×

Sony Gears Up for 4K Ultra HD Internet Movie Service

Studio licenses video-compression technology from startup Eye IO, aiming for summer launch

While it’s still unclear how many consumers will take a shine to new Ultra HD TVs, Sony is getting ready to launch the industry’s first 4K streaming service this summer using an encoding system from startup Eye IO to squeeze the video down for broadband delivery.

According to industry estimates, a 4K video — which delivers four times the resolution of 1080p HD — typically would require 18 to 20 Mbps encoded in MPEG-4 H.264. Eye IO declined to disclose the bit rate for its compression of 4K content “at the request of Sony and other studios” that it is working with. But Eye IO CEO Rodolfo Vargas claimed the company’s compression yields 4K assets that use less than one-third the bandwidth Sony initially expected from other vendors.

A Sony rep confirmed that the 4K movie service is still on track to launch this summer, but said the company has yet to release pricing or additional details about the service. Sony announced plans for the streaming service at CES 2013.

Sony Pictures Entertainment films available at launch are to include “Total Recall” (pictured), “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “Bad Teacher,” “Battle: Los Angeles,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” “The Karate Kid,” “Salt,” “Taxi Driver,” “That’s My Boy” and “The Other Guys.”

Popular on Variety

At least initially, the 4K titles will be available only on Sony Electronics’ XBR 4K Ultra HD televisions, which are priced starting at $5,000 for a 55-inch model and go up to $25,000 for an 84-inch model.

“From the cinema to the home, Sony Pictures Technologies strives to deliver the audience an experience that is as close as possible to the filmmaker’s original vision,” Sony Pictures Technologies prexy Chris Cookson said in a statement. “Eye IO’s technology makes it practical to deliver movies to the home in unprecedented 4K quality, and we are proud to partner with them on this groundbreaking launch.”

The assets encoded at Eye IO’s Palo Alto, Calif., headquarters are full 4K Ultra HD at 3840 x 2160 resolution and include support for extended gamut color.

Other customers of privately held Eye IO include Netflix. Earlier this year, the company’s video-compression encoding technology was the first in the streaming industry to attain THX’s Digital Cinema HD Video Encoder certification.

More Digital

  • Xumo

    Comcast Acquires Xumo Free-Streaming Video Service

    Comcast announced that it has acquired Xumo, a free advertising-supported streaming service, from previous owners Panasonic and Meredith Corp. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Xumo will continue to operate as an independent business unit inside Comcast Cable, the company said. Xumo offers over 190 free channels, grouped by genre, with live and [...]

  • La unidad

    Berlin: European VODs Innovate, Create to Stay Afloat in Global Streaming Wars

    Netflix and other streaming giants might be setting the pace for a global TV landscape upended by video-on-demand technology, but European players are shaking up domestic markets by ramping up investment in original production, forging unlikely partnerships, and looking to beat Netflix at its own game by finding innovative ways to personalize the VOD viewing [...]

  • ABC News Live - David Hatcher

    ABC News Live Taps BuzzFeed's David Hatcher to Oversee Morning News Programming

    ABC News has recruited veteran TV producer David Hatcher as executive producer to oversee the morning news programming block for the ABC News Live streaming network. Hatcher most recently spent a year at BuzzFeed, where he was executive producer of morning news show “AM2DM” on Twitter. For ABC News Live, Hatcher will be responsible for [...]

  • Netflix-logo-N-icon

    Netflix Launches Top 10 Daily Rankings of Most Popular Titles by Country

    Netflix is taking top 10 lists of its most popular streaming content to members across the globe. Starting Monday (Feb. 24), Netflix said, it is rolling out a new row in its interface that will show the overall top 10 titles in a subscriber’s country, as well as the top 10 most popular series and [...]

  • Parasite

    'Parasite' Will Stream Exclusively on Hulu in U.S.

    Hulu has exclusive U.S. streaming rights to “Parasite,” the film that made history as the first foreign-language film to win best picture at this year’s Oscars. Under a deal with indie studio Neon, “Parasite” will be available on Hulu beginning Wednesday, April 8, the Disney-controlled streamer announced. The movie from filmmaker Bong Joon Ho won [...]

  • Disney-Plus-Logo

    Disney Plus Launches Plan Discounts in U.K., Europe Ahead of March Debut

    Disney, looking to lock in Disney Plus customers in the U.K. and European markets prior to its official launch next month, is offering 14%-17% discounts on the streaming service — if users sign up for a one-year plan. Leading up to the March 24 debut of Disney Plus in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content