MMA promoter UFC says it's the first organization to offer a streaming pay-per-view event in 4K. This Saturday, MMA fans in the US and Canada will be able to stream UFC 200 in ultra HD resolution on select Sony TVs. Would-be viewers will need the UFC's app, a 2015 or 2016 Sony 4K Ultra HD TV, and a $59.95 ticket (that pricing via USA Today) for the stream. The same event can also be viewed in regular HD via traditional pay TV methods, online at UFC.tv, through apps for major streaming devices (including Apple TV, Chromecast, and Roku), and via DirecTV.
The 4K stream is being provided by digital media company NeuLion, which promises the 60 frames-per-second broadcast will "give fans access to every punch, kick and takedown with intense detail and stunning picture quality." It's not clear whether or not the 4K stream also supports high dynamic range or HDR — a standard that improves a picture's contrast. Both NeuLion and Sony's technology does support HDR, though, with NeuLion's CTO Eric Grab commenting earlier this year that HDR offers consumers "the biggest bang for the buck in terms of picture improvement."
The news also indicates UFC's continued investment in online streaming. The company first launched its Fight Pass subscription service ($7.99 a month) back in 2013, and this year overhauled what had been criticized as slow and clunky software with a new user interface and increased back catalog of fights. (Now dating all the way back to 1993 for UFC 1.) The availability of UFC 200 in 4K may be relatively limited, but if the company's progress is anything to go by, we can expect more super-high-def blood-and-grappling in the future.