Google is finally diving into 4K Ultra HD movies, Google Play Movies now offers about 125 titles for purchase in 4K, which offers 4 times the resolution of 1080p HD. The movies can be rented, purchased, and streamed on the Xiaomi Mi Box 2, Chromecast Ultra, as well as on selected Android TV devices (like the Sony Bravia Android TV devices).
You’ll need to own a 4K-capable device to watch, of course. Besides Chromecast Ultra, Google’s pointing to newer Sony TVs and the Xiaomi Mi Box 3 as examples of hardware that can handle Google Play’s higher-resolution catalog. This is not an exclusive list, of course, and Google is so quick to add that 4K titles will come to other countries in the future.
The streaming is unavailable on the web and on recent 4K Android TVs at the moment. Streaming is allowed via Google’s VP9 codec. For now, just only 125 titles are available, including recent Ghostbusters and Star Trek Beyond; other titles include titles such as Captain Philips and The Secret Life of Pets.
Watching movies in UHD resolution is pretty expensive. Older movies are around twice as expensive as in HD resolution (4K starting price is $26, HD starts at $13). Recent titles range from $15 to $20 (HD), with the 4K prices topping at $30. If you want to rent a movie, HD costs 4, while 4K costs 8.
For a limited time, Google is giving away one free 4K movie to buyers of the Chromecast Ultra, though you are limited to a list that includes Ghostbusters and Captain Philips. That is still not a bad deal, seeing as plenty of digital 4K movie purchases still go for $20 and often more. Bringing 4K to Play Movies certainly boosts the amount of UHD content that is available to Chromecast Ultra owners, but whether it makes up for absence of Amazon Video will depend on what you like to watch.