At yesterday’s event, Google launched the new Chromecast Ultra. The company also confirmed that it will bring movies and TV shows in 4K Ultra HD resolution to its ‘Google Play Movies & TV’ service in November.
Buy and rent movies in 4K
The announcement was made almost as an afterthought. Nevertheless, the 'Google Play Movies & TV' streaming service will, starting from next month, begin to offer movies in glorious 4K quality.
Google was very light on details and no specific titles were highlighted. However, Google made it clear that it will offer both movies and TV shows in 4K. Today, new releases typically cost 15 dollars to buy and 5 dollars to rent (for 48 hours).
It is not clear if Google will also offer movies in HDR (High Dynamic Range).
Google Play Movies is currently streaming in up to 1080p HD and 5.1 surround. The service can be accessed from Android TV devices (Sony, Philips, Nvidia etc.), LG webOS Smart TVs, Android, Apple iOS, and Chromecast.
Could beat iTunes to 4K
Unless Apple starts rolling out movies in 4K quality this month, Google will overtake iTunes in the race to 4K.
Apple’s decision not to offer 4K versions of movies on iTunes has to do with the current Apple TV box limitations. It supports only up to 1080p HD quality. While some expect Apple to launch new hardware later this year, there are no rumors to suggest that it will.
Regardless of who gets there first, Hollywood studios seem ready to move beyond discs. To date, many movies in 4K/HDR quality have been released exclusively on UHD Blu-ray discs, cutting off some potential viewers. Wider availability is always good news.