So you’ve patiently waited until prices dropped, and now you’re the proud owner of a new 4K TV.
Also referred to as an Ultra HD television, these stunning displays offer four times the resolution of 1080p HD. This added detail makes the video so lifelike it’s like slipping on a pair of prescription glasses for the first time.
But now the big question remains: Where’s the content?
Between 4K-supported streaming services, dedicated channels from TV providers, and 4K Blu-ray discs, the floodgates are about to open. Oh sure, 4K sports programming is still spotty, but when it comes to TV shows, movies and documentaries, there’s a ton of things to watch today.
Here’s a look at where to start.
(Netflix) With Season 2 now available, Narcos is a gripping crime drama series set and filmed in Colombia, about the infamous cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar (1949 – 1993), considered one of the wealthiest (and deadliest) criminals of all time. This gripping series is even more immersive thanks to its 4K quality. If you’ve never been to South America, some of the breathtaking scenery shots might just be the next best thing to actually being there.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (4K Blu-ray)
Available on Oct. 18 for $24.99, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment reintroduces Ang Lee’s martial arts action-fantasy as a Supreme Cinema Series Collectible Edition. Along with 4K Ultra HD restoration (from the 35mm original camera negative) and a Dolby Atmos audio upgrade, this Blu-ray disc includes many hours of extra content, including six never-before-seen deleted scenes and all-new retrospective interviews – all wrapped in an acrylic “Clear Case,” with 24-page booklet.
This highly-rated Amazon Original Series exclusive is a half-hour behind-the-curtains-peek at a young maestro Rodrigo (Gael Garcia Bernal) who shakes up the New York Symphony. Now in its third season, this comedic drama is all about love, sex, drugs, ambition, and classical music. Mozart in the Jungle is written by Oscar-nominated writer and director Roman Coppola, actor and musician Jason Schwartzman, and two-time Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers.
Stranger Things (Netflix) Set in 1983 Indiana, this Netflix Original Series tells of a missing boy, a mysterious girl, top-secret government experiments, and a small town terrified by supernatural forces. Channeling ‘80s pop culture – from flicks like E.T. to Stephen King novels — this 8-episode “must watch” TV series will have you hooked and eager to binge-watch the just-announced second season slated for 2017.
Deadpool (4K Blu-ray)
As one of the most action-packed, comedic and irreverent Marvel superhero flicks, Deadpool – starring Ryan Reynolds as the ultimate anti-superhero – looks (and sounds) absolutely amazing on 4K Blu-ray disc ($29.99). This includes all of the most memorable scenes, including the highway bridge shootout, the abandoned shipyard, and at Deadpool’s favorite bar. Also worthy picks on 4K Blu-ray: The Martian, Ghostbusters, Mad Max: Fury Road, and The Revenant.
Ideal for 4K Smart TVs, YouTube has no shortage of 4K channels to click through, which uses the VP9 compression codec that delivers those delicious 3840 pixels × 2160 lines at a smooth 60 frames per second. If you’d like something to relax to after a rough day, check out the stunning Beauty of Nature videos by LoungeV Films. Set to soothing music, this free content includes shots of rainforests, mountains, and waterfalls.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Netflix’s 4K content isn’t just limited to dramas. With an average rating of 8 out of 10 among more than 35,000 reviews at IMDB.com, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is an infectious Netflix original comedy series that tells of a 29-year-old woman (played by Ellie Kemper), who is rescued from a doomsday cult, and starts life over again in New York City. The extra resolution helps make this refreshing series even more engaging.
(YouTube) Available for free on YouTube, Biosphere is non-narrative hour-long documentary filmed in 4K around the globe, showcasing our planet’s breathtaking beauty, in places like Chile, Papua New Guinea and Canada. Produced by Gala Media, this doc also addresses global warming, with the help of some CG (computer graphics) to compliment the aerial cinematography by Yousef Alghefari. The moving music was composed by award-winning film composer Jennifer Athena Galatis.
With over 20 years of industry experience, Marc Saltzman is one of the most recognized and trusted technology evangelists in North America. Marc is a freelance columnist for more than 40 publications (including a syndicated column with USA TODAY), a prolific (16-time) author, radio + television personality, public speaker, and host of “Gear Guide” on Cineplex movie screens nationwide.