You can debate the merits of 4K TVs, the viability of the format and the price of the technology, but you can’t shrug it off anymore. The first 4K (or Ultra HD, if you prefer) movie download has arrived. Home theater fans, get REDy.
Months ago we reported on the REDRAY, a 4K media box from the makers of the RED cameras. The plan was to produce a device for downloading and storing digital content, including 4K resolution movies (presumably shot by RED 4K cameras) that could be played back on any 4K TV or projector. Sony also announced a device for downloading 4K movies, but RED has beat them too it.
The first 4K movie download is a short film (only about 30 minutes) called The Ballad of Danko Jones. It’s an independent film, produced and directed by The Diamond Bros. You may not have heard of the movie, but you’ll certainly have heard of the cast. It stars Elijah Wood, Selma Blair, Ralph Macchio and Jena Malone. The plot line involves a rock band, and evil scientist and the end of the world.
The movie was delivered via broadband internet to the REDRAY set-top-box comes from ODEMAX, the service provider to the REDRAY device, which includes a 1TB drive for video storage. RED says the movie was displayed on an 84-inch Sony Ultra HD TV (read an Electronic House review of that Sony 4K TV).
The 3GB file took about an hour and a half to download to the REDRAY player.
We’re also told that this was just a beta launch, and that you can’t watch The Ballad of Danko Jones in your home in 4K just yet, though you can order your own REDRAY player, for $1,750, now if you want to. ODEMAX told me that movie rentals and purchases will be available from the service, but that a public launch date hasn’t been set yet. I was also told that smaller file sizes are being developed, which would allow for faster downloads.
Sony’s 4K device should be available now as well (it was scheduled to ship in July) and costs considerably less ($699). It comes pre-loaded with a handful of 4K movies (all Sony titles) , and more will be available for download to the 2TB drive.
Also Check Out:
Sony 4K Ultra HD Media Player Coming July 15
Watch Four 1080p Shows at Once with Planar 4K TV
Theater Renovation Heats up Once-Frigid Room with 4K Images
Get Your Fill of 4K Indie Films with REDRAY
A Bargain Price Ultra HD TV: Is it Worth It?
Sony’s New 4K Ultra HD TVs Start at $4,999
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.