Where Can I Watch 4K Movies and TV Shows?
Watching your favorite TV shows and movies in 4K is really exciting. Maybe you just got a brand new 4K ultra HD TV and wondered where to get actual 4K movies and TV shows to watch.
4K Ultra HD has four times the amount of pixel of standard HD. It has twice the horizontal pixels and twice the amount of vertical pixels, resulting in a 3,840 x 2,160 resolution that makes 4K one of the sharpest formats on the market.
Although 4K TVs have been available for a couple of years now, there still aren’t a lot of actual 4K movies and TV shows available. Aside from YouTube, 4K today mostly consists of original TV series streaming from Netflix and Amazon. There’re no 4K TV channels in sight, and no 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray players and discs (expected to be available late 2015).
But the good news is that there’re more 4K movies to watch than last year, and your new 4K TV probably has an app or three that can show it for free (as part of your subscription). If your TV doesn’t have the right app, you can buy a new 4K-streaming device, like a Roku 4, to serve up those extra pixels.
Then this guide will help you to find where you can watch 4K content.
Watch 4K Movies and TV Shows on Netflix, Amazon, YouTube & More
The content of 4K movies and TV shows today is growing steadily. Sony released a 4K Ultra HD Media Player which comes preloaded with 4K content that can be viewed using Sony 4K TVs. Samsung also has a 4K Ultra HD Video Pack that can be viewed using Samsung 4K TVs.
Amazon Instant Video
4K Ultra HD content is now available through online streaming providers such as Amazon Video, Netflix, and YouTube. Amazon Prime members can stream movies and TV series in 4K Ultra HD at no additional cost through the Amazon Video app on 4K Ultra HD compatible Smart TVs. If you’re not a Prime Member, start your 30-day free trial to enjoy unlimited streaming of movies and TV shows. Anywhere, anytime. .
A selection of TV shows and movies are available for download or streaming from Amazon. The Instant Video selection is larger than the Prime selection, but there are time restrictions in place for rented videos (rentals can only be watched for 24 hours from starting the film; film must be watched within 30 days of rental). Individual TV episodes cost $3.99, and a package deal for season one of The Blacklist is available for $84.99. Movies cost $24.99-29.99.
Recommended 4K content on Amazon Prime Instant Video:
- Men In Black 3
- The Other Guys
- Lawrence of Arabia
- American Hustle
- Amazing Spider-Man 2
- Better Call Saul
- The Blacklist
- Orphan Black
- Breaking Bad
Amazon’s 4K service comes as part of its Prime subscription, which costs about $99 per year. However, some of the titles –especially movie titles—that Amazon offers in 4K are available for purchase at $19.99 and up.
Netflix is the pioneer of paid streaming 4K services to UHD TVs. They’ve been offering their still rather limited but rapidly growing selection of movies and shows in 4K since April of 2014 and things are only looking brighter down the road now that the company has committed itself to film every new original series or movie it makes in native ultra HD.
Netflix programming currently offers plenty of HDD programing from original shows such as "House of Cards," "Breaking Bad," and "The Black List." Netflix recommends a steady internet connection of 25mbps or faster to stream 4K Ultra HD content.
Recommended 4K content on Netflix:
Originals & Exclusive TV
- House of Cards
- Marco Polo
- Breaking Bad
- The Blacklist
Movies & Documentaries
- The Smurfs 2
- Jerry Macguire
- Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
- Moving Art
- Oceans (documentary)
- Forests (documentary)
- Deserts (documentary)
- Flowers (documentary)
Netflix isn’t all that expensive, at $12.99 per month, you get access to its ultra HD content along with the much, much larger menu of HD entertainment. You will need to purchase the $12.99 package to stream 4k content.
Ultraflix is a 4k movie rental service available on most smart TV platforms. The selection has improved a great deal, and there are now some great (though mostly older) films available for rent. You can expect to pay between $4.99 and $9.99 to rent a studio film, with lower-budget offerings going for a bit cheaper. Rentals are valid for 48 hours.
Recommended 4K content on Ultraflix:
- The Godfather
- Star Trek Into Darkness
- Top Gun
- Kings of Baja
- Napa Valley Dreams
- Pebble Beach
The videos cost $9.99 to rent.
YouTube is the absolute pioneer of 4K video streaming, which supports 4K movies has been offering streaming 4K clips on their website since all the way back in 2010. It’s now possible to upload and watch 4k YouTube videos. The sheer amount of 4k YouTube content is unsurpassed by anything else, though it’s all content uploaded by regular users.
In terms of what they offer, the collection is extremely varied and mostly consists of amateur 4K clips submitted by users of all kinds, though we have found and compiled a list of the best 4k videos we could find on YouTube. Here is another great 4K-specific channel here which features excellent selections of more professional documentary style videos and here is an interesting 4k video channel by Panasonic.
M-Go is a streaming service starting off with a select number of titles with a plan to quickly expand, currently limited to Samsung 4K TVs.
MGO lets you stream purchased and rented films and television shows, and has some content available in 4k. It also now advertises 9 titles as having HDR. Prices vary by title.
Recommended 4K content on M-GO:
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (w/HDR)
- Kingsman: The Secret Service (w/HDR)
- Spy (w/HDR)
- Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
- Home Alone
- Mrs. Doubtfire
Online streaming providers aren’t the only ones getting in on 4K – broadcast service providers joined in as well. DIRECTV recently announced a 4K library of pay-per-view movies and documentaries (currently limited to Samsung 4K TVs).
DirecTV customers who own one of the company’s Genie HD DVR drives and a Samsung 4K TV have access to a selection of some 20 4K ultra HD movies that can be downloaded to the Genie on a rental basis. The DirecTV service is promising to open this services up to other TV brands in the near future and have even launched a 4K satellite in late 2014 as part of plans to launch a massive broadcast 4K transmission service.
Recommended 4K Content on DirectTV
- Transformers: Age of Extinction
- Forrest Gump
- The Ultimate Wave Tahiti
DirecTV subscription, cost of Genie HD DVR and rental cost of individual titles for 49 hours at prices between $3.99 and $15.99.
A few free NBC shows. No word yet on their Xi4 4K set-top box.
You’ll need: A Samsung TV with the Xfinity TV app. More info here.
If you’re a gamer, many games can be played in 3,840×2,160, but you’ll need some serious hardware to do it. Check out how to use your 4K TV as a monitor for more info. It’s also a way to get YouTube (if your TV doesn’t support it) and Vimeo in 4K (which has started to roll out adaptive streaming for all users, and across all their apps early next year).
The future: 4k Blu-rays (Not yet released)
Streaming 4K content has limitations based on bit rate, connection speed, and bandwidth caps, you’ll just need to grab a 4K Blu-ray and pop it into a 4K Blu-ray player to start watching 4K Ultra HD movies. Sometime in 2016 we will see the release of real 4k Blu-rays.
The specs for 4k Blu-rays are yet to be finalized, but at present it is expected that they will hold 66 GB (dual-layer) to 100 Gb (triple-layer), and offer transfer speeds of up to 108 and 128 mbps, respectively. That means they should pack movies and TV shows of much higher quality than can be found in any of the present 4k options.
They will likely only be playable with Blu-ray players that use lasers of a different wavelength than current Blu-ray players, and also that can play files encoded with the HEVC codec. That means current “4k Blu-ray players”, which just upscale regular Blu-rays to 4k, will not be able to play the new discs.