Hardware

Published on October 31st, 2017 | by Brad Gibson

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tvOS update to add matching frame rate or HDR choice

Starting with tvOS 11, Apple TV 4K set-top boxes will add the ability for users to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of video content. Apple made the announcement Monday in an online developer post.

Once released, owners of an Apple TV 4K unit will have to manually select ‘Match Content’ from the Video and Audio section of the settings app to independently match the frame rate and dynamic range (see image below).

By default, the options will be disabled, Apple said. Once turned on and video is played back in a compatible app, tvOS will automatically switch the video display settings to match that of the content.

When the Apple TV 4K model was released last month, some reviewers and users complained about the automatic configuring of those settings. The current version of tvOS, shipped with the Apple TV 4K, prefers to default to the frame rate to avoid video shaking when tvOS runs at 30 Hertz. That can create issues with some TV sets, for example, capable of 60 Hertz HDR10 but 30 Hertz Dolby Vision. As a result, the operating system would often pick a frame rate that reduced video quality on certain televisions.

The refresh rate – or frame rate – of a TV refers to the number of frames it can show per second. Measured in Hertz as a unit of frequency, a TV with a 60Hz refresh rate can display 60 images per second while others refresh at 120Hz, or 120 images per second.

‘HDR’ stands for ‘high dynamic range,’ which refers to the TVs ability to deliver more colors, better contrast levels, and increased brightness compared with standard HD and even 4K Ultra HD sets.

With multiple refresh rates and multiple HDR settings, the original Apple TV 4K settings didn’t allow users to manually change the settings for their needs. The update will allow for that change.

It is not known at this time when the final, golden master version of tvOS will be released, but it is expected to be out before the end of the fall, which ends December 21st. So far, three preview versions of tvOS 11 have been released since September 19th.

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About the Author

has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years.



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