Apple today announced a 4K Apple TV, along with the availability of 4K video content on the iTunes Store. And in a surprising move, they announced that any purchases you have made will be upgraded to 4K for free. I speculated on this earlier today, but did not expect free upgrades.
But I understand why Apple is doing this.
In order to get you to buy a 4K Apple TV, and start buying and renting content in 4K, they’re essentially giving you a lagniappe in providing the free upgrades. If you had to pay, say, a few bucks per movie, and you have a lot of movies, you might not think of buying the new Apple TV, because of the cost of upgrading your library. Now, you’ll see that the new Apple TV not only gives you a new device, but also provides an instant library of movies and TV shows in the better format (assuming you have purchased videos from the iTunes Store, and that these videos are available in 4K, which won’t be the case for everything).
Apple is essentially priming the pump, and probably at their own expense; I’d expect that movie studios probably didn’t agree to this. But you’ll be more likely to buy and rent videos from Apple, because few people have 4K optical disc players, and discs in UHD format are expensive.
This is a savvy move from Apple, who stands to usher users into the world of 4K video, and hold them captive through their existing libraries and new content. You’d probably thought you might like to get 4K versions of your favorite movies, but Apple is giving them to you on the house. So if you were hesitating about buying the new Apple TV, think how much you’re saving by not paying for upgrades to your existing digital video purchases.