Sony has finally delivered on a promise it started making as far back as CES 2013. During an event held today at Lincoln Center in New York, Sony announced that its Video Unlimited 4K service is now live with 70 full length native 4K Ultra HD feature films and TV shows ready for rent and download. By the end of the year, we can expect that number to go up to 100. For the time being, this is the first and only service of its kind.
Titles available for download now include Breaking Bad, The Amazing Spider-Man, Moneyball, and Think Like A Man. Forthcoming titles include This is the End, After Earth and Elysium. Presently, the content can only be downloaded by owners of Sony’s 4K Ultra HD media player, the FMP-X1, which works exclusively with Sony’s 4K TV’s, including the newly-announced XBR-55X850A and XBR-65X850A. A solution for Sony’s 4K projectors is scheduled to be announced at the CEDIA convention later this month. Sony has not mentioned whether the forthcoming Playstation 4 will be able to access the content.
A 24-hour TV show rental will cost $4.00, whereas a 24-hour movie rental comes in at $8.00. Movie purchases will cost $30.00 and include an UltraViolet digital copy for use with portable media devices. According to a Sony representative, a 2-hour 4K movie download will eat up about 40 GB of storage. With 2 TB of storage on board, the FMP-X1 can hold approximately 50 movies, though its capacity can be expanded with an external hard drive.
Downloads of that size will spell trouble for those with any kind of data caps associated with their broadband Internet service. And for those with slower download speeds, such file sizes will mean for a long wait until the movie is ready to be viewed. Still, this development will likely come as good news to those who have been waiting for access to a sizable catalog of native 4K content.