What is UltraFlix?

A Look at the Popular Video Streaming Platform

Part of the Nanotech Entertainment stable of digital channels, UltraFlix is a relatively new video streaming platform with self-proclaimed ambitions to eventually take on the might of streaming giants Netflix and Amazon. 

Its Unique Selling Point (USP) is its focus on the new 4K UHD resolution picture technology, which delivers images containing 3840x2160 pixels versus HD’s 1920x1080. 

At the time of writing, UltraFlix claims to have the world’s largest library of 4K content - more than 600 hours of it in total. Around 100 hours of this content is available free of charge, while the full 4K library takes in everything from documentaries to Hollywood blockbusters. 

The Catalogue

Right now it must be said that UltraFlix’s content is dominated by relatively old and niche-interest material. However, it caused a stir recently by securing the rights to stream blockbuster hit Interstellar first in 4K UHD, and it recently backed up this initial deal with Paramount with a much larger one that gives it the rights to nearly 1,000 of the studio’s film library (the full story on this can be found here).

Among its other 4K highlights right now are Rain Man, Fargo, The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, Rocky, and Robocop, as well as a host of concert videos and 40 IMAX titles. 

The list of high profile 4K titles is growing steadily, with UltraFlix even going so far as owning a 4K post-production studio so that it can convert older films to 4K in return for a window of streaming rights exclusivity.

Cost of UltraFlix

Unlike Netflix and Amazon, UltraFlix doesn’t currently run a subscription service (though it hasn’t ruled this out as a future possibility). Instead you pay for each title on either a rental or purchase basis. The exact amount you pay for each film depends on the recency of the content, and potentially the ‘grade’ of the 4K video transfer being used, with rental prices ranging from $2 to $10 for rental periods of 48 hours. 

The 4K grades used are Silver (where a 4K transfer has been achieved by upgrading an original HD transfer), Gold (where 4K masters have been derived from old titles originally shot on film) and Platinum, where the content was originally made in native 4K.

Broadband Speed

One of the most eye-catching technical claims of the UltraFlix platform is its ability to stream 4K over broadband speeds of just 4Mbps. This compares with a minimum 15Mbps requirement of the Netflix and Amazon 4K streaming services and potentially brings 4K within the grasp of people who don’t have fiber broadband connections. Though inevitably any attempt to deliver a 4K source over such a narrow broadband pipe will be dependent on heavy amounts of compression unlikely to deliver such satisfying results as a faster 4K stream.

Talking of faster 4K streams, UltraFlix also uniquely offers a 100Mbps streaming option for people with the fastest broadband connections, delivering a level of picture quality which UltraFlix claims is comparable with the images you’ll get from the upcoming Ultra HD Blu-ray format when it launches at the end of 2015.

UltraFlix is at the time of writing only available in the United States (though the company inevitably has its eye on global expansion). It is, though, available across a reasonably wide selection of devices. There’s an Android app, but more usefully for people wanting to experience the full extent of its 4K focus the app is also available via built-in apps on a variety of 4K UHD smart TVs from Sony, Samsung, Hisense and Vizio. 

Nanotech also offers an external solution, enabling UltraFlix playback on any brand of Ultra HD TV,  in the form of the $299 NanoTech Nuvola NP-1 Player.