The next Apple TV will most likely support 4K resolution along with support for three HDR formats, including Dolby Vision, according to references found in the HomePod firmware.
Three HDR formats
The firmware for the upcoming HomePod has already revealed technical details about the ‘iPhone 8’. It now gives us a glimpse into what to expect in the next hardware refresh of the Apple TV.
iOS developer Guilherme Ramboâ€Ź has in the firmware found references to 4K resolution as well as three HDR formats, including HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HLG. HDR stands for "High Dynamic Range" and includes a wider brightness range as well as a much larger color space.
HDR10 is an open industry standard base format for HDR. It is used by streaming providers such as Amazon and Netflix.
Both streaming providers, as well as Vudu, also offer movies and TV series in the premium Dolby Vision HDR format that offers better picture quality through support for dynamic metadata that can optimize HDR reproduction on a scene-by-scene basis.
The third format, HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma), is a broadcast standard for HDR that enable broadcasters to embed conventional SDR video and HDR video in the same video stream.
By supporting all three major HDR formats, Apple TV can potentially offer access to a wide range of content sources. Few Smart TV or streaming boxes provide support for all three formats. To enjoy content in Dolby Vision and HLG your TV must support the formats. HDR10 is supported as the base format in practically all HDR TVs on the market.
Apple also recently leaked plans to offer 4K HDR versions of movies in iTunes, as customers have started seeing “4K HDR” listed for some purchases.
The next Apple TV hardware is expected to launch this autumn, two years after the launch of the current Apple TV4 that introduced tvOS.