Documents from the Sony Data Breach show that Apple requested 4K video content from Sony for the purpose of testing both digital distribution and on-demand streaming.
As divulged by WikiLeaks, a materials access letter (PDF link) from Culver Digital Distribution, an entity associated with Sony Pictures Television, served as a formal agreement for “testing and/or preparing” 4K film and television content for non-exclusive distribution.
The linked document is a materials access letter – dated Sept. 26, 2013 – from Culver Digital Distribution Inc, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment, to Apple. The letter was signed by Apple SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue and Jim Underwood, a former Sony executive, now at Facebook.
Apple was experimenting with 4K digital content, said to be for use in a much-rumored Apple television, although those rumors were put to rest in April. Apple is now said to be working on a new Apple TV set-top box that had been expected to debut at WWDC 2015, but did not make an appearance. 4K content continues to be considered as a likely feature in a future box from Apple.
While 4K UHD content has been available for quite a few years, it has only recently begun to gain traction, following the release of relatively reasonably priced sets from television manufacturers. Sony is a prominent supporter of the 4K format. Content continues to be sparsely available, with some being made available via Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.