Depending on your age, you may recall the first person on your block to get a VCR, the first to connect to the Internet, or the first person to take a “selfie” with a smartphone. Now you can be the first person with a 4K TV—however, content still remains on the scarce side, but there is a handful of ways to get 4K into your home.
In order to do this, you’ll need a 4K monitor, TV or projector, and possibly a special media device or a 4K-capable video camera. Why bother? 4K Ultra HD has essentially four times the pixel density of 1080p. It’s 2160p, or 3840 x 2160. Given the leap in quality from standard definition to 1080p, just imagine the crisp visuals of native 4K content on a 4K display. That being said, the main hurdles are price and availability of content. Here are your current options:
You can watch Ghostbusters (and 70 other films)
This requires a Sony 4K UHD TV and a Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player. The player comes with 10 feature films in 4K, and Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service offers more than 70 full-length 4K films and TV shows, with selections like Breaking Bad, Taxi Driver, and others. More than 100 titles are expected to be available by the end of this year.
Save a buck and just watch the free Sony videos
You can check out the free 4K demo videos at Sony Video Unlimited, as well as more than 50 indie films, sports clips, and live music programs. However, this also requires a Sony 4K UHD TV and the Ultra HD Media Player.
Watch an 8-minute video about Mexico on Netflix
Netflix is currently testing a 4K clip titled “El Fuente.” The short video is available through their instant streaming library at several different frame-per-second (fps) rates. The company has said they hope to roll out a lot more 4K content for streaming within the next year.
Shoot it yourself
One way to go 4K is to watch footage shot with a Blackmagic Production Camera 4K or a GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition.
Get a REDRay
You can use a REDRay media player to send a native 4K or up-converted HDTV signal to a UHD TV. The player is also compatible with 3D media, and RED offers online content distribution through their Odemax.com network.
There’s an app for that
You can watch footage shot with an Acer Liquid S2 or Samsung Galaxy Note 3 smartphone. The Note features a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera capable of filming video in 4K at 30 fps.
If you’re in Europe, you can check out the Eutestat 10A, the first dedicated 4K UHD channel.
These are some of the ways you can get 4K video into your home now, but the future of the format is highly speculative. However, with the development of High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC), watching large 4K files over the Internet should become a reality, since it requires half the bit rate compared to older coding formats. This means there’s even greater promise for 4K in your home. In the future, content will most likely come from digital distribution, disc-based physical formats and broadcast TV. So once you’ve got your 4K TV and more movies and shows become available, you’ll be all set. And your friends will remember you as the first on your block to have 4K.