4K TV is here, and there is no getting around it! I’m forever fighting off comments that there is no content available for 4K televisions, however these comments are becoming less frequent thankfully! None the less, there seems to still be a great deal of uncertainty around what services are available in the format.
In this article I will give a small run down on the more popular options available in the UK.
First up we have a keen favourite, Netflix.
Netflix is a subscription based service coming in at £8.99 per month for the 4K content (the cheaper £6.99 option is still fantastic but sadly only offers 1080p). The content on Netflix is easily some of the best around, with huge block busters like Spiderman and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, plus a huge amount of Netflix’ own series such as the incredibly successful Breaking Bad series which is even more brutal in 4K so beware! Dare Devil and the hugely popular House of Cards. Certainly a keen contended for where your money should go.
Next up with have online shopping giant, Amazon’s Prime video service. Coming in at a very respectable £79 per year or £7.99 per month, the service also includes unlimited next day prime delivery which on its own is a a fantastic service if like me you enjoy a good Amazon binge. Unlike Netflix, Amazon does not offer a tiered service, whereby you can pay extra for 4K video. The £7.99 pack will feature it whether you want it there or not, which is always nice. Amazon does offer the hugely popular Top Gear reincarnation, The Grand Tour” in 4K which does look amazing, and really makes you question how old these chaps really are, no wrinkle goes unseen in 2160p! Unfortunately Amazon are a little more cheeky – the featured 4K videos on Amazon Prime are very mundane new American sitcoms featuring actors you may have never heard of, now I can’t speak for everybody but this wasn’t up my street. The quality was tip top but the content was very dull. I was a little saddened to find when I wanted to watch some 4K featured movies I was offered only the option to rent such titles at a HUGE premium, albeit Amazon does offer a very good 1080p category but thats not what I’m here to discuss. For me, The Grand Tour just wasn’t worth the £7.99 price tag and I swiftly cancelled my subscription.
Maybe movies and series are not what you’re after, so what about 4K live TV?
Well thanks to BT Sports and SKY Q that is easily possible, again at a price.
Now let me quickly clear something up. For a programme to be broadcast in 4K, it has to be filmed in 4K, and 4K cameras are not cheap. Unfortunately the production company behind the likes of Coronation Street and Jeremy Kyle don’t quite have the budget for them (thank God) so for the foreseeable future its going to be major sporting events and movies/series. BT Sports do have the monopoly at the minute with 4K sports – broadcasting tennis, football and rugby all in beautiful 2160p. Sky Q have confirmed they will be broadcasting the entire F1 season this year which will look spectacular. Each service as you can imagine does not come cheap. I can’t give you an accurate quote but be prepared to tighten those purse strings if you do sign up.
Lastly we have 4K Blu-ray, the format for those of you who want the best video, the best sound, the best everything. I’ve spent years streaming movies, but you really can’t beat the quality of a Blu-ray disc. Now these are still relatively new, with UHD Blu-ray players only coming out just over a year ago, but the good news is the prices are beginning to drop, and with companies like Xbox squeezing one in to the new ONE S system, it won’t be long before most households have one tucked underneath their televisions. As this is a relatively new format of media, movies can be quite scarce and for now only seem to be available online, but that is to be expected – in a number of years there will be a huge catalogue to choose from and companies like CEX will offer second hand alternatives for a very reasonable price.
So there is the small list of the most popular 4K video sources in the UK at the moment, but there are many more planned for the future, with companies like Virgin and Now TV promising 4K boxes this year, its looking like 2017 is going to be a good year for the format!
So please cast this ‘no content’ mindset aside and have a look around as there is plenty of content available, and plenty more to come in the near future.
Author: Garrett, Plymouth store