Some Apple TV 4K users may lose resolution from streaming apps
Some owners of the new Apple TV 4K are being told by third-party streaming apps that they’re going to get HD video instead of 4K, and it’s unclear why.
The growing threads on Reddit and Apple’s support forums show that users are seeing an HD label, versus 4K, on content streamed from the Netflix app, and a few others. However, that same content, when available in Apple’s TV app from the same service, is correctly labeled as 4K content.
Specifically, Netflix shows the behavior of some, just like HBO Max. Disney + isn’t transparent about content resolution like other services are, so it’s unclear if this is happening as well. Local streaming services like Plex and Infuse also don’t seem to be showing the problem.
To further complicate troubleshooting and identifying the problem, Apple TV will scale the content to match the resolution of the output device. So even if the TV says it’s getting 4K, that doesn’t mean that what is being streamed to the set-top box from the streaming service to the app is actually 4K video.
Appleinsider couldn’t reproduce the bug locally, but we spoke to a colleague who did. Even using the same examples shown on an Apple support thread and the long Reddit thread documenting the issue, the content was streamed to our retail Apple TV units in 4K. So, it is not known what percentage of users see the problem.
The original Apple TV 4K does not exhibit this issue at all and the behavior persists in the beta of tvOS 14.7. In theory, this issue is some kind of bug in tvOS affecting some but not all users, a small batch of faulty devices, or in some cases the Apple TV 4K does not correctly identify with streaming software applications.
At this time, there is no official response from Apple on this matter. Apple’s online customer service is asking users to replace HDMI cables and perform a soft reset, but neither seems to fix the issue. Apple also appears to be accepting feedback for users reporting the issue.
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