The Apple TV 4K is Coming. Here’s an Introduction to its New Technologies

Apple TV 4K showcasing HDR.

Okay, the Apple TV 4K will be available on 22 September. The Apple press release introduces us to two new terms: HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Dolby Vision is a premium version of video High Dynamic Range (HDR). So you may want to start reading up on these two HDR technologies—which are not the same technology we’ve become accustomed to in our iPhone photography.

Apple TV 4K showcasing HDR.
HDR makes 4K incredible. Image credit: Apple

Here are four great resources to get you started. The first explains very nicely what HDR is in the context of 4K/UHD TV. Articles #2 and #3 go into good technical detail on HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Finally, if you want to get really geeky with Dolby Vision, I’ve included a great FAQ at the end.

  1. Introduction to HDR by CNET’s Geoffrey Morrison
  2. HDR10 vs Dolby Vision: Here’s what you need to know about the HDR format war.
  3. Dolby Vision: Is it worth paying extra for the premium HDR format?
  4. Dolby Vision FAQ

For now, Apple TV 4K users are going to be exposed to more HDR10 content than Dolby Vision. However, Dolby Vision is something to be aware of since it’s supported on the Apple TV 4K. Consider the inclusion future-proofing.

Recently, I was on Chuck Joiner’s MacVoices and delved into the Apple TV 4K itself and 4K/UHD technology in general. If you’d rather watch and listen to what amounts to a 4KTV tutorial, here’s the video podcast. “MacVoices #17190: John Martellaro On the Apple TV 4K.”

Next Page: The News Debris For The Week Of September 11th. Robots and people as partners.

7 thoughts on “The Apple TV 4K is Coming. Here’s an Introduction to its New Technologies

  • One more thing.

    My opening sentence should have read, “Your deep dive into HDR TV and its competing technologies is much appreciated, even by those of us who are not active TV content consumers, but appreciate understanding the underlying technology nonetheless “. I got distracted and did not realise that I had two competing versions of that sentence. Humans, and another opportunity for AI to assist. Another time perhaps.

    At some point, it would be terrific if TMO could restore our ability to modify/correct spelling and grammatical errors in our posts. I miss those days.

  • John:

    Your deep dive into HDR TV and its competing technologies is much appreciated, even by those of us who are not an active TV content consumers, but appreciates understanding the underlying technology nonetheless. As I read this piece and its supporting links, I noted that my son is in his ‘dacha’ behind the house reading, my daughter is out with friends, and my wife is decorating the house, and I’m working at my computer listening to classical music. No one is watching TV. Even when they do, most will opt for either an iPad or other computer device to do so. For my family, of all the competing interests, the latest in TV tech will probably always assume a lower tier. Still, I will continue to watch this HDR10 vs Dolby space as I contemplate when to upgrade our entertainment system.

    As for the effect of robots on the workplace, and the broader question of human displacement by a robot labour force, I agree with Nick Wingfield, and have argued similarly. Most robots, compared to any life form larger than a single cell, are exceedingly stupid, and require human supervision. This is not likely to change for the foreseeable future, and should not be confused with either of two distinct issues: 1) the rise of AI and its impact on society; 2) the creation of artificial humans ie androids, powered by AI. Without going down either of those two rabbit holes today, suffice it to say that, far from displacing the human labour force entirely, robotics provide an opportunity to expand human employment and make it less dangerous, tedious, repetitive (all three of which have been linked to injury and decreased duration of functional work life) and more rewarding, much as Amazon’s Dave Clark has argued.

    Robots are not the threat; rather their use cases and our willingness to invest in and exploit new opportunities with education and financing are the real threats. The human will to not merely survive but thrive and prosper will inspire creativity and expand employment opportunities in fields that do not yet exist; even more so when ever more capable AI is added to the mix.

    Take transportation; the field of smart roads serviced by robotic maintenance crews that can maintain them without interrupting rush hour traffic, is one example. Haven’t heard of it? That’s because it doesn’t yet exist, but it will, soon enough. And it’s going to require humans trained in disciplines that are not yet taught in schools, because the underlying technologies are only in the earliest stages of development, and have not yet accreted into defined new disciplines and industries, but they will. And they will require new dedicated human labour forces. At multiple levels. In short, yes, some specific human roles will be replaced by robotics and AI, but whole new opportunities, with more intellectual reward and less physical peril, will be added in their stead. Our inability to imagine a future with a new variable with an unknown effect should not be taken to mean that opportunity does not exist. Yes, smartphones killed off both the old mobile handset and single use gadget (e.g. cameras, music players) paradigms, but opened whole new opportunities that did not exist, but today are mainstream and profitable. Human ingenuity is up to any challenge and is only ever defeated by fear and failure of imagination.

    In the meantime, my current problem is to figure out how best to stagger our purchases of a whole raft of new Apple tech over the coming weeks, and having done so, then rewarding myself with a new Apple Watch and an iPhone X for my…how to put this, human labour.

  • So cute Apple finally 4 years later wants to join the 4k party, now that the ITU has standardized 8k. Will Apple ever lead on cutting edge features? Never, always a follower.

    1. Obviously, Apple should have released an AppleTV 8K, to play all of the amazing 8K content that won’t be available for a few years. So what if the amount of 4K content is only barely starting to make 4K TV really relevant. Getting it done first is obviously better than getting it done really well. Right?

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