Stunning 4K resolution has been around for a while now. But, thanks to more affordable devices and a rise in content, the technology has only just started to grow in popularity. So, where can you find titles to watch in 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD)? Well, streaming services are often the best place to watch 4K content for one simple reason. They house the majority of it. So whether you’re looking for super-sharp live sports or want to feel like you’re in the middle of a Hollywood blockbuster, you’ll likely need to pay a monthly fee for access. To help whittle down your options, we’ve figured out the best streaming services that’ll give you the ultimate 4K viewing experience.
What is 4K?
In a nutshell, 4K is the most impressive resolution that currently exists on the market. The easiest way to describe it is that it’s four times better than regular High Definition (HD). But if you want to get technical, 4K displays have four times as many pixels as HD screens — eight million pixels in total. So what does that mean for you? Well, a 4K movie, game, or show will allow you to see every precise detail, from the individual strands of hair on a player’s head to the lines on a character’s face.
The technology is easily confused with High Dynamic Range (HDR). This feature often comes with 4K TVs and other devices and is used to further define the display’s brightness and contrast. Essentially, 4K deals with sharpness, and HDR is all about color quality. HDR is particularly useful for dark cave-like scenes or settings with bright light, such as a sunset.
4K Streaming services compared
|Amazon Prime Video||Apple TV+||Disney+||fuboTV||Netflix|
|Rental range||19,000+||50+||500+||100+ networks||5,000+|
|Type of content||On-demand, rentals, purchases||On-demand||On-demand||Live TV, on-demand||On-demand|
|Supported 4K devices||Select 4K smart TVs, Xbox One/Series, PlayStation 5, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Google Chromecast Ultra, Roku Streaming Stick+, Roku Ultra, Apple TV 4K, Nvidia Shield TV, Android phones and tablets||Apple TV 4K, select 4K smart TVs, PlayStation 5, Xbox One/Series, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streaming Stick+, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, iOS phones and tablets||Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streaming Stick+, Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra, NVIDIA Shield TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Xiaomi Mi Box S, PlayStation 4, Xbox One/Series, select 4K smart TVs||Amazon Fire TV 4K, Amazon Fire TV Cube, Android phons and tablets, Apple TV 4K, select 4K smart TVs, Chromecast Ultra, Safari browser, Roku Ultra, Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere, Roku Streaming Stick+, Xbox One/Series||Apple TV 4K, Chromecast Ultra, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Roku Ultra LT, Roku Streaming Stick+, select 4K smart TVs, PlayStation 4/5, Xbox One/Series, Android and iOS phones and tablets|
Top streaming services for 4K
Amazon Prime Video
You’ll find hundreds of 4K titles to watch on Amazon Prime Video. The streaming service, which costs $8.99/mo. alone or $12.99/mo. for access to Prime delivery benefits, films all of its original titles in this ultra-high resolution, meaning you’ll be able to watch the likes of Jack Ryan and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel in all their highly defined glory. There are plenty of other well-known movies and shows to watch in 4K, although these do tend to change on a monthly basis. Plus, you can stream select HDR titles in the upgraded HDR10+ for even more sophisticated color correction.
One of the newer streaming services, Apple TV+ still has a relatively small on-demand catalog. But every original title is available in glorious 4K quality, so you can watch Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon take on the early morning TV world in The Morning Show and get the lowdown on the formation of a much-loved band with Beastie Boys Story. The best part is that Apple TV+ only costs $4.99/mo. — a great choice for those on a strict budget.
As Disney+ is also a more recent addition to the streaming service world, it, too, has an impressive amount of 4K content. You can watch the vast majority of original series in UHD, including Star Wars spin-off, The Mandalorian. Plus, Marvel movies, Pixar titles, and National Geographic documentaries can be streamed in 4K. You’ll even find some classic Disney films in among the 4K library. When it comes to price, expect to pay $6.99/mo. or $69.99/yr. But in March 2021, the prices will rise slightly to $7.99/mo. or $79.99/yr.
fuboTV is one of the only live TV streaming services to broadcast content in 4K. As the service started off entirely dedicated to sports, it makes sense that fuboTV decided to venture into the 4K market with live games. So far, it has shown the likes of the World Cup and NCAA basketball games in this super-sharp resolution. Some general entertainment is also available to stream in 4K, along with limited on-demand titles. The main fuboTV packages are the Family plan, which costs $64.99/mo. for more than 100 channels and 250 hours of cloud DVR, and the Elite plan, which will set you back $79.99/mo. for a 1,000-hour DVR and more than 40 additional networks.
Netflix works in a slightly different way than other services. In order to access its vast array of 4K content, you’ll have to pay for the top package. Netflix Premium costs $17.99/mo. and allows you to watch 4 simultaneous streams as well as Ultra HD titles. So what can you find in the 4K library? Well, all of Netflix’s new original titles are released in 4K — that means you can catch both Uncut Gems and The Queen’s Gambit in mega detail — along with Marvel shows and nature documentaries like Blue Planet.
The final cut
Although most streaming services offer some level of 4K content, only some are worth your attention — especially if you want to watch nothing but 4K. The above services have tons of titles to choose from, with genres ranging from viral series to hit comedies and David Attenborough documentaries. So if you’re interested in the UHD life, consider subscribing to one or more.
4K streaming FAQs
What do I need to stream content in 4K?
A subscription to a 4K streaming service is only one of the things you’ll require for 4K streaming. You’ll also need a 4K-compatible TV or streaming device and the right internet speed to keep up with this high resolution.
What is the recommended internet speed for 4K streaming?
To avoid buffering and fuzzy images, you’ll want to ensure your internet runs at a minimum of 25 megabits per second (Mbps). Consider how many devices are connected to your internet, too. The more you have, the slower your internet will be.
What devices can stream 4K?
A 4K smart TV is often the easiest way to stream in 4K. But they can be expensive, so cheaper options range from the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K to the Roku Premiere+ and game consoles like Xbox One X.