Apple TV app gains HDR10+ support

Mike Wheatley

Apple has raised a few eyebrows with its recently announced decision to add support for HDR10+ to the Apple TV application.


The update was hidden in a swathe of announcements made during Monday’s WWDC keynote speech, and Apple has since confirmed to FlatpanelsHD that HDR10+ will be supported on the Apple TV application on iOS16, iPadOS16 and macOS Ventura.

The company has not yet confirmed if HDR10+ will also make its way to tvOS 16, which is the company’s smart TV operating system, or other platforms that support the Apple TV app, such as Tizen and Google TV.

More details of the upgrade, which was only briefly mentioned at WWDC, can be found in the iOS 16 release notes. There, it states that “HDR10+ support: the latest generation of high dynamic range technology is now supported in the Apple TV app".

It’s not the greatest explanation and does little to help us understand the company’s motive. HDR10+ is an advanced HDR format that’s meant to rival Dolby Vision. It was created by Samsung and is the only high-end format supported on that company’s TVs. Both formats have their respective merits, but the vast majority of filmmakers and content creators opt to support Dolby Vision at the expense of HDR10+.

That’s also true of the TV hardware makers. Other than Samsung just a handful of brands support HDR10+, such as Philips and Panasonic. The likes of LG Electronics and Sony have so far ignored the format entirely. Amazon Prime Video supports HDR10+ content, whereas Netflix and Disney+ have gone with Dolby Vision.

The Apple+ TV streaming service does support the less exotic HDR10 format in some of its content, such as the hit David Attenborough series Prehistoric Planet, as well as Dolby Vision. So the move suggests that Apple may begin creating some HDR10+ content too. It’s also possible that Apple’s TV partners, like Paramount+, may create some HDR10+ content for the Apple TV app.

For now this is just speculation though. Most likely, the primary reason for adding HDR10+ support is to future proof iOS users and ensure they can enjoy the best quality picture for whatever it is they’re watching, irrespective of the HDR source.