4K iTunes Content Limited to Streaming Only, No Downloads

Discussion in 'MacRumors.com News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 21, 2017.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple has updated its iTunes Store on iOS devices and the Apple TV with plenty of 4K movies ahead of the launch of the Apple TV 4K, but as made clear in a recent support document, 4K content from Apple can be streamed, but not downloaded directly on a device.

    According to Apple, customers can download a local copy of an HD movie, and on occasion, HD movies that support HDR and Dolby Vision, but 4K movies are not available for download and thus can't be watched without an internet connection.
    That means customers who have had their previously-purchased iTunes movies upgraded from HD to 4K at no cost can stream those movies in 4K, but can only download HD versions. Newly purchased content is also restricted from download.


    It's not clear why Apple is not allowing customers to download 4K content onto their devices, but it could potentially be a licensing issue. Apple is providing 4K content at the same price as HD content, though movie studios were rumored to want to charge more. It's also possible it's a local storage issue, as 4K movies have large file sizes.

    To stream 4K content to the new Apple TV 4K, Apple recommends a minimum speed of 25Mb/s, according to the support document. If an internet connection isn't fast enough, Apple will downscale the video quality.

    In addition to the download restriction, one other major negative surfaced today -- the 4K Apple TV does not support 4K content from YouTube at this time. YouTube streams its 4K content using a VP9 video format, a codec the Apple TV does not support. The 4K Apple TV is limited to H.264, HEVC (H.265), and MP4.

    Netflix and 4K content from other streaming services is supported, however, and Apple has promised 4K content from Amazon Prime Video will be available when the app launches later this year.

    The first Apple TV 4K orders will begin arriving to customers on Friday, September 22, the official launch date of the device.

    Article Link: 4K iTunes Content Limited to Streaming Only, No Downloads
  2. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    Gainesville, Fl
    Now what? I’m hoping this will be changed soon.
  3. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    That's a shame; not everyone has a fast enough connection to stream 4K reliably. Being able to download the movie and then watch it later would have been useful.
  4. supremedesigner macrumors 6502a


    Dec 9, 2005
    Gainesville, Fl
  5. AronDraws macrumors regular


    Oct 6, 2014
    Burbank, CA
    Good to know-- our internet is crap after 6PM (Huzzah Charter Spectrum!) so we would have to download movies to watch. Knowing we can't, I'll hold off on picking one of these up. Thanks for the heads up!
  6. fitshaced macrumors 68000


    Jul 2, 2011
    Apple seem to go out of their way to not deliver the obvious solution that people want. If it's 4k let it be 4k without silly restrictions.
  7. joshen macrumors regular


    May 27, 2015
    Bummer, I was hoping it would stay the same for convenience. I suppose they did it to discourage piracy. Always liked iTunes for movies and tv since its the only provider that offers downloads and not just streaming for purchases.
  8. brock2621 macrumors 6502a


    Jun 8, 2007
    I'm sure this was a licensing issue. There's probably some clause in the studio contract that restricts full copies of their movies from being completely downloaded and streamed unlimited. They "lose track" of things when that happens and studios don't like not knowing as much as possible about where their products are. I'm happy if that was what finally got the studios to agree to not charging $10 more per movie
  9. Aussi3 macrumors 6502


    Jun 3, 2012
    Facesticks on the App store
    Wouldn’t this be because the file size? I could imagine a good couple of 4K movies and you would be out of space?
  10. Rogifan macrumors P6


    Nov 14, 2011
    How long would it take to download a 4K movie on a slow connection?
  11. Palmy_Jon macrumors newbie

    Mar 2, 2017
    Fekking awesome! I have a 20Meg connection!

    I thought I was lucky having just received my 4K Apple TV this morning as I live in NZ. If I had know this when I ordered, I wouldn't have!

    I did wonder why Wonder Woman looked so crappy when I tried it out this morning! My TV has Netflix 4K and that looks fantastic so why can't Apple manage it?

    Back to plan B and get an UHD player.

    I'm not a happy bunny this morning....
  12. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    More like the content providers as I am confident it is their decision - after all, they wanted to charge more and Apple convinced almost all of them not to do so - hardly the actions of a company that "goes out of their way to not deliver".

    H.265 is a more effective CODEC at reducing file size than the H.264 used for current HD content so capacity should not be a major concern.
  13. farewelwilliams, Sep 21, 2017
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2017

    farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2014
    it's likely a storage issue. sure they could probably include a 128gb flash on the apple tv, but that would hold what? 1 or 2 4k movies? at what cost? extra $50-$100 to shell out?

    sure you could probably download to your imac then somehow airplay the 4k hdr to your apple tv, but the whole point of a set top box (and what Apple learned from the first version of Apple TV) is to not need a computer to watch movies.

    if your internet can't handle it, you're probably not ready for 4k. this is the exact reason why Apple TV 4k took a while to come out. It's not that Apple couldn't figure out how to make a 4k device, but rather they were waiting until the tech was ripe enough to release a 4k streaming device.
  14. zorinlynx macrumors 601


    May 31, 2007
    Florida, USA
    If they're so concerned about piracy, this is a silly way to try to stop it because if the data is being streamed, it can be intercepted, period.

    I hate DRM, but still I admit that FairPlay lives up to its name, as being one of the more "fair" systems out there. Once you have your content you can watch it as much as you want, without needing the network or permission from the rights holder. I suspect the studios think FairPlay is *too* fair and don't want 4K video to be available with it.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2017 ---
    No, you download movies to your computer with iTunes, and they stream to your Apple TV from there.

    This is how people with crap Internet the world over consume iTunes video content.
  15. Rigby macrumors 601

    Aug 5, 2008
    San Jose, CA
    Assuming Apple uses similar bitrates as other UHD streaming providers like Netflix, file sizes should be approximately 3 times that of iTunes HD movies, i.e. around 15GB for a 2-hour movie. Big, but not enormous in an age where you can buy drives with several TB for $100.
  16. mabhatter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 3, 2009
    The iPhone 6-8 plus are 1080 HD displays, what's the point? They only output HD.
    The iPhone X is much higher, but not 4K higher. I believe the specs say it outputs video at HD also. (Airplay and Wired)
  17. dwman macrumors 6502


    Nov 15, 2007
    San Francisco
    This clearly seems like it was done to appease the studios so that 4K content couldn't be downloaded and torrented all over the web.
  18. m4mario macrumors member


    May 10, 2017
    San Francisco Bay Area
    This is something that every customer should know before they purchase the product. This is a make or break issue. For me it totally breaks it. No Apple TV 4K for me.
  19. dylanwho macrumors newbie


    May 1, 2015
    Everyone upgraded their ISP packages to download HD content, but not having enough for 4x's resolution before encoding IS A BRIDGE TOO FAR. Watch YouTube on your UHD's native crAPP.
  20. nuckinfutz macrumors 603


    Jul 3, 2002
    Middle Earth

    I will be torrenting like crazy. Never going to accept limitations like this.
  21. farewelwilliams macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2014
    takes up way too much space.
    if your internet can't handle streaming, you're not ready for 4k hdr. which is the majority of the population

    which is why 4k Apple TV took so long to come out. not that they couldn't do it, but they were waiting for enough of the population to upgrade to make it worth updating to 4k hdr.
  22. adamjackson macrumors 65816

    Jul 9, 2008
    Welp...oh well. More of a reason why I've never bought any movies on iTunes. I rent a lot of movies but I'd prefer to spend $20 every 6 years and re-buy my favorite movies on a physical format in the resolution I want w/o any artifacts from heavy compression than lease movies I technically own from a service that likely won't exist 20 years from now.
    --- Post Merged, Sep 21, 2017 ---
    Yep and you can't blame Apple here. They don't own any of this content. A lot of people gave Apple praise last week for upgrading all of the 1080P films to 4K. Apple didn't have any part in this. They begged movie studios for this and the studios agreed but with a few conditions, this being one of them.

    The people that own the rights to media continue to shoot themselves in the foot when people want to give them money.
  23. Hustler1337 macrumors 68000


    Dec 23, 2010
    London, UK
    I'm guessing it's down to storage and user experience management. A 4K movie can easily reach around 35GB+ so will eat up around half the space already of a 64GB Apple TV.
  24. daviddth macrumors 6502a


    Jun 29, 2009
    Well guess who won’t upgrade then. 4Mb connection here won’t cut it :(

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