There was a blink and you miss it moment during the keynote that I feel isn’t getting enough play. Eddie Cue, when discussing the new AppleTV 4K, casually mentioned that not only will 4K movies from major studios not cost more than HD movies (25$ in Canada), but also that movies you have already bought will be upgraded for free. This is probably the best news of the entire keynote if you’re like me and have a massive library of iTunes movies (and TV).
Everything you’ve purchased from iTunes, along with your current rentals, shows up in your Apple TV app library. And if an HD title in your library is released in 4K HDR, it automatically updates for free. It currently confirms this on the AppleTV page:
I am sure that there will be workarounds from the studios to make you pay for movies again. I remember when they announced iTunes Extras they promised that if you had a movie that didn’t have them and they were added later that you’d get them for free, and while that’s mostly true (my copy of Mad Max: Fury Road even had the Blood & Chrome cut added to its extras!) it isn’t always (my copy of Iron Man was discontinued on the iTunes store and replaced with a new edition).
I am sure such tomfoolery will continue with 4K releases but here’s hoping it’s kept to a minimum. There’s no good reason for studios to charge extra for a 4K copy of a movie you already own other than “we’d like more money please” and while that’s entirely their prerogative it sure does seem like a stupid idea to punish paying customers in an era when many (most?) people won’t pay for movies at all and instead turn to streaming services (which have low return for studios) or piracy (which has no return at all).
Apparently the lone holdout on the “let’s sell 4K movies for the same price as HD” deal is Disney which is interesting given how Disney was, if memory serves, the first to sell movies on the iTunes store.
In any event, the fact that at least most of my iTunes library will be updated to 4K free of charge is the best news of the keynote because unlike every other thing they announced today it will actually save me money.