Sony’s 4K Streaming service goes live as of April 4th to Sony 4K UHD TVs
Stephan Jukic – March 29, 2016
Months after first announcing at CES 2016 that they are working on putting out a 4K streaming content service that would be exclusive to their own 4K UHD TVs –as covered here at 4K.com— Sony has now finally given us an imminent release date for the new source of 4K ultra HD content.
Sony has announced that “Ultra”, as their new service is called, will launch on Monday the 4th of April in the U.S and will be available as an app for the Android TV platform in the company’s popular 4K ultra HD TVs. For the time being, Ultra will only be available to Sony TVs but we can tentatively expect this to change down the road since the same opening up was the case for Sony’s FMP X10 4K media player from 2014 after an initial release in which the 4K content-loaded device was only compatible with Sony 4K TVs.
In contrast to Netflix, Ultra will be a service in which customers buy individual 4K titles for $30 so that they can then stream them to their 4K TV. Presumably, the streaming aspect of the service (instead of downloaded storage inside a TV or media player) is a condition designed to thwart potential piracy concerns, though most Sony 4K TVs don’t come with enough built-in hard drive memory to manage several downloaded 4K movies anyhow. The current selection of movies available through Sony’s Ultra service amounts to something between 40 and 50 titles and much of the content available, if not all of it, will also offer HDR encoding. Buyers of one of Sony’s new HDR 4K TVs will also get four complimentary content titles when they sign up for the Ultra app service as well.
Sony has also confirmed that the movie content available through Ultra includes Sony Pictures and Columbia titles like The Night Before, Concussion, The Walk, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters (the original version). There are also dozens of other titles to choose from such as Chappie, Fury, Elysium, Men in Black 3, The Walk, Salt, Hancock and After Earth. Ultra is compatible with Sony’s UltraViolet cloud service as well, meaning that users of UltraViolet can sign up and access Sony-owned movies for a fraction of the $30 cost of upgrading these titles to 4K.
Of course, Ultra also isn’t superb in certain ways. Unlike Netflix, Amazon or a number of other 4K streaming services, Ultra doesn’t offer a standard monthly/annual payment schedule for unlimited content access. In other words, the movie purchase model is a bit clunky and definitely more expensive if you want access to a variety of 4K content titles for your browsing pleasure. However, Sony is at least making an effort in the direction of bringing as much 4K and 4K HDR content to its own TVs as possible. This gives the brand a definite entertainment value edge over select competitors without their own proprietary 4K content services.
There are also extremely speculative rumors that Ultra might eventually become available on the Playstation 4K console that’s being rumored for later in 2016 but we have no official confirmation of this from any source.
Story by 4k.com