The Apple TV 4K hasn’t entirely lived up to its name — not when YouTube can’t stream beyond 1080p on the media hub. When tvOS 14 arrives, however, you won’t be held back. As 9to5Mac noticed, Apple has quietly mentioned that the new release will play YouTube videos in “full 4K.” It’s not certain what prompted the end to the years-long impasse (we’ve asked both Apple and Google for comment), but it likely comes down to a change in video formats.
For years, YouTube has preferred to stream 4K videos using its open VP9 codec. Many device makers have supported it, but Apple has balked at using the format (which has its share of patent disputes) in favor of technology like HEVC. YouTube 4K support on the Apple TV would require one side to adopt the other’s preferred video technology. It may just be a matter of who blinked first.