What can you watch on a 4K TV?

September 4th, 2015

Appliance News TV, Audio & Electronics TVs

What can you watch on a 4K TV_

It is a truth universally acknowledged that with every new advancement in TV technology, there must also come a matching form of recording media. Digital TV had DVDs, Full HD TVs had Blu-ray discs, and 3D TVs had 3D Blu-rays.

Samsung-UA40JU6400-40-101cm-4K-Ultra-HD-Smart-LED-LCD-TV-front-highSamsung UA40JU6400 40″ 101cm 4K Ultra HD Smart LED LCD TV

But what about the 4K Ultra HD TVs that offer four times the pixels and detail as a Full HD Blu-ray? Can you buy a boxed set of your favourite TV show in Ultra HD? Is there a “4K Movies” section down at the last surviving video shop?

799px-Rogers_Video_store_interior source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Rogers_Video_store_interior.jpgsource: LABcrabs on Wikimedia Commons

Well, no. At the time of writing, Ultra HD is still relatively new technology, and the movie industry hasn’t quite caught up to using this format for home releases just yet. Even if you own a 4K TV, you’ll mostly be stuck watching lower-quality recordings on it, meaning that a lot of the potential picture detail it provides will end up going unrealised.


So to keep you from wasting a lot of money on a new 4K TV that can’t properly use, here’s our quick guide on how you can watch Ultra HD movies and TV shows at home:

Watch movies on disc

Wait, didn’t I just say that there aren’t any 4K movies available on disc? Was I wrong? Am I drunk?

The answers are yes, no, and not yet.

Samsung BD-H8500A 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player 500GB Recorder 1Samsung BD-H8500A 3D Blu-Ray Disc Player 500GB Recorder

The main reason you can’t get 4K movies on regular Blu-ray discs is that these discs have a finite amount of storage space available – nowhere near enough to hold the ridiculous amount of data required to encode a 4K quality movie.


But advancements in digital compression standards mean that in the not too distant future, 4K Blu-ray discs will become available, allowing you watch 4K quality movies and TV shows as easily as you did with your old DVD player.

To watch these discs, it’s possible you may need a special 4K Blu-ray player, but it’s still a quantum leap in the right direction in terms of making absurdly high quality TV easily available to everybody. Panasonic and Samsung have already debuted this new technology, and more examples are expected to follow soon.

4K streaming

At present, the simplest way to legitimately watch 4K entertainment in Australia is to stream it from a TV subscription service. One of the most prominent of these services is Netflix, but there are a range of other streaming services available, though not all of these currently offer 4K programming.


As many 4K TVs are also Smart TVs, it’s usually fairly simple to access these services. Make sure your TV is connected to the internet using Wi-Fi or an Ethernet cable, and use this connection to access the  appropriate streaming service app.

If you don’t have a smart TV, or the service you’re looking for isn’t compatible with your TV model, you may still be able to access it through some other Smart device, such as a Smart Blu-ray player or PVR, or an appropriate set top box. Contact the service providers for the nuts and bolts information.

Oh, and another source of 4K entertainment? YouTube. No, really – the home of the grainy cat video and low-budget webseries also boasts several 4K quality videos available for you to stream straight onto your Ultra HD TV.

However, these Ultra HD videos remain vastly outnumbered by screaming Let’s Plays and makeup tutorials, so your 4K viewing choices remain fairly limited.

One big downside of streaming 4K content is the fact that in many areas, broadband internet speeds aren’t always reliable. When you try to watch Ultra HD movies, you may end up spending more time  watching the “buffering” icon spin infuriatingly in place than enjoying the magnificent resolution. Make sure that your internet service provider offers a stable connection and plentiful downloads before setting up Ultra HD streaming.

4K upscaling

If setting up streaming sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, don’t go demanding your old TV back just yet.

ImagePixels source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:ImagePixels.pngsource: Vanished 1850 at en.wikipedia

If your TV has more resolution than you know what to do with, there’sa good chance it may have a built in upscaling feature, allowing you to artificially enhance the picture quality of  HD or SD entertainment up to a fairly close approximation of 4K detail.

It’s not quite the same as the real thing, but even your old favourite movies will look their best.

Record your own!

Who says you need a lot of professional actors, filmmakers, TV producers and movie studios to enjoy awesome Ultra HD quality entertainment? Just make your own!

Sony FDRAXP35 64GB Internal Flash Memory 4K CamcorderSony FDRAXP35 64GB Internal Flash Memory 4K Camcorder

One snag to this plan – you’ll need a 4K camera. Fortunately, these can be purchased, though they’re not super-common.

Now when you’re filming something in the hope of earning a spot on Australia’s Most Cringeworthy Home Videos, the footage of your surfing dog will be shown in the kind of detail usually reserved for something like Lord of the Rings.

Play games in 4K

If you’re fond of a bit of a frantic button-mashing in front of your TV using your gaming console, a 4K TV could help to make all those graphics look better than ever.


Unfortunately, at the time of writing the current generation of gaming consoles don’t support 4K gaming, so to take full advantage of a 4K TV’s insane picture detail, you’ll need to hook it up to your gaming PC.

Your machine will also need to be a bit of a beast if you want to get those gorgeously-rendered 4K graphics without sacrificing too much precious frame rate.

Do you own a 4K TV? How do you use it? And is there anything you’re looking forward to watching on it in the future?

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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