You’ve shelled out for a snazzy 4K UHD TV, but now you’re worried because you can’t find much 4K content to watch. Don’t fret, tech pioneer, as there’s already plenty of Ultra HD films, TV shows and other 4K video to enjoy on your posh telly.
Let’s rip the plaster off right away though – you’re going to have to pay some serious money for any decent 4K content. Still, you’ve probably already spent a small fortune on your shiny new 4K TV, so it’s surely worth digging a little deeper to get the most out of it, right?
From streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video to physical media like UHD Blu-ray, 4K movie and TV options are finally beginning to flow. Sky is also expected to launch its own 4K video service on Sky Q soon, to join other UHD services like the broadband-based BT Sport offering that’s already available.
You probably already know that 4K, at 3,840 x 2,160 resolution, makes for eye watering, life-like quality when compared to current 1080p efforts. It’s just finding content that’s the tough part. So here’s our guide to what 4K movies, shows and other vids you can enjoy in high-res glory right now.
How to watch 4K video: Netflix
Netflix was one of the first major video streaming solutions to offer UHD content over an internet connection, with its Netflix 4K Ultra HD service. Many shows have already been shot in high enough quality to be watched in 4K and, of course, Netlfix is filming all its original content at this level.
As a result you can pay the top-level subscription fee of £8.99 per month and still enjoy the UHD feed. That means when you open any content that is 4K compatible, on a device that supports UHD, it’ll automatically begin streaming at the highest quality possible.
Shows available include Breaking Bad, Daredevil and House of Cards – to name a few. There are also movies including Star Trek: Into Darkness, World War Z and Skyfall all streaming at UHD 4K right now.
How to watch 4K video: Amazon Prime Instant Video
Never one to be outdone, Amazon’s streaming service also offers UHD shows and films. This comes in a mixed form of included content, with Prime and other items that need to be individually paid for.
Some shows available include Amazon Originals such as Bosch, Alpha House and Transparent but there are also movies like Hitch, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Philadelphia.
An Amazon Prime membership is £79 per year and includes free next day delivery, music, video and more.
How to watch 4K video: UltraFlix
See what this company has done with the name there? Well, that small detail aside, this Netflix wannabe is one of the few streaming offerings out there that allows anyone to buy and download 4K movies. It works on PC, Android devices, Roku and some smart TV platforms including Samsung and Sony. In fact, UltraFlix also claims to be “the world’s largest 4K library”.
Available on UltraFlix are movies including Interstellar, Gladiator, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, Robocop and more. Pricing varies but there are deals like 10 rentals for $29 (about £23), which run from time to time.
How to watch 4K video: YouTube
Staying on the theme of streaming, the video big-dog itself, YouTube, is right there offering 4K videos a plenty. Of course, being YouTube, what you actually get is a bit hit-and-miss. But to be fair, it’s completely free.
Lots of YouTube 4K content is the kind of stuff that’s shot to show off cameras out in nature, which isn’t bad. There’s also some great content like Tears of Steel, which is a sci-fi short film shot in 4K. Then there’s a GoPro Hero4: The Adventures of Life in 4K video that should take your breath away.
If you pop 4K into the YouTube search bar there’s plenty to pick from so it’s well worth a go, but ultimately the paid content appears to be better for quality and ease of discovery.
How to watch 4K video: BT Sport Ultra HD
Sports fans rejoice, BT is airing some of its content in glorious 4K via BT Sport Ultra HD. We say some as it generally airs events once or twice a week. But that still means Champions League football in a quality that can’t be seen anywhere else – in fact BT Sport has the games exclusively so they can only be seen there.
Another great thing about the BT Sport Ultra HD package is that the £15 per month price allows you to watch it on various hardware platforms. It can be streamed online, over a tablet or smartphone, via a YouView set-top box and more. But if you’re a paying full subscriber you’ll get an Ultra HD ready YouView+ set-top box anyway.
Read next: Sky Q vs BT Sport Ultra HD
How to watch 4K video: UHD Blu-ray
Still one of the best ways to watch 4K content is using solid-state discs. Sure this means shelling out for more hardware to play your movies on, but it also means a higher data transfer rate than compressed online streams – for a better final picture.
Bear in mind that Microsoft has announced its next Xbox One S will be able to play 4K Blu-ray when it arrives on August 31. That makes it one of the cheapest players out there, at just £231, with the added bonus that it plays games too.
There is plenty of 4K content already out, with lots more promised to flood the market through the year. Some UHD 4K Blu-ray titles include Deadpool, The Revenant, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Mad Max, X-Men: Apocalypse, The Martian and many more. Pricing is around the £20 mark for each title.