So, you finally got that 4K HDR (High Dynamic Range) TV you’ve been wanting. But now you’re realizing that to get the full 4K experience coming through your display, you need 4K content. And you’re beginning to realize that 4K content coming into your TV automatically isn’t a given. You need to know where to go and how to find your 4K content—movies, games, and shows. HDR offers greater color depth and stunning contrast but isn’t supported by every content streaming source yet. In the recent past, there wasn’t as much content that brought both 4K and HDR into your living room, but that’s quickly changing, and more choices abound by the week. In the next few years 4K Ultra HD content is going to go from a steady flow to a full torrent.
In the meantime, we’d like to save you the time it might take to dig around and find the best 4K video content out there, so we’re giving you a breakdown of where to look to ensure you’re having the best 4K TV viewing experience possible. After all, isn’t that why you got your 4K TV?
Amazon Instant Video
Recommended internet speed of 25 Mbps or higher; select Samsung, LG, Sony, Vizio, and Panasonic, Hisense, TCL, Philips, TP Vision 4K Ultra HD TVs, as well as compatible 4K Ultra HD TVs connected to 4K-capable Roku streamers, Nvidia Shield TV streamer, Apple TV 4K, and (of course) Amazon Fire TV 4K-capable streaming devices.
Amazon’s “free” service — which comes with a Prime subscription — launched with 4K Ultra HD versions of some of its original series like The Romanoffs and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and has since expanded to include most of its original series, as well as lots of other television series and films. Amazon also streams many of its original series in HDR, including Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan in Dolby Vision. For a quick glance of Amazon 4K UHD titles, check out HD Report or visit Amazon Instant Video.
The service also has a rotating selection of 4K Ultra HD movies as part of its Prime collection; the exact number of specific titles available will vary from month to month.
Number of 4K Titles Available to Rent: ~250
The Netflix Premium Plan is required for streaming 4K footage. A 4K TV is needed and an internet connection with at least a download speed of 25mbps. Your streaming quality must be set to Auto or high in Nextflix. To find them: “Ultra HD 4K” row, 4K in category menu, or search “4K”
With nearly 600 titles, Netflix has the largest 4K streaming library, mostly due to its vast library of original content. And because of its compatibility with just about every device and smart TV, it’s also one of the best ways to access 4K movies and shows. Many 4K televisions have Netflix built in and will display 4K content beautifully. You can see an entire list of supported devices and televisions on Netflix’s website.
Netflix was one of the earliest adopters of the technology, debuting its first piece of 4K content in 2014 with the second season of “House of Cards.” Since then, it has filmed all of its original titles in 4K, and many more in HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Number of 4K Titles: ~600
Apple 4K TV to a 4K UHD TV.
Following the release of the Apple 4K TV, iTunes has begun adding a selection of 4K and HDR content to its store. These titles are available to purchase or rent. Finding content is easy — icons flag the content as 4K, HDR, and/or Dolby Vision (Dolby’s proprietary HDR format). One perk to note is that the 4K versions of titles cost the same as the HD versions, which is drastically cheaper than most other services.
Number of 4K Titles Available to Rent: ~250
Recommended internet speed of 10 to 11 Mbps or higher; Vizio, LG, and Roku-equipped 4K TVs; 4K-enabled Roku streamers or Nvidia Shield TV device paired with compatible 4K Ultra HD TV.
Vudu has been quietly working its way into the 4K Ultra HD content scene with movie rentals and downloading services. The number of supported devices has slowly been expanded, and VUDU and is constantly adding more. Vudu’s library is continually updated with many of the latest UHD movie releases.
Number of 4K Titles Available to Rent: ~560
Recommended internet speed of 25 Mbps or higher; Ultra HD TV with Android TV OS and select Samsung and LG TVs; 4K-capable Roku streamer, Amazon Fire TV, Nvidia Shield TV, or Chromecast Ultra hooked up to a 4K TV. Keep in mind that the number of TVs that support YouTube’s brand of 4K is still in flux — just because there’s a YouTube app doesn’t mean it’ll be in 4K — so check with retailers before making a purchase.
Thanks in large part to its massive army of video contributors and a barrage of 4K cameras now on the market, YouTube has quickly become one of the best sources for 4K Ultra HD content. You won’t find a big catalog of films or TV series, but those looking for some brilliant scenes to show off their TV’s off the hook 4K Ultra HD capabilities will find them here in a deep variety of content from extreme sports to macro nature journeys. And the best part is, a lot of this content of it is totally free - such as the popular HDR Channel.
Recommended minimum download speed of 10 Mbps or higher; app available on select Samsung, Hisense, Vizio, and Sony Bravia Ultra HD TVs, 4K-capable Roku devices, Amazon Fire TV, or Nvidia Shield TV streaming box.
UltraFlix claims to host the largest 4K Ultra HD library of streaming content available, which runs the gamut from several hundred hours of 4K nature documentaries (including multiple titles originally created for IMAX), to dozens of concerts, hundreds of hours of sci-fi, action, comedy, drama, and musical acts. All content is for rental in 48-hour blocks.
Sony's Playstation Video
Sony 4K Ultra HD TV; 4K Ultra HD TV with HDCP 2.2 copyright protection and a PlayStation4 Pro for 4K Ultra HD playback (other Sony devices are supported, but they do not have 4K playback).
Sony’s video on demand (VOD) service allows the purchase and rental of around 200-plus movies and TV shows.
Recommended minimum 10 Mbps download speed; select Ultra HD TVs, PC, or 4K-capable Roku streamer hooked up to 4K Ultra HD TV.
FandangoNow offers 4K UHD movies for either purchase or rental, as well as a varied selection of films that are also offered with HDR. Unlike some other services, FandangoNow has a list on its website that makes it easy to see which movies are available with HDR, and what is only available in standard 4K.
Number of 4K Titles Available to Rent: ~350
Google Play Movies and TV
20 Mbps internet connection; Chromecast Ultra, Nvidia Shield TV, or 4K-capable Roku streamer connected to a 4K TV, among other Google devices.
Google has its own 4K streaming device, the Chromecast Ultra, and the Google Play Store has a selection of 4K movies available for rental or purchase. This service isn’t just relegated to the Chromecast Ultra, however. Any 4K-capable device that supports Google Play — such as Roku devices or the Nvidia Shield — can access these movies via the Google Play app.
Number of 4K Titles Available to Rent: 400+
30 Mbps internet speed recommended; Chromecast Ultra or Fire TV (Roku and Apple TV support coming soon).
In July 2018, FuboTV became the first live-sports TV-streaming service to offer programming in 4K with HDR. At first, the only games to take advantage of this increased visual fidelity were 2018 World Cup matches, but the service later added some NCAA football games in 4K as well. While 4K content is still fairly limited, the service is equipped to show both Fox and FS1 in 4K with HDR10, so if nothing else, expect to see more live sports making use of these technologies moving forward. The service has also said it will begin offering some entertainment programming (not just sports) in 4K with HDR this fall.
Approximate Cost: $54.99 per month.
On-demand: Manufacturer-certified DirecTV 4K-ready TV (or standard 4K TV and 4K Genie Mini) and DirecTV’s Genie HD DVR (model 530 and up). Live: Previous requirements plus the latest Genie HD DVR.
Pioneering the first 4K Ultra HD service for any cable or satellite provider, DirecTV delivered a handful of VOD movies in 4K in November 2014. Top launch titles included Star Trek (2009) and Transformers: Age of Extinction, along with several nature documentaries and some older movies like Forrest Gump and Amistad. The channel now offers live programming on a limited, event-based schedule, and there are plans to offer a handful of new live 4K Ultra HD channels — including more live sports — in the future, though just when remains a mystery.
Dish Hopper 3, 4K Joey (optional add-on for more than one TV), and compatible 4K Ultra HD TV, Dish Network programming package.
With the introduction of its Hopper 3 hardware and 4K Joey, Dish joined DirecTV in offering 4K content both live and on-demand. As long as you’ve got the equipment, live 4K programming is available on any channel that offers 4K, though that is an admittedly small list at this point. As more channels add 4K programming, you’ll theoretically be able to access it as long as the channel is in your programming package. A fair number of movies are available in 4K on demand as well, at a price of $8 per rental, compared to $3 for standard definition and $7 for high definition.
In August 2018, Dish added Epix’s full catalog of 4K movies to its catalog. This brings titles like Arrival, The Magnificent Seven, Star Trek Beyond, and Transformers: The Last Knight to the service in 4K. You’ll either need to subscribe to Epix for $7 per month or the Dish Movie Pack for $10 a month to get more 4K content.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for in 4K via Dish’s live or on-demand offerings, the company’s hardware also supports Netflix streaming in 4K, though you’ll need a Netflix subscription in order to access it.
Xfinity XG1v4 or select Roku devices, select 4K TVs from LG, Samsung, and Sony.
Comcast premiered its own 4K service in December 2014 with a streaming app. For now, there are limited titles available, most of which fall under the umbrella of Comcast subsidiary NBCUniversal’s library. At first, 4K content was only available from a VOD app for Samsung UHD TVs, but the service eventually released 4K set-top boxes. The service also offers Netflix integration and even includes a subscription in some packages, letting you watch Netflix in 4K via your Xfinity set-top box.
Cost: Free to Xfinity TV customers.
Ultra HD Blu-ray
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, discs, and compatible 4K Ultra HD TV.
A physical format some have dismissed as obsolete in the streaming age, Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and their corresponding players offer the best way to watch 4K Ultra HD content in terms of quality. The platform exhibits fewer artifacts than highly compressed 4K streams and brings along HDR10 and Dolby Vision support (along with Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive sound).
Ultra HD Blu-ray players from Sony, LG, Philips, Panasonic, and others are available, and prices are extremely reasonable. The Xbox One S and Xbox One X are also 4K Blu-ray players that are capable of HDR. Here is a list of Ultra HD Blu-ray titles, as well as more information about 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray.
Number of 4K Blu-ray Titles Available: ~600
Playstation 4 Pro ($400) or Xbox One X ($400) console and 4K UHD TV.
While there’s plenty to watch from the services and platforms discussed so far, it’s not the only form of entertainment your 4K TV can enhance. Enter those who appreciate a truly immersive visual experience: gamers. For this crowd capable of putting some serious screen time in, two 4K- and HDR-compatible consoles now exist on the market: The Playstation 4 Pro and the or Xbox One X. Both offer a marked visual upgrade over their 1080p HD counterparts, though we should note that the PS4 Pro does not support 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, while the Xbox One X does. (The Xbox One S will upscale from 1080.) However, the PS4 does play HD Blu-rays.
All PS4 consoles — Pro or otherwise — support HDR, as do the Xbox One S and Xbox One X.
4K UHD content is an ever-changing, ever-expanding target, so keep an eye on your favorite resource to watch as new titles and shows get added over time. The content is catching up to the technology, but it’s just a matter of time until the two are even more strongly in sync. Don’t forget to follow @experienceUHD on Facebook, @experienceUHD on Twitter and experienceUHD on Instagram to keep up with the latest UHD news, announcements and giveaways from the leaders in the industry.