The first review of the new Apple TV 4K was published this morning with a very positive consensus. Another interesting point revealed in this review is that the Apple TV 4K has another trick to come with future software updates: better support for dynamic refresh rates.
According to a study from The limit and TechCrunch, future updates to tvOS will add support for something called Quitting Media Switching, commonly known as QMS VRR. This is an HDMI 2.1 feature that was not supported by previous Apple TV models and is not yet supported by the TVs themselves with HDMI 2.1.
tvOS currently has two different “Content” settings: one for dynamic range and one for frame rate. If you enable these features, you will see a black screen whenever tvOS changes to match the frame rate of a movie or TV show. FlatpanelsHD explains how this feature works:
- “Frame rate match”: Apple TV 4K will respect the source by matching its output to the frame rate of the video content at any time. This prevents stuttering, i.e. by changing the output of the Apple TV to 24.000Hz or 23.976Hz when a movie / series at 24fps or 23.976fps is broadcast, to 50Hz except when watching 25 / 50fps content (from Europe etc.) and 60Hz. watching 30/60fps content (from US etc.).
With QMS VRR support, however, you will no longer see this black screen when you have the “Match frame rate” option enabled. Instead, Apple TV will seamlessly switch the frame rate when you start a movie or TV show at a certain speed.
The third generation 4K TV has some future proof up its sleeve: later this year, a software update will add support for what is known as QMS VRR. This enables compatible TVs to switch between different frame rates without black screens or noticeable image distortion. How many TVs work with QMS VRR, you ask? Well, zero for now. But you’ll start seeing them hit the market next year; stay tuned for more news about this feature at CES. I wasn’t bothered by the short flicker when changing frame rates, but I wouldn’t miss it, either.
But of course, as The limit shows, there aren’t any TVs on the market that support QMS VRR yet. There’s no word on when Apple will add something to tvOS, but there’s no rush given the lack of support from TV manufacturers yet.
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