Report: The Next Apple TV Won’t Allow For 4K Video Streaming

Just because something is new, doesn’t necessarily always mean it’ll have the newest technology — perhaps because it’s because that technology still needs to prove itself or there’s really not a need for it yet. That appears to be the reason behind Apple’s reported decision not to have its new Apple TV support 4K streaming video.

A report from BuzzFeed News cites “sources in position to know” who say the first overhaul of Apple’s TV in three years isn’t going to usher in the era of 4K with its set top box.

Also known as ultra HD, a 4K TV boasts 3,840 x 2,160 pixels or roughly 8 million pixels. That’s almost four times the number in a regular high-definition TV set, at 1,920 x 1,080.

“4K is great, but it’s still in its infancy,” one source told Buzzfeed.

That, and there isn’t a boatload of content around to watch, despite a smattering of offerings from Netflix and Amazon. Not enough people have 4K TVs to merit a boost in programming, either. That’s because it’s expensive to deliver all that video, and takes a lot of bandwidth, among other things. You’d have to have speeds of 15 mbps or above to handle it

“The additional cost to shoot, store, encode and deliver video in 4K, when compared to HD, is huge,” Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn told BuzzFeed. “No one wants to talk about it, but going from Netflix’s average 3Mbps stream to their 4K stream at 16Mbps is very expensive. That’s why it’s said it will offer ‘limited’ content in 4K for a long time. 4K is many, many years away from being adopted at critical mass.”

It’s somewhat of a Catch 22 — many consumers won’t invest in 4K until there’s more content to watch, but content providers aren’t going to make more programming until there are more people with 4K TVs and the bandwidth to stream on them. At some point, someone’s going to have to spend money if 4K is ever going to become commonplace.

Apple declined to comment on “rumor and speculation” to Buzzfeed.

New Apple TV Will Not Support 4K Video Streaming [Buzzfeed News]