SONY4KYou thought Netflix downloading was choking your network – just wait. Sony unveiled a new OTT video download service, featuring movies in the new 4K HD format. It’s the next generation HD, Ultra HD, providing 4x better resolution than today’s HD and it’s a bandwidth hog. Sony’s 4K movies on their new Video Unlimited 4K download service are between 45GB – 60GB (uncompressed) in size. Realistically though, this service isn’t going mainstream anytime soon.

In order to view these 4K movies, subscribers will have to pay up – significantly so. For Sony’s new 4K download service, subscribers will need to buy a Sony 4K Ultra HD media player for $700, not to mention own a 4K capable TV (or PC). The TVs start at $3K.

The other challenge is content availability. Sony’s 4K service will launch with only 70 titles. Most download services launch with tens of thousands of available titles. This is somewhat underwhelming, but I guess they have to start somewhere. You will have to be a movie fanatic to pay what’s necessary to get access to those 70 titles. Assuming 4K HD is accepted in the marketplace, these numbers will rise accordingly. 4K movie rentals are priced at about $8, or $30 to buy. TV shows will also be available

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Sony is trying to take the lead with 4K HD and announced several new 4K capable TVs, as well as other 4K products. “We have been spearheading the advancement of 4K Ultra HD technology from the start, and have now reached another milestone as promised with the Video Unlimited 4K service going live,” said Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux in a press release.

New compression schemes like HEVC should help reduce the impact of these large movie files, but even compressed, they will be 10GB – 20GB, and HEVC is a way’s off. Stay tuned.

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