Apple confirms Dolby Vision HDR on Vision Pro, plus which streamers it will support – and 2 big ones are missing

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Jan 16, 2024

Apple has revealed more information about what watching movie and TV shows will be like on the Apple Vision Pro, including confirmation of which of the best streaming services will have full native support when it launches.

We already knew Disney Plus would be there – that was announced at the start – and obviously Apple TV Plus was always going to have great support, but now we know that Max and Prime Video will be available, too. 

On top of those, you’ll also have ESPN, NBA, MLB, PGA Tour, Discovery Plus, Paramount Plus, Peacock, Pluto TV, Tubi, Fubo, Crunchyroll, Red Bull TV, IMAX, and TikTok (which obviously is a little different to the others, but hey, it’s all video).

There are two huge omissions from that list: Netflix and YouTube. We actually wouldn’t have been concerned about that fact that YouTube’s missing from the list because it’s not like the other curated streaming services there… but then Apple mentioned TikTok, and suddenly the lack of YouTube leaps out, since it’s the world’s best portal for VR/immersive video.

Outside of that, Apple also confirmed for the first time that the headset will support Dolby Vision HDR in addition to Dolby Atmos for audio (through the built-in speakers, or via the AirPods Pro 2 version with USB-C). Dolby Vision will help to make sure that the micro-OLED screens really reach their full potential in movies (it’s on most of the best OLED TVs), while Dolby Atmos is the most sensible way to make it sound like you’re sitting in a real cinema with speakers around you, thanks to its 3D soundscape tech.

One nice extra touch that Apple confirmed about its virtual cinema room that you can watch in, is that you can choose whether to sit at the front, middle or back. People have strong opinions about this!

It’s not unusual

It’s not a massive surprise that Netflix is missing. The company’s always had a hit-and-miss relationship with Apple; the two obviously have a deep connection, but Netflix has had issues with Apple’s App Store revenue sharing scheme for a long time, and the Netflix Apple TV app often doesn’t get new features until long after they come to other versions of the app.

But as someone who genuinely can’t wait to experience the ‘Cinema Environments’ mode of Vision Pro as a way to watch huge-screen movies at home, it’ll be a huge shame not to be able to do that with Maestro (a movie made for IMAX but trapped in the confines on Netflix), Society of the Snow (and its beautiful, terrifying vistas) or the many classics you can find among the best Netflix movies.

Google and Apple also have a complicated relationship. The two make a ton of money off each other, but we’re in a very different place to the launch of the iPhone when there was a YouTube app as part of the default apps. Clearly, Google doesn’t see Vision Pro as a priority, just as Netflix doesn’t – and perhaps they’re right. After all, it’s not like the first run of 150,000 Vision Pro headsets will depend on streaming services to sell out or not.

Whenever a more affordable non-Pro ‘Apple Vision’ headset arrives, that’s when Apple will need the two biggest video streamers in the world on board. Until then, those lucky enough to get a Vision Pro can probably find enough to watch from the entire Apple movies store and the streaming services already confirmed.

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