16 thoughts on “Sony betting big on 4K, launches Video Unlimited 4K download service”

  1. My large-screen Sony LCD became “another TV” when Comcast required users to have a DTA (initially FREE but now it COSTS – every month!) in order to watch cable TV. The Sony remote does nothing, the features of the remote are useless; we are stuck with a DUMB remote that changes channels. Gone is the ability to display the schedule or channels that are available in HD unless we pay Comcast for HD programming access. Gone is the ability to have only the favorite channels available to cycle through / surf.


    I am about to replace that cable with local over-the-air TV using a small digital antenna and not worry about what is available on a cable. Comcast just increased my bill – AGAIN!

      1. In 2010, I cancelled STARZ, a savings of $15 per month.

        In January 2012, I returned my cable modem and am using my own, saving $7 each month.

        In October 2012, Comcast started charging $1.99 every month for EACH of the DTAs, that DUMB POS remote. It had been FREE for the first two in a house with the $1.99 charge on DTAs more than the first two. Giveth with one hand, taketh away with the other. At the SAME time, Comcast increased the monthly charges on television and internet. $10 more every month for these increases.

        The latest is an increase in the monthly charges for television and internet that occurred in July 2013. Another $5 increase every month. The total charge is back to what it had been when I was paying for STARZ and the cable modem!

  2. Just curious, is that 4K media player compatible with all 4K television sets or only on Sony branded 4K television sets?

  3. The bandwidth issues are huge for this type of service and the cost of the media server is way too high – even for the early adopters. Sony should look at a satellite broadcasting solution – essentially downloading the files via satellite to a hard drive near the last mile. This will reduce the cost of transmitting all of those bits via the internet and essentially deliver the content to the last mile. The cost of TB hard drives is dropping, and as the content grows more and more terabytes can be added. As the network grows – the greatest cost – the distribution of the content across North America to the locations near the last mile will essentially be flat – it doesn’t matter to the satellite whether it is broadcasting the download to a single location or to a million (or more). This is off the top of my head – but it certainly makes more sense to do it this way.

    1. Adam

      That is very true and it is going to be interesting battle, this tussle between bandwidth and compression. It is quite possible that as average bandwidth to the home exceeds 25 Mbps, we will see a greater number of people adopting 4K.

      Alternatively, 4K adoption could push demand for higher speed tiers, which means companies like Comcast can charge more for bandwidth.

  4. I’m wondering if Ultra-HD is ever going to be targeted at mainstream consumers.

    Also, given my experience (disappointment) viewing 3-D video on my 51-inch HDTV, I wonder if the appeal of 4K resolution is a must-have enhancement or a novelty. And, while they wait for market demand to materialize, would optical discs be a wiser content distribution vehicle?

  5. Sony’s bet on 4k technology was expected long ago, so as at the end they will fail. Even the 3D TV gimicks failed to get consumer’s interest, 4k TV will hardly do a better job (unless the price is close to ordinary one which I don’t think its possible). For a come back, it would be more fruitful if they could make their phone, tablet, TV and etc working seamlessly together.

  6. At best, this is temporary life support for Sony. They face a peculiar, paradoxical dilemma. In order for their 4K hardware business to succeed, there needs to be large demand for 4K content AND they need to produce a line of product that can maintain a decisive market advantage. The problem is that if 4K content takes off and stimulates demand for the hardware, other providers will race to introduce their own alternatives. Recent history shows that such providers can run circles around Sony, in terms of innovation, variety, and price.

    Indeed, inexpensive 4K displays are popping up everywhere. I was in a large department store in China recently and saw a surprising number of 4K displays that ranged in price between $800 and $4000. They all looked pretty darn good. Even more telling was that this mega showroom not only had all of the many Chinese brands, but it also had all of the major Korean and Japanese brands sold in China. By comparison, there was something distinctly unremarkable and overpriced about the Sony section.

    1. Shyam

      They are developing technologies and they are indeed working with Hollywood to help create the 4K content. As Phil said — it is an ecosystem play. The question is can they pull it off –that remains to be seen.

      On the Chinese brands etc, I don’t know enough to add anything — will take your word for it.

  7. The real news will be when Sony announces support for this service on the PS4, which happens to have a hard drive and support 4K video. No more limitation to just Sony TVs, no expensive server to buy. People are already used to that model with PS3s and XB360s serving to feed Netflix and Youtube to non-smart TVs.

    1. Agreed. And I don’t think it is too far off the mark. I am actually pretty excited about the whole 4K thing — mostly from my perspective it could be a big boost for broadband /demand.

  8. Comparisons between 3D and 4K are absurd. 4K is a step forward just like HD over SD. Immediately perceptible, not requiring additional hardware fastened to the viewer.

    Mainland subs are already following the Samsung model of screwing their clients by competing with them – offering sub-$1500 50″ 4K sets.

    Just as DirecTV started out with overnight down time utilized for 1080p downloads > thence to streaming, I expect the same process to be repeated for 4K. They’re 10 months away from launching D14 which will be another significant expansion of capacity aimed at the largest unified customer base in the hemisphere

    And when Apple delivers a for-real TV set, of course I expect it will be 4K..

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