Hulu will begin rolling out 4K Ultra HD content as its primary competitors Netflix and Amazon have already made progress in building their own UHD libraries.
At first, Hulu’s 4K selections will be fairly limited. The SVOD service announced that beginning Dec. 7, users will be able to stream Hulu originals including Shut Eye, Chance, The Path and 11.22.63 in 4K. In addition, Hulu is adding more than 20 James Bond films including Spectre and GoldenEye to its 4K library.
Hulu is promising it will continue adding 4K content throughout 2017 but in the meantime, limited device compatibility will hamper Hulu users’ ability to get at the existing 4K content. According to Hulu, 4K streaming only works with the PlayStation 4 Pro and the Xbox One S for now, though the service pledges to bring the content to more devices next year.
Hulu’s jump into 4K content now means the service will be playing catchup with Netflix and Amazon. Netflix earlier this year pledged to add 600 hours of 4K content by the end of 2016. However, Netflix seems more interested in High Dynamic Range (HDR) content than UHD. At Mobile World Congress this year, Chris Jaffe, VP of user interface innovation for Netflix, said HDR showed more promise than UHD’s boosted resolution.
"It's less about packing more pixels on the screen like the move from HD to ultra-HD 4K was, it's about extending the total range of those pixels ... what that means is there's a much more photo realistic image that you're watching which is much more representative of the total range that your eye can see when you're just looking around in real life," Jaffe said.
Meanwhile, Amazon is already two years removed from its announcement of plans to shoot five of its original series in 4K standard resolution.