A lack of 4k content has surely given pause to potential Ultra HD TV buyers. But today, Sony may have made 4k a bit more tempting with the release of their 4k video download service with over 70 feature films, movies, TV shows, and short-form titles. Sony’s 4k content comes from restoring and remastering films from their original 35mm negatives, as well as newer titles shot using native 4k cameras. While Sony and Panasonic partner to develop a larger capacity disc format, digital files are becoming the norm for viewing higher quality video that’s four-times the resolution of 1080p.
A few popular titles now available in 4k from the Sony download service include Moneyball, Premium Rush, The Guns of Navarone, and episodes of Breaking Bad. Sony said they’ll be increasing the number of available 4k titles to 100 by the end of the year.
How much do the 4k downloads cost? Feature films are priced at $29.99, or $7.99 rental for 24-hours. TV show episodes cost $3.99 each to purchase. (Sony didn’t indicate whether TV shows are available to rent.) As an added bonus for purchasing the titles, customers will also get an UltraViolet digital copy to watch on PCs, tablets or smartphones.
The 4k downloads are only compatible with Sony’s recently released 4K Ultra HD Media Player that sells for $699 (or $499 when purchased with a Sony 4k TV). If you’re already familiar with the FMP-X1, you’ll know the player (which looks a bit like a cross between a film canister and a Mac Mini), features a 2TB hard drive with service to HDMI, USB and SD and ethernet on the back. The FMP-X1 only works with Sony 4k Ultra HD TVs, but comes pre-loaded with 10 movies in 4k resolution.
“We have been spearheading the advancement of 4K Ultra HD technology from the start, and have now reached another milestone as promised with the Video Unlimited 4K service going live,” said Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux.
Sony also announced expansion of their 4k Ultra HD TV line, with the 55-inch XBR-55X850A and 65-inch XBR-65X850A. Those models will be available at select retailers nationwide starting next month for $3,499 and $4,999, respectively.
The new 4k TV models come just after Sony dropped the prices of their XBR-55X900A by $1,000 and the 65-inch XBR-65X900A by $1,500.
NEW YORK, Sept. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Sony today launched the Video Unlimited 4K service, the world’s first and only 4K Ultra HD video download service, with access to an expanding library of native 4K Ultra HD feature films and TV shows.
Beginning with a selection of more than 70 full length native 4K Ultra HD feature films and TV shows from Sony Pictures Entertainment and other notable production houses, Video Unlimited 4K will offer customers the option to rent and purchase content for download on Sony’s 4K Ultra HD Media Player (FMP-X1) for playback on Sony 4K Ultra HD televisions.
About Video Unlimited 4K
Sony Entertainment Network’s Video Unlimited 4K download service is now live, offering feature films, movies, short-form videos and TV shows in native 4K Ultra HD resolution for download to consumers with a Sony Ultra HD Media Player and Sony 4K Ultra HD TV. Feature films and TV episodes have been prepared with the ultimate picture and surround sound quality in mind, carefully optimized for the best viewing experience. Over 70 feature films and TV shows are now available through the service, with a library of more than 100 expected to become available in 4K Ultra HD before the end of the year.
Available now on the service is the hit TV show Breaking Bad, as well as movies including Moneyball, Think Like A Man, Premium Rush, Ghostbusters, The Amazing Spider-Man, Funny Girl, The Guns of Navarone, and many more.
Commenting on the announcement, Chris Cookson, President of Sony Pictures Technologies said, “Sony Pictures has been working in 4K for several years. 4K mastering and restoration allows us to capture and convey more of the information from a film’s original 35mm negative, while new 4K cameras like the F65 offer higher resolution and expanded color palettes to help us create ever-more immersive experiences for audiences in theaters and at home.”
Video Unlimited 4K will feature the hottest new releases for rent or purchase, including upcoming releases like This is the End, After Earth and Elysium. Owners of the Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player (FMP-X1) will receive updated content over the internet, enabling them to rent or purchase the latest entertainment.
The cost for TV episodes is $3.99, while feature films start at $7.99 for a 24-hour rental, or $29.99 for a purchase. Select purchased titles include an UltraViolet™ digital version of the movie or TV show, enabling consumers to further enjoy their content on the go (in high definition or standard definition).
The Video Unlimited 4K download service is now accessible when using the Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player (FMP-X1) with Sony XBR-55X900 and XBR-65X900A Ultra HD TVs and the soon to be shipping XBR-55X850A and XBR-65X850A models.
A program is now available for owners of the Sony 84-inch 4K Ultra HD TV (XBR-84X900) to gain access to the Video Unlimited 4K download service. Details on a program for Sony 4K projector (VPL-VW1000ES) owners will be announced at CEDIA later this month.