Apple TV 4K Won’t Support YouTube 4K HDR; Dolby Atmos Support on Roadmap


Earlier today, the press embargo was lifted on Apple TV 4K reviews. This newest Apple TV supports both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, but when it comes to YouTube, don’t expect 4K HDR support.

Why? That’s because YouTube uses the VP9 video format—which Apple doesn’t support. This means YouTube, one of the largest sources of 4K content available, won’t be viewable from your Apple TV 4K, reports Nilay Patel in his review on The Verge.

Screenshot 2017 09 21 11 59 41

Also, Apple TV does not support Dolby Atmos, which is a popular modern surround sound standard which places sound in the space around you. Apple TV 4K decodes sound on the device and send outs PCM audio or down mixed Dolby Digital 5.1.

However, The Verge says Apple told them the lack of Atmos “isn’t a hardware limitation, and that support is on the roadmap.”

While the Apple TV 4K starts at $229 CAD, it does offer cheaper 4K iTunes movie rentals and purchases (except no Disney or Marvel), while also updating your existing 1080p libraries to 4K HDR for free.

Did you order an Apple TV 4K?


  • Steve

    This no 4K on YouTube might be a showstopper for me. I was planning to pick one up tomorrow but I’m not so sure now.

  • bbousquet

    Probably just a matter of time until they sort out the codec issue. Not overly worried. The automatic upscaling is the thing that annoys me, however (I have a decent Sony 4K TV that does pretty good upscaling and I want to feed it the native signal, even if it’s 1080p).

  • Broadcastguy

    Purchased and already printed the return label. It’s no surprise – the most advanced TV box with such restrained capability. I was so hopeful.

  • Wes

    Does anyone know if it’s possible to Disable the 4K up-convert function, and the image enhancements? I prefer to turn off all these functions, the native signal is best

  • steve81

    From the Engadget review : “So far, the only third-party app that supports 4K is Netflix, but Apple says Amazon’s upcoming Prime Video app will offer it as well. 4K is also coming to the YouTube app soon, and Apple is negotiating with Hulu to enable it eventually. (So far, Hulu only supports 4K on game consoles.)”

  • BeaveVillage

    It’s just software, of course it can be supported, but Apple doesn’t think like that, they’ll wait to release it in a future product.

  • Quattro

    My Apple TV delivery to VI has been rescheduled to Monday 🙁

  • Nooooooooo

  • bbousquet

    Mine’s still showing Sep 22 but there’s been no update since its Louisville arrival at 3:05 AM, Sep 20…

  • bbousquet

    Whew! It landed at YMX this morning. I should get it today.

  • mcfilmmakers

    4K already is on the YouTube app. Apple does not support it and will not.

  • bbousquet

    Package has been delivered this morning 🙂

  • Bummer about 4K YouTube videos. Nice to hear that Atmos support is coming. What I’d really, really love is lossless audio streams (Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA) with their 4K iTunes content, but I do understand why wouldn’t make sense to do that from the average consumer perspective. Still, it would be nice if it were an optional setting you could turn on.

  • The only way to feed the native signal for your TV to upscale would be for it to be continually switching output modes between 2160p for the menus and 4K content and 1080p for non-4K content. That would be an ugly thing from a usability standpoint. Not only would there be constant interruptions in the video signal (and depending on how long the handshake takes, likely loss of video at the beginning of videos) but in addition, any UI overlays during videos would have to be in 1080p as well. It makes sense that they don’t have that option.

    If you really want your TV to do the upscaling, you could just set the Apple TV to only output in 1080p. Then your TV would upscale everything, but that would negate the purpose of having a 4K Apple TV.

  • bbousquet

    I understand that. I just wished there was an option for it – especially since most of the content at the moment is not 4K.

  • Quattro

    Just got a text from Apple saying that the items (plural) “should” be delivered today. Well, the phone is on the truck, but the ATV still shows as sitting in Richmond with a Monday delivery date. I suppose they might still get it out later this morning (?)

  • steve81

    That line above was from Engadget’s hands-on (Sept. 21). In their review (Sept. 27), they mention the following :

    “Unfortunately, the Apple TV 4K is still way behind when it comes to third-party support. Netflix is the only app with 4K/HDR enabled today. There’s an Amazon Prime Video app coming, which will likely include that service’s UHD titles . There’s no 4K YouTube support either, because Apple hasn’t adopted Google’s open VP9 codec. Given that YouTube is home to plenty of 4K video, it’s something both companies will want to fix soon. Hulu also offers 4K streaming on game consoles, and Apple says it’s in talks with enabling that on the TV. And of course, there’s the recently launched Vudu app, which is also stuck with HD titles.”