TV manufacturers may still point to 4K as the big, new thing in trying to get you to upgrade your TV, but HDR stands to offer a much bigger jump in quality, offering increased contrast and color depth. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that many networks are already looking toward how they plan to roll out HDR content in the future.
One of these companies is Starz — home of Black Sails, Outlander, Ash vs Evil Dead and many others. While the company is hard at work trying to bring HDR to its viewers, Ray Milius, the company’s executive vice president of programming and operations, told FierceCable that HDR “is still a ways away.” When it does finally come, it likely won’t be via your pay-TV provider, either — at least, not at first.
Instead, Milius said that it is much more likely that HDR will first roll out via its over-the-top (OTT) services, like its TV Everywhere offerings and standalone subscription-based app. The reason is that Starz simply has more control over how content is delivered via its own platform than it does when dealing with various cable and satellite providers.
As is increasingly the case with premium TV channels, Starz has been steadily growing its OTT efforts. In April, the company debuted a stand-alone app for iOS and Android, allowing customers to access its programming either via their cable subscription or a $9 per month fee, which requires no subscription. On Tuesday, the company announced at the Internet & Television Expo that the app’s reach had expanded to include Android TV devices, including many new TV models from Sony, as well as Google’s own Nexus Player.
These devices join Chromecast, Apple TV, and aforementioned mobile apps, while Amazon also offers users the ability to subscribe to Starz for Prime members, as it does with many other channels. In addition to Starz original content and hundreds of movies — including Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year — the app also offers content from sister networks Starz Encore and Movieplex.
While Milius says that Starz doesn’t currently have a firm timeline for when HDR will roll out, it’s a good thing for customers that the platform that will likely see it first is already available in many different places.