Coinciding with the releases of The Lord of the Rings: The Motion Picture Trilogy and The Hobbit: The Motion Picture Trilogy on Ultra HD Blu-ray, all six movies are now available from digital retailers in Digital 4k UHD.
Fans of the Peter Jackson films, especially The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, have been anxiously awaiting the arrival of the upgraded films to 4k Blu-ray, the disc format that is the choice of many cinephiles and home theater buffs.
But were fans also waiting for the movies to be upgraded in digital as well? Maybe not as much as physical media. The fact all six movies are now streaming in in Digital 4k with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos may have been overlooked.
The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit films are available to purchase digitally as single titles or within Trilogy bundles, or to rent as single titles. So far Apple, Fandango, Google, Microsoft Movies, and Vudu are displaying the titles with the new 4k label and some even feature new image thumbnails. It does not appear Amazon is offering the movies streaming on Prime Video Ultra HD.
What’s great about Apple TV (now separate from iTunes) is the movies are automatically upgraded to 4k HDR if previously purchased or redeemed in HD. This seems to be somewhat true with other retailers, although not consistently.
However, even Apple seems to be still be rolling out the newly upgraded movies. For example, ‘The Return of the King’ only shows as HD, while ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’ and ‘The Two Towers’ both display 4k/HDR/Dolby Atmos labels. [Note: All six films have now been upgraded.]
From The Hobbit Trilogy, ‘An Unexpected Journey’ and ‘The Desolation of Smaug’ show up as 4k/HDR/Atmos and as PURCHASED. However, ‘The Battle of the Five Armies’ shows as 4k in Apple TV but NOT PURCHASED. It is likely things will be sorted out within the next few days in terms of ownership and image/audio formats.