A new incarnation of Apple TV will be revealed later this year, and the rumors are in: it will be lacking 4K video support. Apple is usually viewed as an early adopter of new, futuristic technology. So, why isn’t it clamoring to be the one of the first set-top boxes for the cable-cutting crowd to offer 4K video capability, especially if the A8 chip running the latest generation of iPhones is reputed to be capable of 4K?
Honestly, there aren’t that many video offerings available in 4K. The equipment required to create video in 4K is extremely high-end and expensive, so not much is originally filmed in 4K, and it takes a studio effort to remaster an older film in 4K quality. As far as streaming goes, 4K is a goliath of data to be downloaded. Video signals for full 4K use four times the data as HD video, and with pipelines already becoming clogged, this creates extra hurdles for 4K video.
4K technology is still in its inception. To appreciate 4K video away from a computer screen, a perfectly aligned sequence of pricey technological offerings is required: a 4K television set, 4K set-top box, and 4K video content to watch. Oh, and you’ll also need to have an internet connection of at least 16 to 25 Mbps. In today’s market, it’s on par with the stars aligning during a lunar eclipse; there just aren’t that many customers who meet all of those requirements.
In this case, adding 4K to Apple TV wouldn’t make it an early adopter, it would be putting the cart before the horse. The consumer demand is barely a whisper and the obstacles to the technology are steep. It will probably be a while before 4K proliferates and becomes more accessible consumer option.