4K movies are only gradually making their way into our televisions. When devices supporting 4K videos such as the Chromecast Ultra are released, users can merely issue a collective sigh because there is still a dearth in 4K content.
4K Videos At Google Play Movies & TV
Google is now moving to address this gap after it announced Dec. 6 that Google Play Movies & TV will now offer 125 4K titles that the world can either purchase or rent.
"Starting in the U.S. and Canada, you can purchase 4K movies on your Android device or on the web and stream them on your Chromecast Ultra, your Sony Bravia Android TV, or your Xiaomi Mi Box 3," Google said in a blog post.
Google also stated that for those who will buy Chromecast Ultra, it will be bundled with one 4K video for free but on a limited period. Pricing is also available this time and they vary from title to title. For example, Star Trek Beyond only costs $7.99 while The Secret Life of Pets has an eye-watering $29.99 price tag. Of course, if one chooses to rent a video, the cost will significantly be lower.
It is helpful to remember that not all titles offer the option to be purchased or rented at the same time.
Balance In Video Quality And Streaming Performance
Google stressed that all 4K videos in its catalogue were produced using the VP9 codec. This means that the output are characterized by an ideal mix of picture sharpness and streaming reliability. Only the Google cited devices are supported for now, although a 4K content can be purchased from any Android device or at the Google Store accessible through a web browser.
In the context of the wider 4K streaming content, Google is not the first to introduce this service to the market. Rivals such as Netflix, Hulu and Vudu already have their respective 4K library for some time. Some observers, however, believe that Google's advantage rests on the number of users that are entrenched into its ecosystem.
A Few Reminders
Before diving into this Google Play 4K video business, one needs to remember a few things. First, it is not yet available to the rest of the world. Secondly, users need to have a supported 4K device that has Android TV built-in and not just any run-of-the-mill television that touts 4K support. The list is presently confined to the three identified devices. Hopefully, this constraint gets lifted soon.
Users will be able to identify 4K content by heading to the More Information page where they will see the 4K badge.