to iMessage. Verizon recently announced that it is planning to adopt Messages by Google as its default messaging...
bluetti eb70 main

MacRumors Giveaway: Win a Bluetti EB70 Portable Power Station and 200W Solar Panel

Friday September 3, 2021 11:13 am PDT by
For this week's giveaway, we've teamed up with MAXOAK to offer MacRumors readers a chance to win a Bluetti portable power station and an accompanying solar panel. Bluetti makes a range of portable power station options that are useful for camping, emergencies, power outages, off-grid living, and similar situations. The Bluetti EB70 is a solid middle of the road option that offers 716Wh and...
personal hotspot 1

Apple Acknowledges Personal Hotspot Issues Affecting Some iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 Users

Saturday March 21, 2020 10:04 am PDT by
In an internal document distributed to Apple Authorized Service Providers this week, obtained by MacRumors, Apple has acknowledged that some iOS 13 or iPadOS 13 users may experience issues with Personal Hotspot. Apple has told Authorized Service Providers to expect customers who are unable to connect to a Personal Hotspot or experience frequent disconnection from one. Customers may also...
iphone 13 teal with text

Apple Begins Preparation for iPhone 13 Production Ahead of Fall Launch

Monday June 28, 2021 3:29 am PDT by
We're just a few months away from when Apple is expected to reveal the 2021 iPhone, dubbed the "iPhone 13." In preparation for its launch, it has been pulling in shipments of different components needed to produce the new iPhones, according to a report from DigiTimes. In years past, Apple released its latest iPhone lineup, alongside a new Apple Watch, during a September event at Apple Park....
General Spotify Feature

Spotify Partners With Delta to Provide Free In-Flight Music and Podcasts Service

Thursday September 2, 2021 12:59 am PDT by
Spotify has announced a new partnership with Delta that will see the streaming service take over the "audio" section of Delta's in-flight seatback entertainment, making select playlists and podcasts freely available to all passengers. You are now free to roam about the cabin—and get the music and podcasts you love at 30,000 feet. Beginning today, we're taking off in a new partnership with...