Televisions & projectors
HDR10 is supported by all HDR-capable devices. This standard has been used for some time for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and on the internet. It uses a static HDR setting for the entire programme.
TV broadcasters use the static HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma) format for transmission, which offers better backwards compatibility with Ultra HD televisions that don’t support HDR. HLG is more suitable for live broadcasts.
At the top end of the HDR scale are HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. Both are dynamic HDR formats that continuously adjust contrast settings throughout the programme. This ensures you see an optimal image in every scene, or even in every frame.
Computers & game consoles
Sony has supported 4K gaming since the PlayStation 4 Pro (end of 2016), although many were surprised that this model did not include an Ultra HD Blu-ray player. Only its successor, the PlayStation 5, released at the end of 2020, is equipped with such a drive. The PlayStation 5 also supports HFR – 4K games at up to 120 Hz. Gamers have been able to stream movies at Ultra HD since the PlayStation 4 Pro using a variety of streaming service apps.
Microsoft entered the 4K gaming market at the end of 2017 with the release of the Xbox One X. This console and the newer Xbox Series include an Ultra HD Blu-ray player and support streaming Ultra HD movies. The new Xbox Series also supports 4K games at 120 Hz.
Nintendo fans must continue to patiently wait for 4K games. The Switch, available since the beginning of 2017, is limited to an HD resolution. However, the Nintendo Switch Pro, expected to be released in 2021, should support 4K games. Nintendo fans will search in vain for an Ultra HD Blu-ray drive and support for UHD streaming however.
Netflix was one of the first streaming services offering Ultra HD content, and now offers an impressive number of Ultra HD titles on its platform – most of them in-house productions. However, this requires a more expensive premium subscription. The standard subscription level only allows streaming in HD. Increasingly more titles are being produced and provided in HDR. Netflix supports the HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats.
Amazon has built up a considerable portfolio of Ultra HD titles and offers this to all Prime Video subscribers at no additional cost. Their range of HDR titles is constantly expanding. In addition to HDR10 and Dolby Vision, Amazon Prime Video also offers some HDR10+ content.
Apple offers the largest range of titles in Ultra HD via its Apple TV 4K library, originally announced at the end of 2017. Well over half of these are also available in HDR – mostly in HDR10, but also many in Dolby Vision. The Apple TV+ service, available from the end of 2019, has added a number of in-house productions, but fewer than on other services.
Disney launched its Disney+ subscription service in Germany at the beginning of 2020 and offers titles in Ultra HD at no additional cost. Some of these are available in HDR, supporting HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
Video content in Ultra HD and HDR has been available on YouTube for some time. Special Ultra HD channels and the HDR Channel offer access to a range of videos. Since the end of 2020, YouTube has also allowed content creators to provide their own live streams in HDR. YouTube supports the HDR10 and HLG standards.
Sky, a subscription television provider, broadcasts select Bundesliga matches in Ultra HD, introducing HDR broadcasts at the end of 2020. Select Champions’ League and English Premier League matches, as well as Formula 1 races are also broadcast in Ultra HD. The Sky Q receiver and a corresponding subscription is required to view these broadcasts.
As a channel partnership between ASTRA and HD+, UHD1 offers both free-to-air and encrypted content. From 8:00am to 8:00pm, those interested in Ultra HD can watch various demonstration programmes free of charge. From 8:00pm until 8:00am, several additional channels share the encrypted phase, including ProSiebenSat.1, MTV, Tele5 and Eurosport.
The RTL UHD event channel can be received at specific times by HD+ customers via satellite, as well as via Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta TV and some cable networks. RTL broadcasts Formula 1 and the European Championship qualifying matches in Ultra HD, as well as daily soaps, series and live shows. Most programmes are available in HDR.
Additional encrypted Ultra HD channels in Germany include Insight TV, Tavelxp 4K, Love Nature 4K and Fashion One 4K. Most of these channels are available to Deutsche Telekom’s Magenta TV subscribers.
Eutelsat offers several Ultra HD channels at the satellite position 13 degrees east (Hotbird), which are available as free-to-air. In addition to the 4K1 demonstration channel, Nasa UHD and the fashion channel FTVUHD are available. The QVC UHD and QVC2 UHD shopping channels are available free-of-charge via Astra at 19.2 degrees east. ZDF also produces some programmes in Ultra HD which are then broadcast via the internet via an HbbTV application (Red Button).