Rumor: Apple Moving to 4K Video

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The wifey and I were having a discussion the other day about the office. See, I really want to put a TV in there, because I find that I get more done when I’ve got ambient noises going on. Movies tend to me my option of choice when I’m not listening to Sirius. The other day, we upgraded to an HD package with DirecTV, and that means I could watch my beloved Red Sox while I work. Sounds like a win-win to me.

This brought up the topic of what’s next. What comes after HD? Is it 3D? Well, kinda. Turns out that although 3D TVs are coming out in waves, the next big thing is 4K. For the uninitiated, 1080P is based on the number of pixels visible on a screen. 4K is the same way – 4096×2160 – it makes hi-def look retarded.

Hardmac is reporting that Apple has decided to move past the 720p resolution supported by iTunes currently, and step it up to 4k. Here’s what they say:

According to one of our sources, Apple might be preparing its weapons to become a major player in the video and TV business.

This strategy would have several consequences. First, a transition towards better codec, dropping the efficient but CPU-consuming encoding codec H.264 for adopting Wavelet transform-type of codec which will allow even better compression rate while offering better efficiency. This type of compression was already used for the JPEG 2000 format. If we did not get confirmation yet, we can suspect that Apple will be using a format evolving or directly originating from Dirac. In addition, this format is now a standard (and open source format) known under the name of VC2, while the VC1 is a proprietary format from Microsoft found in BD media with H.264. The ultimate goal for Apple would be to promote this new format to support 4 K video (up to 4096×2160.

Theory is that Apple puts out this 4K format to bypass Blu-Ray altogether, as well as get ahead of the competition. It’s an interesting theory, and it does explain a lot of angles. It also is just a rumor for right now, so until it’s confirmed, take it with that heavy grain of salt.

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