You might not know why your TV sometimes pauses with a black screen, but the latest Apple TV 4K is finally getting rid of that odd moment. That's thanks to a new TV setting added in a recent Apple tvOS update — but you may not be able to access it yourself just yet.
This change — promised back when Apple launched the Apple TV 4K (2022) (one of the best streaming devices, and my personal favorite) — was the support of the up-and-coming feature Quick Media Support (QMS) for variable refresh rates. For those who haven't experienced it, or realized they have, a black screen can often appear when your TV and streaming device switch between frame rates, such as 23.976Hz, 24Hz, 50Hz and 60Hz.
This isn't a huge headache, but when it interrupts your TV watching, and when the Apple TV 4K doesn't have many flaws (at least for those of us who are used to its touchpad) — it's not hard to say that Apple's finally squishing one of its most annoying issues. To enable it, as the fireCore community forums showed, you go to the Settings app, open Video and Audio and select Match Content to learn if you can actually fix it. And more power to Apple for adopting QMS for VRR.
Because herein lies the problem that stopped yours truly from fixing it: even with the most up-to-date Apple TV 4K 2022 model, your TV also needs to support QMS. And as flatpanelshd (via our sister site TechRadar) reports, only some LG OLED C3, B3, M3, Z3 and LG QNED models support it.
Analysis: Waiting on TV OS updates is a bummer
So, for as much as I'd love to tell you Apple's fixed this bug and you should download tvOS 16.4 right now (Settings > System > Software Updates > Update Software) — only those with the aforementioned quite-new LG TVs will see this functionality. And none of the reports about this fix actually specify it's in the newly released tvOS 16.4.
On top of that, nobody's said for sure whether or not any older Apple TV 4K models, or any older TVs, will get QMS VRR support. And, of course, note that this is only about frame rate changing, not the switch to Dolby Vision or HDR (High Dynamic Range) from SDR (Standard Dynamic Range). The latter is something I'm still waiting for, and have opted to disable the Match Dynamic Range setting to fix it manually.
So now, supporting this feature is left to TV manufacturers, and nobody's even promising it for legacy models. And this isn't an option that feels like it would be worth buying a new TV for, we wouldn't recommend anyone spend to get it, or hold their breath for it either.
Who should download tvOS 16.4 ASAP?
After I updated my Apple TV 4K (202) to tvOS 16.4, and tapped on the What's New button, it only gave me a message about support for multiple HomePod speakers over eARC. Fortunately, tvOS 16.4 does provide a big new feature for those who suffer from epilepsy.
In Apple's official release notes, tvOS 16.4 is stated to add "Dim Flashing Lights, an accessibility option to automatically dim the display of video when flashes of light or strobe effects are detected, and includes performance and stability improvements."
This feature is found in Settings > Accessibility > Motion.
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Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.