Don’t buy an Apple TV 4K if you don’t have fast broadband Internet service

“I was very interested in getting the new Apple TV 4K,” Kirk McElhearn writes for Kirkville. “I wanted to be able to view 4K movies on my 4K TV.”

“I can already do this to some extent with Amazon Prime Video, and the quality is impressive,” McElhearn writes. “However, Apple has published a support document that explains the requirements for accessing 4K content.”

“You’ll need a 25 Mbps connection to get 4K content,” McElhearn writes. “Otherwise you’ll just get HD or SD.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Obviously, there’s a lot of data in 4K and a decent Internet connection is required.

To check your Internet connection speed, try a site like


  1. I think it should be readily apparent that if your going to stream 6 times the info, your going to need bandwidth. However..

    Apple TV 4K with HEVC etc, I would not think should require bandwidth quite that high..

    1. I have a 15 Mbps connection, and I get 4K from Amazon, and I could get Netflix, which requires 15 Mb. So, no, it should not be readily apparent. Plus Apple is using a more efficient codec, as you say.

    1. What they quote is not usually what you get.
      I have Comcast xFinity Blast which is supposed to be 150 Mbps.

      I have never had that kind of speed since Comcast took over the service and nobody I know has that speed from them.

      1. When I first got Blast/Blast Pro from Comcast, speed test reported lower speeds then I expected, I had my own modem, I had to upgrade my model to a newer model with more channels, it of course has to be DOCSIS 3.0

        If you have an older modem with fewer channels, your not going to get what your paying for. My NetGear CM500 is rated for 686 Mbps. (there is one more faster model CM600) I get 249mb down, 12 up on Speed tests.

        You also need a router with GIG connections and GIG connections to your Mac to get Max throughput during a speed test.. Course you’ll never need all that speed for a streaming device, a percentage is all thats needed, leaving plenty for other things.

  2. A decent *realtime* internet connection wouldn’t be as crucial, if UHD vids could be downloaded for viewing offline (-ish? not sure if there’s a content key check every time a title is played).

    Not saying this limitation is Apple’s fault, I’m sure it’s the studios forcing this asinine restriction in exchange for not charging users extra for UHD content over HD (“if we can’t make any extra money off it, we’ll force you (Apple) to pay for it with high-reliability/redundancy CDN servers”).

  3. Not really a surprise, if you look at Apple’s push for data quality as shown in their latest HLS Authoring Requirements:

    HEVC is great, but it isn’t a miracle either. When Netflix rolled 4K out, 20Mbps extra household bandwidth was generally recommended, (it’s gotten a little more efficient since) and they weren’t pushing HDR or high framerate capabilities like AppleTV is.

      1. The richest company in world history in a no-win situation? That is entirely illogical. The bottom line is Apple is trying to insert itself as a middleman between content creators and consumers. But Apple hasn’t done the hard work necessary to make its box indispensable. Apple just offers a different flavor interface to rent movies.

        You can’t use AppleTV to help manage your local content, you have fewer streaming options than competitors, and as we all know Apple’s remote with Siri is an exercise in frustration. Amazon was smart, they bought IMDB years ago so they have the most comprehensive search engine for movies. Roku has always been far ahead of Apple in technical ability, content availability, and user interface, at a fraction of Apple’s pricing. Your ISP in the end determines whether the content streams smoothly or not. If Apple had something unique and special then maybe one could see a reason to buy the thing. But the Apple tax on a sealed box that offers no fundamental user advantage and no memory expansion is just a slap in the face.

        Apple is now definitely just the iPhone company. The leaders can’t get anything else right.

  4. That’s disappointing . . . I could have sworn it was 15mb/sec during the keynote. Further, I don’t know why there couldn’t be a the ability to preload movies prior to watching them, especially if the system detects a decent (if not easily bufferable) speed like 5-10. In other words, if I have the foresight to rent a movie in the morning before I leave for work I ought to be able to do that using the onboard storage. This seems like a simple thing to have the capability to do.

    1. Which was the whole reason I opted for more memory. I figured it might come in handy to avoid buffering issues. Combined with the no Atmos news, and the fact it doesn’t let the TV do the switching I’m getting a little bummed.

      1. I just called and upped my broadband to 50mb . . . I’m a bit disappointed I HAD to . . . but you get what you pay for. I imagine Apple is going to be focused on a seamless experience . . . they’d rather annoy someone with a high data request than disappoint them with constant buffering issues. I get that, but I also think there ought to be a simple toggle setting that a knowledgable person can hit that says, “Download in 4K” with a little note next to said toggle that says, “Internet speeds below XXmb may result in long waiting times. Content with slower connections may require several hours to load, but will be stored on your Apple TV for later viewing. You have XX gigabytes of free space, enough for X movies.” Easily understood, doesn’t over promise. And it’s a setting you gotta look for so you’ll probably understand it. Everybody wins.

  5. Apple could have solved most of the ISP speed issues by allowing people to download the entire movie. 64 GB is totally inadequate.

    For 3+ years Apple has been offering 128GB or more in its phones and tablets. Couldn’t find room inside the little black box though?

  6. 15 Mbps should be good enough for 4k. To play safe 25 Mbps may be, apple codec is good for streaming, my 1080p Apple TV did lot better with Netflix as compared to roku 3 which constantly goes to lower resolution.
    Apple TV is niche product and always was, I bought is due to iTunes content otherwise other streaming apps are good enough. Roku, chrome cast and amazon are better deal for cost conscious customers. Don’t need comparison to other devices. Comparison doesn’t mean anything when you bring iTunes content. I have paid more in the past for ATV 4 due to iTunes content

  7. Last Friday, after ordering my AppleTV 4k, I was checking the Store website, and did the online chat, and asked what the streaming speed requirement was. They asked around, and didn’t know. I told them that was essential info, and they agreed, but still didn’t know.

    Anyway, I got my AppleTV 4k today, and hooked it up in place of my old AppleTV, and when you go thru settings, it says, 15Mbps, is the minimum needed for 4k streaming.

    My system tests out at 22Mbps, but it’s not always reliable. I usually can play 3 streams at once with no hiccups, as each stream seems to use about 5Mbps. If I stream any 4k material, I’ll have to make sure no one else is streaming!

  8. I have very fast Internet service and the new 4K Apple TV still blacks out every 30 seconds when trying to watch TV on the unit. Every 30 seconds the screen goes black for a half second.

    It’s a mess. Won’t connect with my new JVC projector. Roku 4K has NO problem.

    Sometimes the management at Apple scares me.

    All that money and they put out a new watch with issues. They come out with 4K, 2 years late and the unit still has issues.

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