Sony today announced that its new 4K streaming service, called Ultra, will launch in the US on April 4th. Ultra was first announced back at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, when Sony revealed that the service would be available as an app exclusively on the company's new line of HDR 4K sets. Although it's an Android TV app, Ultra can only be accessed on Sony hardware for now.
Unlike Netflix, Ultra will require customers to purchase individual titles at $30 each. Those movies, from a collection of about 40 to 50 titles, are then streamed to a 4K TV, presumably because the device does not have the onboard storage to hold a movie that large. If you've already purchased one of Sony's new HDR TVs, you'll get four complimentary titles when you sign up for Ultra.
Ultra is asking you to buy 4K movies for $30 each
Sony says confirmed films include Sony Pictures and Columbia titles like Concussion, The Night Before, and The Walk, as well as older movies like Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters. Ultra is also compatible with Sony's UltraViolet cloud service. That means UltraViolet users who sign up for the new service will be able to access Sony-owned films and pay a fraction of the $30 cost to upgrade some of them to 4K.
Utlra isn't exactly ideal, especially not when Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming video services are adding 4K content bundled with a standard monthly or annual subscription fee. But it does indicate that Sony is working to close the gap between the growing affordability of 4K and HDR technology and the lack of compatible shows and movies consumers can actually watch on those TVs. The company would not comment on whether Ultra would make its way to PlayStation 4 consoles, but did hint at the possibility of 4K rentals some time in the future.