tvOS 11.2 lets your Apple TV 4K automatically switch video display modes in order to match a video’s dynamic range and/or native frame rate. Owners of the fourth-generation model can use only frame rate matching, provided they’re on the tvOS 11.3 software or later.

Buy default, Apple TV 4K enforces video modes with the highest refresh rates. If your TV supports HDR10 at a 60Hz refresh rate and Dolby Vision at 30Hz, HDR10 will be picked over Dolby Vision even though the latter looks better.

You may have noticed that processing everything in 4K HDR yields poor results when watching non-4K content. Wouldn’t it be great if Apple TV could automatically switch video modes on your telly depending on content being watched?

With tvOS 11.2 and later, you can.

You can set your Apple TV 4K to automatically switch video display modes to match the native frame rate and dynamic range of content being watched rather than go with the highest capability of your TV set.

For instance, the device will use HDR10 at 60Hz when viewing HDR content and switch to Dolby Vision at 30Hz when viewing content that supports Dolby Vision.

Here’s how to use these content matching options in tvOS.

How to use content matching on Apple TV

By default, tvOS uses your selected display format to play content without alteration.

To set your Apple TV to switch display modes automatically, matching the video’s dynamic range and frame rate, do the following:

1) Open the Settings app on your Apple TV.

2) Select the section Video and Audio.

3) Select the sub-section Match Content.

4) Enable the following options:

  • Match Dynamic Range—Only available on Apple TV 4K, this setting forces the device to match its video display mode to the dynamic range of the video being played.
  • Match Frame Rate—Available on both the fourth-generation Apple TV and Apple TV 4K, this forces the device to match its display refresh rate to the content’s original frame rate. It applies to content mastered at different frame rates, for example 24FPS film-based content or other international content.

With the Match Frame Rate option enabled, Apple TV will match the frame rate of video content encoded at 60, 50, 30, 25, and 24 FPS.

Frame rates are matched to the refresh rates that are appropriate for your region (i.e. 29.97 FPS for NTSC). Videos encoded at 25FPS/30FPS are frame-doubled to display at 50Hz/60Hz which matches their original appearance while preserving a fluid user interface.

When Match Dynamic Range is on, Apple TV 4K automatically switches its display output to SDR when using an app that hasn’t been optimized for HDR yet.

AVKit-enabled apps already do this automatically. Older apps may need to be updated with support for the AVKit framework in order to enable the content matching features in tvOS.

Your Apple TV can match a video’s frame rate and dynamic range automatically

If you experience a blank screen or flickering when Apple TV is matching media, that’s your TV set adapting to the signal. tvOS may attempt to automatically determine dynamic ranges and frame rates that your TV supports. If it cannot determine which display formats are available, you’ll need to test them manually.

Begin by selecting one of the video modes listed underneath the Unverified Formats heading. This will run a short display test and verify that the selected mode displays correctly on your TV. Once verified, your Apple TV can switch to that video mode when needed.

Having trouble with the selected video mode?

If so, set your Apple TV to use the display mode that’s compatible with your TV set by choosing the Reset Video Settings option in Settings → Video and Audio.

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