“We wanted to give consumers a streaming option that showcased the best 4K content that we can offer with the ease of a streaming service,” said Sony Pictures Entertainment VP Jake Winett during a press event in San Francisco on Tuesday.
Sony first announced Ultra at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas earlier this year, but the company revealed a number of new details on Tuesday. The new service will offer 4K HDR movies to stream, including extras that have previously been able only on physical discs.
Some of the launch movies will include “Concussion,” “The Night Before” and “The Walk” as well as “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Movies are priced at $30 a title. At launch, Ultra will only offer titles for sale, and no transactional VOD rentals. Sony plans to promote the service this summer by giving buyers of their new 4K TV sets four free Ultra titles.
Asked why consumers won’t be able to rent titles for a limited time, Winett replied: “It’s a commercial decision.” He added that Sony could turn on rentals “pretty quickly” if it turned out that there was consumer demand for it.
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Ultra does tie into UltraViolet, the cloud locker service backed by Sony. Consumers will be able to upgrade SD and HD quality movies from their UltraViolet cloud locker for $12 to $15, respectively. Sony is also automatically adding any movie purchased on Ultra to UltraViolet, so consumers will be able to stream these titles on other 4K streaming services in the future.
This may also help to remedy another issue Ultra is facing in its early days: At launch, the service will offer only movies from Sony Pictures. “Over time, we want to expand the breath and depth of the content,” said Winnett.