Trying to watch 4K content? Here’s where you can find movies, shows and sports

Joe Supan
JS
Joe Supan
Oct 8, 2019

4K TVs have gone from a luxury to the norm.

You can get one for less than $300 on Amazon right now, and it’s been near impossible for years to buy a new TV that isn’t 4K.

But while the tech is ubiquitous, finding the 4K content still feels like a not-particularly-fun scavenger hunt. In this guide, we’ll walk you through all your options for watching movies, TV shows and sporting events in 4K and HDR so you can start getting the most out of your new TV.

4K streaming services

Aside from Netflix, subscription TV streaming services have been relatively slow to adopt 4K, and most services’ 4K library is limited to originals. If you’re looking for a specific title in 4K that wasn’t originally produced by one of these services, you’ll probably have to pay a few bucks to rent it.

Number of 4K titles*HDR supportDolby Atmos audio
Netflix729Dolby Vision & HDR10
Prime Video116Dolby Vision & HDR10
Hulu82
EPIX NOWUnknown
CuriosityStream48
HBO NOW/GO0

Netflix

Price: $16/mo.
Number of 4K titles: 729

Like many things, Netflix has been way ahead of the curve when it comes to 4K content. It added House of Cards in 4K all the way back in 2014, along with a smattering of nature documentaries.

Today, it has the largest collection of 4K titles of any streaming service. You’ll have to upgrade to the $16/mo. Premium plan to get them, but for now, Netflix is the simplest way to watch movies and TV shows in 4K.

How to find 4K on Netflix: Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t make it especially easy to actually find its 4K content. 4K titles will have an “UltraHD” icon, and there is usually a “4K Ultra HD” category on the home page, but this has only a fraction of Netflix’s 700+ titles in 4K.

Simply searching “4K” or “UHD” will also bring up around 40 of Netflix’s most recent and popular 4K titles, but this is well short of a complete list, too.

As for HDR, you will see a logo next to the title’s description — HDR if your TV uses HDR10 and a Dolby Vision logo if your TV uses Dolby Vision HDR.

For an up-to-date and complete listing of 4K content on Netflix, we recommend using JustWatch.com. Under the price filter, you’ll find a button for 4K. From there, you can narrow down your search further with filters like release year, genre and IMDb or Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Prime Video

Price: $9/mo. for Prime Video, $13/mo. or $119/year for full Amazon Prime membership
Number of 4K titles: 116

Prime Video is another easy way to access 4K movies and shows. Unlike Netflix, though, it only has 116 titles in its library. Many of these are Amazon originals, but you’ll also find a handful of newer movies like Hereditary, First Reformed and You Were Never Really Here in 4K.

How to find 4K on Prime Video: Just look for rows labeled “4K UHD” or “4K HDR.” Like Netflix, you can also search for “4K” within Prime Video to bring up a more complete list. If you want to see everything Prime Video offers for 4K content, check out JustWatch.com’s list.

Hulu

Price: $6/mo. with commercials, $12/mo. ad-free
Number of 4K titles: 82

Compared to Netflix and Amazon, Hulu has dragged its feet when it comes to 4K content. It offered a handful of originals in 4K in 2016, but abruptly pulled the option two years later. Then, in July 2019, it added them back. Unfortunately, you can only access Hulu’s 4K titles with two streaming devices: Apple TV (5th generation or later) and Chromecast Ultra.

Hulu doesn’t support HDR either — arguably more important than the increased resolution — and 4K content is currently limited to Hulu originals. For now, Hulu offering 4K content is more of a technicality than a reality.

How to find 4K on Hulu: Just look for the originals. Hulu doesn’t label any of their content as “4K,” but it’s currently limited to these. Hulu says that it will automatically play in the highest format supported by your TV.

EPIX NOW

Price: $6/mo.
Number of 4K titles: Unknown

EPIX NOW was the first of the smaller streaming services to add 4K to its library. Unfortunately, it doesn’t currently support HDR, so the quality won’t be as eye-popping as Netflix or Prime Video’s 4K content.

How to find 4K on EPIX NOW: Look for 4K categories in the EPIX NOW app or search “4K.”

CuriosityStream

Price: $70/year
Number of 4K titles: 48

CuriosityStream is the outlier in this group. In its own words, it specializes in “geekumentaries,” and its 4K content is limited entirely to nonfiction.

How to find 4K on CuriosityStream: Look for the category called “The World in 4K.” This has all of CuriosityStream’s 4K content.

HBO doesn’t support 4K on either of its services

HBO is the last major streaming service without 4K content, eschewing it on both its HBO NOW and HBO GO apps. Will HBO ever go 4K? We’d hope so. Big-budget, special effects-heavy shows like Game of Thrones and Westworld are some of the most popular on TV, and they would benefit a ton from 4K and HDR technology.

For now, HBO says it is “exploring what it will take to support these formats in the future.” Hopefully that happens sooner than later.

4K movie rentals

Right now, rental streaming services offer some of the largest selections of 4K movies. If you have a specific movie in mind that you want to watch in 4K — particularly if it’s a new release — this is your best bet. You’ll usually pay around $6 to rent a movie in 4K and $20 to buy a digital copy. Here is every streaming service that currently rents movies in 4K.

Number of 4K titles*HDR supportDolby Atmos audio
iTunes822Dolby Vision & HDR10
FandangoNOW760HDR10
Vudu652Dolby Vision & HDR10
YouTube/Google Play569HDR10
Amazon Instant Video167Dolby Vision & HDR10

iTunes

Price: $4 to $6 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 822

Probably the best way to watch movies in 4K, iTunes is unfortunately only available to viewers who stream through an Apple TV 4K ($179). But if you fall into that camp, look no further: iTunes has the largest collection of 4K titles of any rental service, plus it supports both HDR formats and Dolby Atmos audio.

How to find 4K on iTunes: There’s no specific section for 4K content on iTunes, but all 4K movies have a clear “4K HDR” label on them. If you want to browse exclusively 4K, just search “4K.” But if it’s been released in the past few years, it’s probably available in 4K HDR on iTunes.

FandangoNOW

Price: $4 to $8 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 760

Of FandangoNOW’s 90,000 movies and TV shows, 760 of them are available in 4K, including almost all of its new releases. And unlike iTunes, it works with just about every streaming device, gaming console and smart TV.

How to find 4K on FandangoNOW: Like most streaming services, there’s no great way to single out 4K content on FandangoNOW. You can simply search “4K” or click on a title to see its video options. But as a rule of thumb, if it’s new, it’s probably available in 4K.

Vudu

Price: $4 to $8
Number of 4K titles: 652

Vudu offers a solid collection of 4K movies, with almost every new release available. It also works with both HDR formats, Dolby Vision and HDR10, plus Dolby Atmos audio. Unfortunately Vudu isn’t compatible with two major streaming devices: Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.

How to find 4K on Vudu: Look for 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision badges on movie pages.

YouTube/Google Play

Price: $4 to $6 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 569

Google Play and YouTube share the exact same selection of 4K movies. They’re similar to the other services on this list, but movies are often much cheaper. Like iTunes, prices top out at $6, even for brand new movies. Men in Black: International, for example, cost $6 to rent in 4K on YouTube and Google Play, but $8 from FandangoNOW, Vudu and Amazon Instant Video. Unfortunately, it’s not available on Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Sticks.

How to find 4K on YouTube/Google Play: Search “4K” or look for titles with the 4K badge. You can also see a complete list here.

Amazon Instant Video

Price: $4 to $8 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 167

While Amazon Instant Video has far fewer 4K movies than the other rental services on this list, its selection of new releases is as strong as any of them. The only major streaming device it doesn’t work with is Apple TV.

How to find 4K on Amazon Instant Video: More than any other service, the 4K titles are exceedingly easy to find. There’s an entire category dedicated to 4K movies and shows, with specific genres and purchasing options within it. Unfortunately, you can’t search by HDR specifically. If you want to know what’s available on Dolby Vision and HDR10, you’ll have to actually click the title and look for the badge.

4K sports

One of the holy grails for 4K adopters has long been live sports. The increased resolution and high dynamic range would do wonders for picking up the small details in games.

“It just adds to the bigness of the game,” FOX Sports SVP of Field & Technical Operations Michael Davies told us on the launch of Thursday Night Football in 4K. “To see the speculars on the helmets and the detail on the audience gives a much more vibrant experience…When we go in for those really tight shots of emotion, you can see much more of the face hidden in the shadows.”

It’s still relatively rare to catch live sports in 4K, but the list is getting longer every month. Here is every option for 4K sports right now.

SportsHDR supportDolby Atmos audio
DIRECTVNFL NCAA footballHLG
DISH NetworkOlympics FIFAHLG
OptimumNFL MLB NCAA football
XFINITYNFL NCAA football Premier League
fuboTVNFL MLB NCAA footballHDR10
FOX appsNFL MLB NCAA footballHLG

DIRECTV

Channels: 104, 105, 106
Sports covered: NFL, NCAA football

DIRECTV currently lists the NFL’s Thursday Night Football and various college football games on its 4K schedule. In the past, it’s also aired regular NBA, MLB, Premier League and PGA events, but nothing is listed for those sports currently. If you want to watch sports in 4K through DIRECTV, just keep an eye on channel 106.

In addition to DIRECTV’s lineup of sporting events in 4K, you can also rent a number of 4K movies, and they’re typically as good of a price as you’ll find anywhere else.

DISH Network

Channels: 540, on-demand content
Sports covered: Olympics, FIFA

DISH’s 4K sports lineup is much more limited than DIRECTV’s. In the past, it has regularly played NCAA football and MLB games, but nothing is on the schedule currently.

Aside from sporting events, DISH has a bunch of on-demand content available in 4K, including EPIX’s entire catalogue. To access DISH’s 4K content, you can use either a Hopper 3 or 4K Joey box, but if you want HDR, too, you’ll need a Hopper 3. If you’ve had DISH for a while, that might require replacing some old equipment, which could add on to your monthly bill.

Optimum

Channels: 200
Sports covered: NFL, MLB, NCAA football

Optimum has one of the best 4K sports lineups around. You can catch every Thursday Night Football game, one high-profile college football game each week and all of the MLB American League Championship games. You can also access 4K content on-demand from the Smithsonian Channel and TV Land (though it remains to be seen whether we need The Brady Bunch in 4K).

You’ll need an Altice One cable box to access 4K content from Optimum, which costs $20/mo.

XFINITY

Channels: FOX, FS1, NBC, NBC Sports
Sports covered: NFL, NCAA football, Premier League

Like all of these providers, you’ll need a special box set to access XFINITY’s 4K content: the X1 TV Box. Once you have that, you’ll get a number of sporting events in 4K, including Thursday Night Football, one college football game every week and regular Premier League matches (although these are not broadcast in HDR).

fuboTV

Channels: FOX, FS1
Sports covered: NFL, MLB, NCAA football

Currently the only live TV streaming service to air channels in 4K, fuboTV has a robust selection of live sports, including Thursday Night Football, one college football matchup every week and much of the MLB playoffs. In the past, it’s also carried Premier League soccer matches. You won’t need to pay extra for equipment or added fees, either — 4K channels are included in fuboTV’s $55/mo. price of admission.

FOX apps

One of the biggest leaps forward for 4K sports in recent memory, anyone who gets FOX through their TV provider can now watch the NFL, MLB, and college football and basketball in 4K. All you’ll need is to download the FOX Sports or FOX Now app on a 4K-compatible streaming device and log in with a participating TV or streaming service provider. For more detailed instructions, check out our guide to accessing FOX’s 4K offerings here.

Other sources for 4K content

While streaming, satellite and cable providers are quickly becoming the most popular ways to access 4K content, there are a couple of standbys that have been bringing 4K HDR to TVs for years.

4K Blu-rays

One of the best ways to guarantee you’re watching in the highest possible format, 4K Blu-rays are a tried and true method for watching 4K movies. Because their bit rate is as much as 10 times that of streaming, you’ll get much smoother and sharper video.

You’ll need a 4K Blu-ray player to watch them (around $100) and new 4K discs usually start at $30, so it’s not the cheapest endeavor. But if you’re really looking to get the most out of your new 4K TV, it’s an option worth considering.

YouTube

If you just want to show off what your new TV can do, YouTube is an excellent place to find free 4K HDR eye candy. Accounts like the HDR Channel and Jacob + Katie Schwarz are known for their mind-blowing nature videos, but simply searching “4K” or “HDR” will bring up plenty of impressive videos.

4K FAQs

When will TV stations broadcast in 4K?

While cable and satellite providers have been dipping their toes into 4K waters, we’re probably still a long way away from the majority of TV stations being broadcast in 4K. While more cable companies like Optimum and XFINITY are building 4K compatibility into their box sets, the problem is still that networks aren’t producing content in 4K. For the most part, the equipment is ready; the content is not.

In May 2019, the FCC began approving applications from TV stations to start switching to ATSC 3.0, the latest set of standards for over-the-air broadcasting, which can support 4K video. That said, no TVs currently support ATSC 3.0, and likely won’t until at least 2020. And once they do, broadcasters will still need to start producing TV in 4K — a major roadblock.

What internet speed do I need for 4K streaming?

You need about 25 Mbps of download speed to stream in 4K HDR. Every streaming service recommends slightly different speeds, but 25 Mbps will leave you plenty of wiggle room.

For most people, this should be no problem: According to Speedtest.net, Americans receive 120 Mbps on average. Not sure what you’re currently getting? Use our speed test below to find out. If it’s near the 25 Mbps mark, it might be time to upgrade before you start streaming in 4K.

Does 4K streaming eat up your data?

If you have a data cap on your home internet plan, 4K streaming could take up a bigger chunk of your monthly data than you might expect. You’ll get around 89 hours of 4K video streaming for every 1 TB of data, but for most houses, 4K streaming isn’t the only thing using an internet connection. For more information on 4K streaming under a cap, check out our complete guide here.

To keep up with the latest 4K news, check back on our Resource Center or follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

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