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DirectTV Strikes First; First 4K TV Service Officially Launches

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DirectTV customers are waking-up to a new Hi-Definition world, as Direct TV is officially launching its new 4K TV service today. Approximately 19 titles from Paramount Pictures and Havoc will be available through the provider's Video On Demand (VOD) service, with Star Trek (2009) and Transformers: Age of Extinction headlining the offerings. DirectTV says these relatively limited initial titles will quickly be padded by more options soon.

Samsung and DirectTV are making a splash with the first-ever 4K TV service.

With every new rollout, there’s always a catch. In DirectTV’s case, users tapping into the service's new 4K universe will need specific hardware, including a supporting 2014 Samsung UHD TV (branded DirectTV 4K Ready) and DirectTV’s Genie HD DVR. Users without this equipment will be on the outside looking in.

According to Multichannel News, this sampling of UHD material is simply a testing ground for a much larger rollout in 2015. According to a November DirectTV earnings call, the company plans to offer live Ultra HD streaming in 2015. Comcast is also expected to offer a similar Samsung-only VOD 4K platform soon, with additional content in the New Year.

“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,” said Romulo Pontual, executive vice president and CTO, DIRECTV. “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 full list of titles for DirectTV’s newly minted service includes the previously referenced blockbuster special effects gems (Star Trek and Transformers) in addition to several other Hollywood hits including Forrest Gump, Amistad, The Terminal, and McLintock!. Other offerings fall into the “Nature and Educational” realm with titles such as Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs, Antarctica, Dolphins, Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag, Dinosaurs Alive!, Coral Reef Adventure, Space Junk, Yellowstone, Legends of Flight, Rescue, The Ultimate Wave of Tahiti, and Mysteries of the Great Lakes.

Pricing for these VOD titles will range from $3.99 to $15.99, and will be on a per-movie basis.

Samsung, meanwhile, has forced its way to the top of the 4K streaming world. While Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K service currently has more content (over 100 movies), Samsung’s strategy has positioned itself to offer customers a depth choice in the very near future. Currently the company has partnerships with Amazon, Netflix, DirectTV, Comcast, and a recently forged 4K exclusivity deal with M-Go.

Image Credit: Samsung
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