Apple made headlines when it announced it would begin selling 4K movies for the same price as HD content in the iTunes Store. The films are viewable on the new 4K HDR-enabled Apple TV. However, for whatever reason, you’ll always have to have an active internet connection in order to view them, according to a document spotted by MacRumors.
In the document, Apple notes those who upgrade their HD films to 4K will only be able to watch them by streaming. In other words, you won’t be able to download them. Why you may ask? There’s no real answer. Some are guessing it could have something to do with the licenses Apple acquired to offer 4K content through their store, but until we hear from the company directly, we won’t know for sure. (It’s worth noting you’ll need a minimum of a 25Mbps internet connection to watch 4K movies. Otherwise, the quality will be downgraded.)
The same might go for HDR and Dolby Vision movies, too. Apple doesn’t specifically say you can only stream this content, but it also doesn’t say all content in this category can be downloaded either. Therefore, it must really depend on which movies you choose to watch. You’ll wanna do some hunting around to see what’s available.
Luckily, you will be able to watch and hopefully download 4K content from services like Netflix if you pick up the Apple TV 4K. Apple also says the Amazon Prime Video app, launching in the near future, will also support 4K content playback on the set-top-box. Unfortunately, YouTube isn’t on that list likely due to lack of codec support from Apple, but at least you have some options.
Hopefully, in the future, Apple allows users to download 4K movies for streaming while an internet connection may be spotty. Of course, we’ll let you know if this happens.