Sony Ultra: The 4K Streaming Service That Is No More

The scoop on Sony Ultra

Sony discontinued its 4K Ultra streaming service on April 18, 2019, but there are dozens of similar premium movie streaming services.

Sony's streaming service provided owners of select Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs equipped with the Android TV operating platform access to 4K Ultra HD movies. This service also included movies that supported HDR-encoding (provided the TV had HDR decoding built-in).

How Sony Ultra Worked

Sony Ultra was part of the Sony Pictures Store and was also available through the Windows App store for use on PCs. Movies accessed from Sony Ultra were stored in and streamed from the cloud. There was no monthly subscription like Netflix or pay-per-view fees like Vudu. Sony only offered the option to purchase movies with prices as high as $30 for each film.

However, once purchased, the films could be streamed at any time, with no expiration dates (as long as they remain in the cloud). The price of purchase also includes access to digital copies for playback on portable and mobile devices (minus the 4K resolution and HDR encoding). As titles became available, consumers who digitally purchased previous non-4K/non-HDR titles were able to upgrade to the latest versions at a discounted price.

The quality of 4K streaming is dependent on your internet connection. The recommended speed for video streaming is at least 15mbps, with 20mbps being desirable.

What Was on Sony Ultra?

Title selections were mostly from Sony-owned studios (Sony Pictures Animation, Columbia, Tri-Star). 4K Ultra HD-HDR film titles were cycled in and out on a periodic basis. Examples of movies that were offered include Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Peter Rabbit, Concussion, The Night Before, The Walk, Chappie, Captain Philips, as well as remastered films from Sony's library including Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Ghostbusters.

Sony 4K Ultra HD Streaming Service Example 3
Sony

Other Viewing Options For Sony's 4K Movies

With Sony Ultra now discontinued, you can access many of its 4K titles on other services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Vudu. All of these services are available as apps for Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and most smart TVs. Unlike Sony Ultra, other services may offer rentals, providing more options at a lower cost.

With the Ultra service, Sony tried to position itself as a competitor with the Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc format. Sony Home Entertainment continues to release movies and video content on Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. Sony Electronics offers 4K Ultra HD models in its Blu-ray/DVD player product line.