The Video Divide: 4K Haves And Have Nots

Courtesy of Black Friday/Cyber Monday pricing, I am the proud owner of a brand new, top-of-the-line 82” Samsung 4K TV set. It is huge, awesome, and amazing. The picture quality is breathtaking. You just run out of superlatives when trying to describe the viewing experience. There’s only one problem. The best 4K content is only available over-the-top (OTT). Regular TV viewers (cable TV customers and antenna users) are simply out of luck.

In fairness, both major satellite providers offer some 4K content. DISH offers Netflix, and DirecTV has a dedicated 4K channel. But satellite TV is not for everyone. I don’t subscribe to either in New York City, so my choices for 4K content are as follows:

  • Amazon Prime (Annual fee + individual rental fees for premium content and movies.)
  • Fandango Now (Rental and purchase. Prices range from $7 to $25.)
  • Hulu (Monthly fee starting at $7.99/month. 4K offerings limited mostly to Hulu originals.)
  • iTunes (Streaming and rentals – prices vary.)
  • Netflix ($13.99/month.)
  • UltraFlix (Rentals. Prices range from $1 to $10.)
  • Vudu (Rental and purchase. Prices range from $10 to $20.)
  • YouTube ($10/month.)

I have an Xbox One X (which supports 4K HDR) – it is mind-blowing! PlayStation 4 Pro is also 4K compatible. (Not surprisingly, it works out-of-the-box with Sony 4K sets. Other 4K HDR sets take a little configuration.)

Comcast is not available in New York City, but its Xfinity service offers a few NBCU titles in 4K on demand.

You will notice that FiOS, my cable television provider, is not listed, nor are Altice and RCN, which are the other franchised providers available my neighborhood. This did not surprise me, because about half of the channels available on FiOS are still offered only in standard definition (480p).

For videophiles, 4K Blu-ray discs are probably the very best quality experience, but it’s only for pre-recorded material (obviously) and, more importantly, do you really want to invest in another “guaranteed to be obsolete sooner than later” physical media collection?

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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

Shelly Palmer ...

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