4K playing and streaming


Is there a site that breaks all this down?

There seems to be a huge … information gap as to how you get 4K to work today. Or maybe i’m just dumb, but looking the last few days has left me more confused. And so…

How is babby 4K formed?

How do you look up 4K movie disk rentals? Or is this even possible? It looks like Netflix has changed its delivery service into “DVD.com” or something?

What platform streams what content? So it looks like the PS4 streams 4K… sometimes? Maybe Netflix? But not Amazon Prime? I know the Apple TV streams 4K, but not Netflix? But does 4K Amazon Prime? And even then, i’m not sure i’m actually getting 4K streams the few times i’ve done it with programs that i’m pretty sure should be 4K, like Grand Tour, which is why i’m interested in 4K delivery services… if they exist.

Can i buy 4K video from Sony? I know i can with Apple.

There are other services i don’t use like Hulu that supposedly stream in 4K… what about other apps like HBO Go (or HBO Now?) or BBC America or other services? Is there some consolidated list as to which apps stream 4K on which platforms?


Most content isn’t available in 4K Bluray form even if you find a rental service. HBO Go doesn’t do 4K, neither does VRV. Netflix and Amazon Prime do but I don’t know what’s supported other than PC because I only have 4K on my PC. I am not sure about other services but I don’t think most of them offer it. Even on Netflix it’s basically just Netflix-produced content that’s in 4K with a few exceptions. I assume this is also true of Amazon.

(And PC 4K support has a bunch of restrictions because of the DRM they use.)


Amazon 4k is weird. Sometimes the 4k is listed as a separate title. Sometimes you can’t watch it on PC, only on the Fire TV (or viceversa). Just saw a complaint recently, I can’t remember the title thought.

Netflix has most of the 4k content. It has a separate section. Note you have to pay for the “Ultra HD” which is a couple bucks more.


Always. You have to be careful to check that it says UHD or you just get the standard version, and they make it pretty hard to find the UHD-only section. But really it’s only a handful of originals, unless you’re paying VoD. Netflix is a lot better on that front — you always get the highest quality version your sub has access to, and there’s a much wider range of 4K originals.

It’s also going to be dependent on the device you’re playing back on — it needs to be 4K capable and the specific app also needs to allow it on that device. Don’t know what PS4 (Pro presumably) apps allow it, but for instance Google Play only allows 4K on Chromecast (and maybe PC?). Personally I just use my LG TV’s apps as Google aside it allows 4K HDR on every service that does it.

From what I understand, if you’re buying/renting movies, your best bet is AppleTV.
On DVD rentals, don’t know about Netflix, but Cinema Paradiso over here lets you select preferences for disc types when multiple versions are available, one of which is 4K BluRay. In practice I’ve only had a couple show up that way.


Looks like there’s a couple of services that do this.

That’s one. Looks like you rent movies for $7 each, or you can pay $8 a month, and rent them for $2 each, one disc at a time, unlimited rentals.

Another one is


In that page there’s several subscription rental options, with different options on how many discs at a time you can have out, and how many you can rent a month. The lowest being $9 a month for a limit of 2 per month, one disc at a time, all the way up to $40 a month for 3 discs at a time with a limit of 15 a month.


Be wary of trying to get 4K content on Google Play. If you’ve already bought the title in SD or HD, you cannot buy it in UHD. You must contact customer support to get the title refunded, then repurchase in UHD. Cuz they are fucking idiots.

On the other hand, Apple, in an astonishingly out of character customer-friendly move, were upgrading people’s HD digital content to 4K equivalents for free, at least for awhile there.


If the movie comes from a studio in Movies Anywhere, that will get you the 4k version on iTunes for free.


Which I have abused mightily :)


Overall Netflix wins - 4K streamed by default if you subscribe to that tier. Also relatively easy to find or spot content.

Prime is ok. Content is labelled. But on my Sony the black bars are, frustratingly, grey instead of black. I tried tech support and they’re dumb.

For movie rentals - Google Play seems ok, but availability is mixed. Google really needs to work on its whole movie and TV system. The prices are generally too high, selection is not great, and no consistency on format / availability of what they do have. Every item is randomly one of 1) 4K can be purchased only, 2) 4K can be purchased or rented, 3) HD purchase only, 4) HD can be rented, 5) 4K purchase and 1080 rental.

For movie purchases - Apple still seems to win due to not charging extra for 4K. Need the Apple TV though.


Streamed by default -if- you have that tier, and are using a supported app and have an HDCP 2.2 compatible display and cable, and on PC, have a certain generation of Intel CPU or better (I am one behind) or an Nvidia 10 series or better GPU (this I have) and it doesn’t tell you which of these is missing if it’s not defaulting to 4K. But yeah, it’s probably still the best implementation. Sigh.


Vudu is another option for high quality 4K/HDR movies. Many TV’s these days have a Vudu app built in. The company is owned by Walmart.


Yeah, Vudu is my preferred UHD movie source. I’ve found their bitrates to be typically higher than competing services. Best chance to get HDR as well.