4K content for your UHD TV: An update on what you can watch right now
by Stephan Jukic – December 24, 2014
We’ve already previously discussed your content options when it comes to entertainment on your new 4K TV but since the entire ultra HD landscape is constantly evolving, frequent updates are obviously in order on a regular basis.
With that, here are the latest movie, TV show and general 4K content options available to U.S consumers with 2014 4K TVs. Be advised, these will only expand dramatically as we move into 2015 even if ultra HD content is for now still lagging considerably behind ultra HD TVs.
Tried tested and true, Netflix is the oldest and probably best known streaming 4K content provider available today. As long as you have an HEVC capable 4K TV, an internet connection that delivers at least 20Mbps and a willingness to pay for the “Family” streaming plan from Netflix that includes the 4K package for $13.99 per month, you’re good to go with Netflix.
The company’s current selection of 4K shows includes several Netflix original series like House of Cards and Marco Polo as well as Breaking Bad and The Blacklist. There are also several Hollywood movies and a couple of documentaries ready for streaming to an HEVC (H.265) capable 4K TV.
Amazon Prime Instant Video
The Amazon Prime Instant Video service is an extremely recent arrival to the streaming 4K content scene. Despite months of publicity and anticipation, Instant Video in 4K has only become available to an exclusively U.S based audience with newer model 4K TVs that are HEVC capable and connected to the web at a rate of 20Mbps or more. The conditions (except the need for a U.S location) are the same as those which apply to Netflix.
The only (temporary) catch with Amazon Instant Video is that it offers a pretty limited selection of UHD content. Currently, only three TV shows can be streamed and at least a couple more will arrive in the beginning of 2015. As for Hollywood movies, they’re available in 4K but not as part of the regular overall Instant Video streaming package –which costs $99 per month. Instead Amazon’s 4K movies can be bought for download at prices ranging from $15 to more than $20 dollars.
Free, easy to access and a staple application on most 4K smart TVs and their OS user interfaces, YouTube gives you access to a constantly growing library of 4K video content that comes from both amateur and professional film clips uploaded to the website in 4K resolution. There are also several YouTube channels devoted strictly to showcasing the latest ultra HD video uploads, which you can find here and here.
YouTube might not give you full-blown Sunday evening entertainment for the whole family in 4K but it does offer some interesting and often stunning video clips that are a perfect free means of really getting a taste for what native 4K content looks like on your TV.
Vimeo’s streaming service doesn’t yet offer any 4K video content but it does give you access to 4K videos in a way that’s useful for those of you who have the UHD screen but without an internet connection that’s adequate for streaming: Through Vimeo, you can download your 4K videos for offline viewing. This is a bit tedious but also very useful for those of us who don’t regularly get 20Mbps or more from our ISP. With offline viewing, you can watch your 4K video glitch-free at any time.
Sony Unlimited Video Service
Given that Sony is one of the premier manufacturers of 4K TVs, it should be no surprise that they were also one of the first to support 4K video content. Their Sony Unlimited Video service also sells or rents 4K movies and shows for viewing on compatible Sony TVs and (as of recently) TVs from other brands even. The only thing you need is to buy a Sony FMP-X1 4K media player in order to gain access to a surprisingly extensive library of movies and TV shows that you can either buy outright or rent for a day or two.
Options for Samsung TV owners
If you’re the proud owner of a newer model Samsung 4K TV, then your 4K content options are in a class of their own thanks to the exclusive deals Samsung has been busy making with the following 4K VoD services that are available only to Samsung 4K TVs:
M-Go: This online video rental service just began offering 4K titles for download as of last month and its inventory includes titles like “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For” and “Power”, with 100 more titles in 4K promised for the end of 2014 to Samsung 4K TV owners. Rentals cost about $7 and purchases between $20 and $30.
Comcast Xfinity: Just like the M-Go service, Xfinity in UHD was only recently launched as a smart TV app that only Samsung 4K TVs can access and to owners of these models, it offers a (currently) small selection of full seasons from only three NBC and USA Network TV shows. However, Comcast is promising far more ultra HD content for February of 2015.
DirecTV: As of last month, this company has been offering 4K programming over a satellite web connection to customers, which is pretty neat because if offers more stability than shakier broadband streams and more flexibility than the rigidity of physical set-top hard drives with pre-loaded content. However, like the other two options above, this service is also only available to Samsung TVs from 2014 through a DirecTV Genie HD DVR system that has to be installed over the TVs.
Story by 4k.com