Disney won’t let Apple sell its 4K movies on iTunes


Weirdly, Disney is the studio with the closest links to Apple.
Photo: Carl Banks/Disney

One of the best low-key announcements at yesterday’s iPhone X event was that Apple will soon offer 4K movies on iTunes for the same price as 1080p copies. In an incredibly neat gesture, existing 1080p purchases are automatically upgraded to 4K for no added cost.

Almost all the big Hollywood studios have agreed to the deal. The only one that hasn’t? Weirdly enough, it’s Disney — a.k.a. the movie studio that Apple’s theoretically the closest to.

That’s based on the fact that Disney CEO Bob Iger sits on Apple’s board of directors, Apple has frequently highlighted Disney’s content in its marketing, and Steve Jobs was once Disney’s biggest stakeholder and a member of its board.

It’s not clear why Disney decided to not join the rest of the studios in agreeing to Apple’s terms. Maybe it has something to do with its own plans in the streaming services market? Or perhaps it just doesn’t like the idea of the free upgrades to 4K? Either way, it would be interesting to find out.

4K Apple TV coming soon

Apple TV 4K was announced during yesterday’s event, coinciding with the 4K iTunes announcement. Shipping later this month, it will offer a reconfigured 4K experience with 4x the number of pixels as current HD, along with High Dynamic Range for richer color and more detailed images.

4K iTunes movies will likely go live on September 22, when the new set-top box ships. That means that Apple and Disney still have time to come to an agreement before then. Let’s hope they do!

Will you be buying Apple’s fifth generation Apple TV? Leave your comments below.

Source: WSJ

  • Don Sullivan

    Your statement about Disney offering 4K content on other digital platforms is incredible misleading. To date, Disney has only released one (1) title in 4K (Guardians of the Galaxy 2) from any of their studio brands. All of the other Marvel stuff like Spiderman you see on services like Vudu is not produced by Disney but by other studios like Sony Pictures who acquired the movie rights to those characters before Disney acquired Marvel. It would not make sense to have Disney as a marquee partner for AppleTV 4K and then they only have one title.

    • Wayner83


    • Luke Dormehl

      Thanks for pointing this out. I’ve amended the story.

  • James Alexander

    It is on my buy list for sure. After I update my TV.

  • Travis Fishburn

    Once more titles are available in 4K, I don’t see Disney having any objections to titles being bumped to 4K for the HD price. Any Disney title that’s been purchased on iTunes has already had a free upgrade to HD if you previously bought it in SD. Seeing as they’ve already embraced this method, I don’t see it holding them back.