Sony to Offer 4K Movie Download Service for PlayStation 4, UHDTVs

Sony Develops World’s First 4K Movie Download/Streaming Service

by Anton Shilov
02/28/2013 | 10:50 PM

The ultra high-definition (UHD) seems to be the future of home entertainment video and Sony Corp. is among the first companies to offer appropriate TVs and players. However, due to lack of standardized optical disc technology for 4K movies, the company will not only have to work with the Blu-ray disc association (BDA) to create one, but first to develop a special mechanism to deliver 4K movies over the Internet.


Sony has officially confirmed plans to develop the world’s first 4K movie download service, which will deliver videos in 3840*2160 (or similar) resolution to the owners of brand-new ultra-high-definition TVs. Each of movie in UHD quality will require over 100GB of storage space depending on the length and types of scenes, according to Phil Molyneux, the president and chief operating officer of Sony Electronics. Such vast file sizes significantly increase complexity of digital delivery and requirements for 4K players.

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. At present, Sony bundles media server capable of playing back content in 4K ultra high-definition resolution with its 84” Bravia XBR-84X900 4K LCD TV and preloads ten 4K full-length movies onto the server. While the company promises digital delivery of 4K movies to owners of the UHDTVs, it is unclear how the company plans to implement the service.

Streaming of UHD content requires fast and uninterrupted Internet connection (preferably with speed that exceeds 40Mb/s required for Blu-ray movies), which may not be always present. Meanwhile, pure downloads of movies that need over 100GB of space mean that local storage should provide at least 2TB of disk space to keep a minimal collection of favorite movies locally, a costly feature for a piece of consumer electronics.

The common logic implies that as 4K gets more widespread, Sony will offer 4K players with Internet connection, local storage and UHD movie delivery service to owners of non-Sony UHDTVs. The more consumers use the 4K video service, the higher bandwidth requirements for such technology will be. Given the fact that Sony already has bandwidth-consuming PlayStation Network (PSN) up and running with million customers and no problems, it is highly likely that the PSN will be the backbone of the 4K movie delivery service. With PSN available on non-PlayStation devices, the service will move a step closer to Microsoft Corp.’s Xbox Live.