Google Play Joins Apple & Amazon In Dramatically Lowering 4K Movie Prices
Stephan Jukic – September 27, 2017
As soon as Apple used its enormous consumer market clout to force studios into accepting its plan to deliver consistently lower prices of $20 or less for 4K UHD movie content titles shortly before the release of their new Apple TV 4K set-top box, it was obvious that other streaming/download services would have no choice but to follow along. Now this is very visibly coming to pass with at least two major iTunes competitors so far. Movies that once cost $24 or more are now dripping down to prices of $20 or less and in some cases much, much less.
The response to Apple’s unveiling of high quality, premium 4K UHD HDR movie titles on the revamped, 4K-capable iTunes store for prices of $20 or less started just a day ago on Tuesday with Amazon, which, in its typical ferociously competitive spirit, announced that it will start selling its best and priciest titles for just $19.99 and other 4K content selections for even lower prices that get as affordable as $7 or even $5 in some cases. This alone was quite impressive considering the fairly large percentage of streamed 4K UHD entertainment that Amazon’s Prime Instant Video service delivers to a huge percentage of 4K HDR TV owners.
Now, Google is following suit as of today, with prices for its own rather diverse selection of ultra HD and HDR movie titles dropping down to $20 or less. Two examples cited recently by the website Android Police include “Spider Man Homecoming” and “Baby Driver” now available for digital purchase at just $20. Just a week ago, movies like these would have cost at least $29.99 and possibly more. It should be noted here that not all titles are quite yet being sold for these reduced price tags. At the time of this writing, we’re still seeing movies such as “Transformers: The Last Knight” and “Wonder Woman” retailing for $29.99 for the UHD versions. We’ll have to wait and see if the price crunch spreads much further in Google’s case or quietly stays limited.
As for the Apple TV 4K set-top box that indirectly kicked off all these price reductions, it’s still quite expensive by the standards of rival devices from any competitor (including both Google and Amazon). Her at least, Apple isn’t budging from its habit of premium pricing for their own hardware. The new streaming device is now available for direct order and selling for a fairly robust price of $179. In comparison, Amazon’s newly unveiled Amazon Fire TV 4K dongle with HDR support is available for pre-order at just $70 and Google’s own Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle sells for essentially the same cost at $69. These are of course just dongle devices unlike the full-blown set-top box that is Apple TV with its more powerful internal processing specs but even with this major difference, both the Amazon Fire TV 4K dongle and UHD Chromecast Ultra offer many of the same essential HDR and ultra HD content support features. Apple TV 4K is most notably distinguished by its additional support for the superior Dolby Vision HDR standard, which no other 4K content streaming device offers at this time. Amazon’s Fire TV box does however integrate Dolby Atmos sound capacity, which Apple TV 4K lacks.
Ultimately, the choice of which TV streaming device to go with will depend on user preferences, but owners of ultra HD TVs with Dolby Vision should find the Apple TV option to be the most enticing of the current bunch for its DV support if nothing else. At the very least, thanks to Apple’s original fight with major 4K content creators, going with Google, Amazon or Apple will at least get you some very similar purchase deals on 4K ultra HD HDR entertainment options.
Apple does however one other consumer-friendly trick up its sleeve for those who decide to go for its new 4K set-top box: the company is promising to upgrade all previously purchased HD titles from iTunes to their 4K versions if any are available for a given movie or program.
Story by 4k.com