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Sony's £350 4K media streamer lets you watch House of Cards in Ultra HD

But that is about all it offers
Thu Apr 24 2014, 10:41

SONY HAS ANNOUNCED a £350 media streamer for UK punters that allows Netflix users to watch House of Cards in 4K, but that is about all it will do.

Those few who own a Sony 4K TV will by now know that it is incompatible with Netflix, with the streaming service using the H.265 format that doesn't work on those television sets. So, to fix the problem, Sony is asking customers to cough up an additional £350 for its specialised bespoke 4K video streaming box, the Sony FMP-X5 4K Media Streamer.

Sony said, "Equipped with the new [media streamer], all 4K Bravia televisions can now play content encoded with the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video codec."

Sony FMP-XP 4K media streamer

Sony bravely continued, "HEVC is becoming increasingly popular among the video streaming industry and being used in services such as Netflix. HEVC/H.265 has a better coding efficiency than that of H.264/MPEG-4 AVC, it makes HEVC ideal for online streaming of 4K video, requiring less bandwidth to deliver stunning-quality 4K images."

While many will likely scoff at its high price, perhaps more shocking is the Sony media streamer's limited functionality. At present, the only 4K content available is House of Cards, which means that early adopters of Sony's black box will be limited to gawping at Kevin Spacey's face in Ultra HD resolution.

However, Sony promised that more TV shows including Breaking Bad will be available to watch in 4K soon. The firm told Techradar that it is considering adding support for Google's VP9 codec too, which would enable the streaming of Youtube's growing library of Ultra HD videos.

Sony's FMP-X5 4K Media Streamer is designed for European owners of the firm's KD-84X9005, KD-65X9005A and KD-55X9005A Bravia TVs, and it will be available from August. µ

 

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