So we’re going to stick our necks out so far that we’re in danger of overbalancing, and say that the standout feature in the much anticipated Apple Television is that it will have 4K resolution.
Our source, which is none other than my fevered imagination, tells us that since Apple has never shied away from incorporating very high pixel resolutions in their products, it is at least possible that they could do the same with an Apple TV. In fact, if they didn’t do this, and merely built a 40” TV with a 1920 x 1080 display, they would be significantly reducing the average resolution across their products.
But what about the lack of 4K content to display?
Not a problem.
Apple already has its own content delivery ecosystem called iTunes. It can deliver video in whatever resolution it wants to. Feature films will increasingly be made in 4K resolution or higher. There will soon be dozens of cameras and camcorders that are capable of 4K resolution. And in any case, 2K or “standard” HD looks great when it’s upscaled to 4K.
4K resolution video brings with it enormous file sizes and demands a lot of bandwidth. But this is where we make our other prediction.
Just as H.264 is pretty much the standard in modern video codecs, we think the next generation will be based on the still-to-be-ratified H.265 format. This compression technique will offer up to 50% better compression and is just the sort of thing that Apple is happy to take a bet on - especially when you realise that most things Apple bets on (apart perhaps from FCP X) become self-fulfilling prophecies.
There are other advantages of 4K televisions. You can show “normal” HD in a window, in full resolution, leaving room for a user interface around the picture. You’ll be able to show other aspect ratios in their full resolution even with black bars at the top and bottom.
Some people say that 4K television would be pointless unless your screen is the size of a wall. That may be true, but if you sit closer to the screen - as you would with a computer monitor - then you absolutely will benefit from the full resolution.
So that’s another prediction. The new Apple TV and the new Apple Cinema Monitor will be one and the same thing.
You read it here first.