Aaron Taylor, Nanotech Entertainment’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, directs my attention to a “4K” Doors concert shown on Ultraflix, the company’s infant 4K movie-streaming service.
Blobs of color float on the screen. It looks absolutely terrible. Taylor explains that the footage is from the 1960s. “So this has some scenes that look great, but it’s from 1968,” he said. “It’s only going to look so good.”
It’s not what you’d expect from a 4K movie service. And fortunately, once he led me to another monitor showing a 4K-encoded version of the movie “Ip Man,” I was suitably impressed. But it also points out the problem that Ultraflix must overcome: there’s only so much 4K content out there, and not all of it is great. Most of the great content is encoded in 1080p, for your current HDTV.
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Pre-recorded sporting events are also available via the Ultraflix service.
Ultraflix hopes to capitalize on the conversion between 1080p HDTVs and the emerging wave of 4K TVs. “A year ago,” Taylor said, “studios were firmly on the fence” trying to decide whether 4K was worth the investment. Now the balance is tipping toward the higher-resolution format, he said.
But if you own a 4K smart TV, chances are you already have Ultraflix. According to Taylor, an Ultraflix app is on Sony, Samsung, Vizio, and Hisense TVs. Next up are TVs from the Smart TV Alliance: LG, Panasonic, Sharp, and Toshiba. And if ever the Microsoft Xbox One or Sony PlayStation 4 support 4K content, they’ll write an app for those platforms, too. Right now, Ultraflix has an app for Android phones and tablets, but not iOS.