DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), which is now part of AT&T, launched a new 4K Ultra HD set-top box called the 4K Genie Mini that will let subscribers watch 4K content if they have a 4K-compliant TV set.
4K Genie Mini
Last November, DirecTV was the first to roll out 4K video service through its Genie HD DVR, which the company said is currently in millions of DirecTV customer homes. However, with the Genie HD DVR, customers have to own a specific Samsung 4K TV to access the company's 4K content.
This latest announcement eliminates the need for the Samsung TV, but customers will still need the new set-top box.
According to DirecTV, the new 4K Genie Mini is the size of a "paperback book" and supports Dolby Digital Plus audio decoding.
DirecTV said it offers a variety of 4K UHD titles, including new releases, popular films and nature documentaries. However, the company has yet to introduce any channels dedicated to 4K programming. Last year the satellite provider said it was planning to do that, perhaps as early as this year and in December the company launched a new satellite that it said would have more capacity to allow for additional 4K programming.
Last March, Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) expanded its 4K service with a new set-top box, the Xi4, which delivers Comcast's 4K VOD programming to customers with 4K TVs. This follows the company's announcement in December 2014 of an app that could be used on new Samsung 4K TVs that would allow customers to access 4K content.
Research firm IHS reported that shipments of 4K TVs reached a record high of 3 million units in April. Of all TVs sold around the world, 14 percent were 4K-capable, the research firm said. However, that share of 4K TVs is expected to increase to 20 percent of all TVs sold by 2015.
- see this press release
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