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4K TVs have gone from a luxury to the norm. In 2018, around one-third of U.S. households had a 4K TV, a figure that has probably gone up significantly in the last two years. But while the tech is ubiquitous, finding 4K content to watch 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 live sporting events in 4K and HDR so you can start getting the most out of your new TV.
4K content on streaming services
Aside from Netflix, subscription TV streaming services have been relatively slow to adopt 4K, and most services’ 4K library is limited to their original shows and movies. 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 shell out a few bucks to rent it.
|4K movies||4K shows||HDR support||Dolby Atmos audio|
|Netflix||533||470||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
|Prime Video||97||88||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
|Disney+||119||8||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
|Apple TV+||0||19||Dolby Vision & HDR10|
*According to JustWatch.com, as of 05/20/20
4K movies on Netflix: 533
4K shows on Netflix: 470
Netflix has by far the largest collection of 4K movies and shows 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 for most people.
It added House of Cards in 4K all the way back in 2014, along with a smattering of nature documentaries. Since then, all of its original content has been available in 4K HDR. More recently, Netflix added a handful of older movies like Jerry Maguire, Groundhog Day and Philadelphia 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 1,000+ 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 4K
Price: $9/mo. for Prime Video, $13/mo. or $119/year for full Amazon Prime membership
4K movies on Prime Video: 97
4K shows on Prime Video: 88
Prime Video is another easy way to access 4K movies and shows. Unlike Netflix, though, it only has 185 titles in its library. Many of these are Amazon originals, but you’ll also find a handful of newer movies like Hereditary, High Life and Midsommar 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.
Disney Plus 4K
4K movies on Disney Plus: 119
4K shows on Disney Plus: 8
For many people, Disney Plus will be the best place to go for 4K movies. While it has fewer total than Netflix, they’re the movies that benefit from 4K’s increased resolution the most.
Right now, you can stream all the Star Wars movies, everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Pixar’s entire catalog in 4K HDR. And like Netflix and Prime Video, every original show and movie on Disney Plus is available to stream in 4K.
How to find 4K on Disney Plus: From the main screen, select the Movies section. You can then arrow over to the Ultra HD and HDR category. This will show you every movie in Disney Plus’s 4K library.
Price: $6/mo. with commercials, $12/mo. ad-free
4K movies on Hulu: 16
4K shows on Hulu: 57
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.
Hulu doesn’t support HDR either — arguably more important than the increased resolution — and 4K content is currently limited to “most 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.
Apple TV+ 4K
4K movies on Apple TV+: 0
4K shows on Apple TV+: 19
Like the other services on this list, Apple TV+ makes all of its original shows available in 4K. Right now, that’s a pretty slim list. But Apple is reportedly adding licensed content to its library in the near future, so its 4K lineup could improve considerably.
How to find 4K on Apple TV+: This one’s pretty simple. Everything on Apple TV+ is streamable in 4K HDR. If you have a 4K TV, it will automatically play in the highest possible format.
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.”
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 NOW and HBO GO don’t support 4K
HBO is the last major streaming service without 4K content, eschewing it on both its HBO NOW and HBO GO apps. That’s disappointing, considering that 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.
Will HBO ever add 4K streaming? Probably only with its HBO Max streaming service, but likely not when it launches in May 2020. “4K HDR is a part of the HBO Max product roadmap but we don’t have any additional information to share at this time,” said an HBO spokesperson in November.
4K content on rental services
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.
|4K rental price||Number of 4K titles||HDR support||Dolby Atmos audio|
|iTunes||$3-$6||1,103||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
|Vudu||$3-$6||981||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
|YouTube and Google Play||$4-$8||744||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✘|
|Amazon Instant Video||$4-$8||340||Dolby Vision & HDR10||✔|
According to JustWatch.com, as of 05/20/20
Price: $3 to $6 per rental
Number of 4K movies: 1,103
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.
Price: $3 to $8 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 1,158
Of FandangoNOW’s 15,000+ movies and TV shows, a little over a thousand 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.
Price: $3 to $6
Number of 4K titles: 981
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 you can’t rent movies from Vudu on Apple TV or Amazon’s Fire TV Stick.
How to find 4K on Vudu: Look for 4K, HDR and Dolby Vision badges on movie pages.
YouTube and Google Play 4K
Price: $4 to $8 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 more expensive. Prices go all the way up to $8 for 4K movies — $2 more than the maximum on iTunes and Vudu.
Forrest Gump, for example, cost $8 to rent in 4K on YouTube and Google Play, but only $4 from iTunes and $6 from Vudu and FandangoNOW. Right now, you’re not able to rent movies on Google Play or YouTube using an Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV Stick.
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 4K
Price: $4 to $8 per rental
Number of 4K titles: 340
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 TV channels and sports
Live TV has been slower to adapt to 4K than streaming services. That said, a handful of TV providers have been increasing their offerings in the past year.
A point of emphasis has been 4K sports — a longtime holy grail for fans. 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.
|Sports||HDR support||Dolby Atmos audio|
DIRECTV 4K channels
Channels: 104, 105, 106
Sports covered: NFL, NCAA football
In the past, DIRECTV has aired the NFL’s Thursday Night Football, college football, NBA, MLB, Premier League and PGA events in 4K. Nothing is currently listed, but you can check its 4K schedule for the latest updates. 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 4K channels
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 4K channels
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 4K channels
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 4K channels
Channels: FOX, FS1
Sports covered: NFL, MLB, NCAA football
Currently the only live TV streaming service with 4K channels, 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 4K 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
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 bitrate 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.
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.
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.
Need more for the price?
Try these helpful hacks to improve your internet speed. Or if you just want more bang for your buck, check out providers near you with more speed for the price. Either way, we’ll help you find what you need.View providers near me
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Pro Tip: For best results, use an Ethernet cord to connect your router or modem directly to your device before you run the test.
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. Check out our complete guide for more information on 4K streaming under a cap.
Originally written on 10/8/19. Last updated 05/21/20.
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Written by:Joe Supan
Sr. Staff Writer
Joe oversees all things wireless and streaming for Allconnect, from music services to live TV sites. His streaming service reviews are among the most popular articles on the entire site. … Read more
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