UPDATED! El Segundo, Calif. — DirecTV will launch 4K Ultra HD video on demand for the first time Friday, making it the first multichannel TV provider to do so.
The satellite TV company said it will begin offering a variety of new releases, popular films and nature documentaries in 4K resolution.
DirecTV said it has teamed with Samsung as an exclusive consumer electronics 4K UHD launch partner. Customers who have DirecTV’s Genie HD DVR will be able to watch 4K programming on supporting 2014 Samsung UHD TVs.
The DirecTV Genie downloads the 4K movies via an Internet connection, accessible by Samsung RVU-enabled 4K UltraHD TVs (and eventually other brands of RVU-enabled 4K Ultra HD TVs when available). The downloads are then receiveable wirelessly by receiverless Samsung UHD TVs that incorporate the RVU, remote room viewing capability.
DirecTV said it is working with other manufacturers to implement 4K-ready RVU capability in other brands of TV models as well, but only Samsung 2014 Ultra HDTVs with RVU are certified to do so at this time.
To receive the 4K Ultra HD signals wirelessly in remote rooms, a 4K UHD TV has to have DirecTV RVU capabilities. Signals are wirelessly extracted directly from the Genie, not through the Genie-client mini-box. Viewers will be able to begin playing back stored DirecTV 4K file downloads before the entire download is complete, to shorten the download wait time.
“For more than 20 years, DirecTV has been changing the way people watch TV as the first to move the industry from analog to digital to HD and now the ultimate TV experience with 4K TV,” stated Romulo Pontual, DirecTV chief technology officer and executive VP. “The picture quality and depth of detail that 4K provides is nothing short of remarkable, and we will continue to expand our 4K lineup as consumer demand grows and evolves.”
The service will provide programming with four-times the resolution of FullHD 1080p, which was the previous highest resolution level the service offered on certain channels.
At launch, DirecTV said it will begin offering nearly 20 movies from both Paramount Pictures and K2 Communications with more titles to be announced soon.
Among the first available titles will be: "Forrest Gump," "Transformers: Age of Extinction", "The Terminal," and "Amistad" and the 2009 film "Star Trek." Nature documentary fare will include: "Dolphins, Coral Reef Adventure," "Legends of Flight and Mysteries of the Great Lakes" and others. Customers will need an Internet-connected Genie HD DVR (HR34 and above), and a Samsung UHD TV that is DirecTV 4K ready, the company said.