What streaming services are 4K compatible
February 7, 2020
With more and more devices offering incredible picture quality, 4K streaming is becoming more available every day. However, not every streaming platform offers their content in 4K, and those that do may have limited offerings. Learn how to compare your 4K streaming options both in quality and price so you can choose the best subscriptions for your viewing preferences.
|Streaming service||Best for||Starting price||Service type||Free trial available?|
|Amazon Prime Video||Current Amazon Prime members||$12.99||Streaming||Y|
|Netflix||A variety of shows||$8.99||Streaming||Y|
|Disney+||Fans of Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars||$6.99||Streaming||Y|
|Hulu||Live TV lovers||$5.99||Streaming||Y|
|Vudu||Movie fans||$0.99/movie rental||Streaming||N|
|DISH||On Demand viewers||$59.99||Cable Subscription||N|
|DirecTV||Sports fanatics||$59.99||Cable Subscription||N|
|Xfinity||One-stop viewers||$50.00||Cable Subscription||N|
Compare 4K streaming services
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Prime Video offers a wide selection of 4K streaming content and if you want to watch something that’s not included with your membership, it’s easy to rent or buy exactly what you’re looking for. Plus, you get Amazon Original programming with favorites like The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Patriot, and Fleabag.
Many people already qualify for Amazon Prime Video because it automatically comes with an Amazon membership. If you regularly order online from the retail giant, then it’s virtually free because you’re already using the service. But if you don’t already subscribe to Amazon Prime, make sure there are enough of your favorite shows and movies to warrant the additional cost, even with 4K streaming.
You can stream 4K shows through Netflix, as long as you meet a few key requirements. First, your internet speed needs to be at least 25 Mbps. Also, while a basic Netflix plan starts at $8.99 per month, you won’t gain access to 4K streaming at that level.
Instead, you’ll need to pay $15.99 for the Premium Plan in order to take advantage of this service. Still, Netflix has a comprehensive offering of both original and syndicated content that just might make it worth the extra cost.
Disney+ brings a lot of popular brands to one singular streaming platform — with many options available to watch in 4K Ultra HD. In addition to unlocking most of the Disney vault, this streaming service also includes the Marvel and Star Wars universes, including the new original series, The Mandalorian.
If you’re set on seeing Baby Yoda with your own eyes, signing up for Disney+ is the way to do it. On the other hand, viewers who aren’t fans of any of these franchises are better off spending their streaming dollars elsewhere.
Hulu recently re-released its 4K streaming options, with most Hulu original series available in this resolution. People who like to keep up with live television series without subscribing to cable find a lot of favorites on Hulu, and the platform is also building a quality library of originals (like The Handmaid’s Tale and Casual.
On top of that, you can add a live TV option to your plan, although it jumps the price range from $54.99 to $60.99 depending on whether or not you want ads.
Stream the latest movies in 4K Ultra HD with Vudu without having to download anything. Rather than paying a monthly subscription, you pay by the movie, either by renting or purchasing each one. Some movies are available for free, but most you’ll pay between $0.99 and $5.99 to rent and between $4.99 and $24.99 to purchase.
DISH service allows you to watch live television through satellite and also incorporates Netflix (although you’ll need a separate membership for that). There’s also a growing content library of 4K programming on demand. While definitely a pricier option, DISH stands out in that you don’t need super-fast internet speed in order to watch in 4K.
Not only does DirecTV offer certain on-demand movies in 4K, but you can also watch certain live sports in 4K Ultra HD as well. You’ll also find blockbusters, IMAX movies, documentaries, concert events, and original programming available in this picture quality. On the downside, not all DirecTV plans come with 4K. Choose at least the SELECT plan option to qualify.
XFINITY X1 customers can access the company’s 4K options, which include free content as well as rentals and purchases. You can browse all of these choices on the 4K landing page either by navigating there with the remote control or using voice search with your X1 Voice Remote.
You can structure your plan in a few different ways. One option is to just use XFINITY streaming and opt out of live TV; obviously, this is the cheapest choice. But one of the benefits is that you can integrate your other streaming platforms (like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video) all in one place. Alternatively, you can also add on live TV and other premium channel subscriptions for a higher price point.
Frequently asked questions about 4K streaming
What is 4K resolution?
4K resolution refers to a high definition of 3840 x 2160 pixels on large-screen televisions. At movie theaters, you may have seen 4K resolution on the silver screen with a ratio of 4096 x 2160. When you multiply each set of numbers together, you get the number of pixels on the screen. That means you’re less likely to have a pixelated picture and can enjoy a crisp quality even in your home.
What is 4K TV?
A 4K television has a capacity of four times more pixels compared to a traditional full HD television. This type of TV comes in all different sizes, but can especially be enjoyed on larger options ranging between 40 inches and 65 inches without seeing any pixelation occurring.
What is 4K Ultra HD?
4K Ultra HD is another name for 4K resolution. It refers to the same amount of pixels on the screen and demonstrates that the picture quality goes well beyond a typical HD television.
The bottom line
As the best 4K streaming devices become more readily available to the masses, it’s time to make sure your streaming services keep up with your new technology. In addition to comparing content, compare your 4K options as well in order to get the clearest picture possible.