Understanding 4K & HDR
If you have recently purchased a new TV and streaming device, the chances are very good that your setup can support 4K and HDR video. It's becoming more important that you understand what this is, and why you might want it. If you are also a Sling TV customer, you may be asking if that service will stream any video in 4K.
4K is a standard for displays and content. On the technical side, it means content that displays in either 4096x2160 or 3840x2160 pixels. In other words, it means a very sharp picture with twice the line resolution of 1080p, which has been the gold standard for many years for most home TVs. Additionally, much of the 4K equipment and content also supports HDR or High Dynamic range. HDR results in much more vibrant colors by increasing the total number of available colors, as well as having a higher contrast between bright white and deep black areas.
If you already have a 4K HDR ready TV, you are most of the way to watching content with these high-quality features. This is because more 4K HDR being sold today are also smart TVs, capable of streaming 4K or HDR content. If you don't have a 4K HDR ready display or need a 4K HDR ready device, check out our deals page because this technology is being more affordable every day. Now that you're caught up, you just need 4K HDR content to watch.
Sling TV does not stream 4K
Unfortunately, if you're a Sling TV subscriber, that service will not be providing you with 4K or HDR programming. Sling TV support confirmed recently that it doesn't offer any 4K content currently. This isn't a big surprise, as there are no major live stream networks available in 4K. Sling TV sells itself to customers on value and choice; obtaining and streaming in 4K to customers would increase Sling's costs, and could cut into the value it offers to subscribers. We expect that Sling TV will wait for 4K to become the standard broadcast for several channels before it offers 4K.
Options for 4K & HDR streaming content
There are many other good alternatives for 4K or HDR content. Netflix Ultra package offers hundreds of shows and movies streamed in 4K HDR, including some of their most popular titles. To access 4K content on Netflix, you will need to subscribe to this top tier plan. Amazon Prime has some 4K HDR programming as a part of its base plan if you're a subscriber, making it less expensive to access than Netflix Ultra. However, it has less 4K content currently available as part of the subscription than Netflix.
YouTube offers free content in 4K HDR if it was created and uploaded in the standard by the user. Also, online digital media stores like Vudu, iTunes, or Google Play Movies rent or sell 4K HDR content.
Be sure to check if the content is in 4K or HDR before you pay and that your playback device supports 4K HDR for each particular app. These can vary based on your streaming device and the apps they use, but it isn't as complicated as it once was.
Our 4K pick
Ultra plan for Ultra resolution
Netflix is great for movies and TV series, with both original content and established favorites. It also has a growing selection of 4K HDR content, available for Ultra plan subscribers.
Streaming TV Value
Flexible and affordable, but not 4K
Sling TV still has a lot going for it, so it's no surprise it is the most popular streaming TV service. It offers great value, but don't expect 4K or HDR content right now.
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