Apple TV+ blesses us with highest-quality 4K streams


How are Apple Originals looking on your TV?
Photo: Roku

If you’ve been enjoying Apple TV+ and wondering why your vision is suddenly better, it’s not that you’re getting younger. It’s that Apple’s new service streams the highest-quality 4K content yet.

That’s according to new tests that measure the bitrate of video streams. They reveal See has the highest bitrate so far, closely followed by The Elephant Queen.

Apple TV+ already surprised us with the quality of its shows. Despite disappointing reviews from critics, headliners like See and The Morning Show received a glowing response from fans. And it turns out they’re not just entertaining. Apple TV+ also delivers some of the sharpest shows you’ll watch on a 4K TV.

Apple TV+ beats out rivals on 4K quality

“Apple TV+ has the highest streaming quality we’ve seen for 4K so far,” according FlatpanelsHD founder Rasmus Larsen. “It’s higher than most iTunes movies.”

See’s average bitrate of 29 Mbps is the highest measured so far. (The show peaks at up to 41 Mbps.) The Elephant Queen averages around 26 Mbps, while Dickinson peaks at around 24 Mbps.

“That’s approximately 1.5-2x the video bitrate of a typical HD Blu-ray disc (due to HEVC vs. AVC), and around half of a typical UHD Blu-ray disc (also using HEVC),” explains Larsen.

You will still get sharper content from 4K Blu-rays, then — as is to be expected. But when it comes to 4K streaming, it doesn’t get better than Apple TV+. By way of comparison, Netflix maxes out at around 16 Mbps.

But there are some caveats.

Getting the best 4K content

You obviously need a 4K TV to enjoy the highest-quality 4K streams. You also need a playback device capable of outputting 4K video. And your internet plays a big part, too.

Apple TV+ uses a variable bitrate, like other streaming services, and you will enjoy the highest quality only if your connection allows it.

If you’ve yet to try out Apple TV+, you can subscribe today for just $4.99 a month for up to six family members. You may be eligible to get your first year free if you purchased a new Apple device this fall.


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