The good news: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment announced today that its new 4K Ultra HD movie streaming service Ultra will debut on April 4 for Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs with Android TV in the U.S.
The bad news: only about a fifth of Americans have the potential to enjoy the service in 4K.
According to a report released last September by cloud services provider Akamai, only 21% of U.S. homes have internet speeds of 15 Mbps or higher, which is considered considered the minimum necessary to properly stream 4K video.
For that 21% with sufficiently speedy connections — and Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs — Ultra will offer a selection of movies for purchase and playback in 4K Ultra HD, many of which will come with High Dynamic Range (HDR) and digital extras at no additional charge.
Available films will include new releases such as “Concussion,” “The Night Before” and “The Walk,” along with library titles including “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon” and “Ghostbusters,” priced at $30 for purchase in 4K with HDR. 4K Ultra HD provides four times the resolution of HDTV, and HDR has a wider range of color and contrast.
There will be no titles available for VOD rental at launch.
Customers who purchase eligible Sony 4K Ultra HD televisions this summer will receive four complimentary movies when they sign up for the Ultra service, which was first announced at CES in January. Sony Pictures Store customers who already own HD versions of select titles can upgrade them to 4K on Ultra at a discounted price.