Sony Corp. this week officially started to sell its FMP-X1 media player/streamer that supports output in 4K ultra high-definition resolution. Besides, the company revealed pricing of movies in 3840*2160 resolution for download and for rental. While the price of 4K UHD televisions is extremely high nowadays, the costs of the player and movies are comparable to those of Blu-ray hardware and software early in the lifecycle.
Sony FMP-X1 4K ultra-high-definition (UHD) media player/streamer with integrated 2TB hard disk drive (supports external hard drive with USB 2.0 connection) is now available for $699.99 from Sony’s online store, which is comparable to high-end Blu-ray players around seven years ago. The player comes pre-loaded with ten 4K UHD movies, each of which costs $29.99 separately, so the value of the FMP-X1 is pretty high.
Separately, Sony unveiled pricing of downloadable 4K movies: $29.99 to buy and $7.99 to rent. Given the fact that each 4K movie requires around 100GB of hard drive space, it will be impossible to store a lot of such movies on 2TB.
Sony FMP-X1 4K UHD player is reportedly only compatible with Sony’s own UHDTVs, which greatly lowers its addressable market. The compatibility issue may be conditioned by proprietary copyright protection technology that Sony implemented into its Bravia 4K UHDTVs and 4K players. If this is the case, then FMP-X1 will hardly ever become widespread.
As is known, Sony PlayStation 4 game console will support playback of videos in 4K resolution, but currently it is unknown how such content will be delivered to the console. It is highly likely that the PS4 will rely on the same 4K UHD movie delivery service. What is unclear is what Sony will do with its proprietary DRM technology (unless it limits playback of 4K content to its own TVs) on a platform designed with maximum compatibility in mind.