Something's wonky with Apple TV+ and HDR on its own shows

See in HD
See in HD (Image credit: iMore)

See in HD

Source: CordCutters (Image credit: Source: CordCutters)

What you need to know

  • Some Apple TV+ shows say they're only in standard-def when they should be in UHD with Dolby Vision.
  • And there are conflicting icons on screen if you're using an Apple TV 4K box, apparently.
  • Apple just works, until it doesn't.

Something's up with Apple TV+ exclusive shows when viewed on an Apple TV 4K box, apparently. Multiple folks have reported for weeks now that shows we expect to see in 4K resolution with Dolby Vision HDR (that's the better standard of HDR) are in fact, doing neither.

And, indeed, we're seeing the problem as well, with an Apple TV 4K box connected to a Vizio 4K television that until recently showed these Apple TV+ exclusives in Dolby Vision just fine. Only, there are conflicting icons being shown. The show page — from where you can choose which episode to watch — is showing SD options for us. But start an episode of See, for example, and hit the Info button, and we'll get a 4K icon.

So, yeah. Something's weird.

See in 4k?

Source: CordCutters (Image credit: Source: CordCutters)

This was first reported by MacRumors which cites forum posts and more as evidence something is amiss. The Verge's Nilay Patel mentioned it a couple of weeks ago, for example.

The Connected podcast team also discussed the issue on a recent episode, too.

Oddly, this issue doesn't appear to impact all users although the reports do seem to be increasing in number. Apple is yet to comment on what's happening, or why, but those watching on fancy Dolby Vision TVs will no doubt be keen to get their money's worth when watching Apple's shows.

Dolby Vision is an improvement over standard HDR in one key way. As images are displayed on-screen, additional information is provided to the TV that allows it to adjust its output accordingly. That can result in a higher dynamic range than would normally be available via standard HDR, which doesn't adjust on the fly.

Are you suffering from this problem? I'd love to know what hardware you're watching on if so. Shout out in the comments below!

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.