These days you can’t step into the TV section at a retail store without seeing big, beautiful TVs that feature 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition) and HDR (High Dynamic Range) display technologies. And in case you missed our recent news, Roku just started shipping new streaming players that support 4K UHD (known as 4K for short) and HDR. 4K Roku TVs launched earlier this year as well. To help you better understand what this means for the world of streaming, here are a few answers to some common 4K and HDR questions.

streaming-4k-hdr-roku-ultra-4k-hdrSo, what is 4K?

4K Ultra HD gives you a better viewing experience by increasing the pixel resolution – it’s four times that of HD! That’s a whopping 2,160 x 3,840 pixels compared to just 1,080 x 1,920 for a Full HD display. The result is brilliant picture quality that immerses you in the action with crisp, detailed images that practically jump off the screen. Keep in mind that in order to watch 4K content it requires a compatible 4K TV.

roku-4k-ultra-hd-picture-quality

Roku tip: As you shop for new TVs, remember that your 4K UHD experience will be much better if you choose products that support 60 frames per second (fps). The Roku Ultra, Roku Premiere+, Roku Premiere and 4K Roku TV models all support streaming 4K up to 60 (fps to give you smooth and clear motion no matter how frantic the car chase or drawn-out the instant replay).

What streaming content is available in 4K?

Big-budget films (and an increasing number of TV series) are being filmed in 4K, and many streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Video, are already offering 4K Ultra HD content and are quickly building their libraries. Today TV shows such as Bloodline, Marco Polo, House of Cards and Transparent are available in 4K. Original content aside, you can also look forward to re-experiencing some of your favorite films in glorious, new detail as they become “Mastered in 4K.”

bloodline-on-netflix-in-4kWe make it easy to find 4K content*.

There are two ways to find 4K with your Roku streaming player or Roku TV. First, the Roku Channel Store includes a 4K UHD category that now offers 15 streaming video services such as Netflix, PLEX, YouTube and UltraFlix. Even faster is the 4K Ultra HD Spotlight channel which provides instant access to a curated selection of 4K entertainment from a variety of streaming services in one place, helping you discover 4K content in a few clicks of the remote.

GENERIC TV

*4K content is not available on all channels and may require payment. Check with channel provider for bandwidth requirements.

What is HDR?

If 4K is about number of pixels, then HDR is about the quality of those pixels. HDR displays a wider range of colors with better contrast to create more natural, beautiful, and true-to-life imagery. It delivers rich, realistic color detail—even in the darkest shadows and brightest highlights. Like 4K, HDR also requires a compatible HDR TV to watch HDR content. Roku devices featuring HDR playback support the HDR-10 standard.

Another Roku tip:

Not all HDMI connection ports on TVs support 4K and HDR. Look for ports that are labeled with HDCP 2.2 for 4K resolution and HDMI 2.0a for HDR support.

What streaming content is available in HDR?

Like 4K, an increasing number of films and TV series are being offered in HDR**. Netflix and Fandango NOW are already offering new releases such as The Ridiculous 6, The Do Over, Marco Polo and Jason Bourne in HDR. The 4K Spotlight channel also includes an HDR row that helps you get to HDR content quickly.

the-ridiculous-6-on-netflix-in-hdr**HDR content on Netflix, Fandango Now, and other channels requires paid subscription or purchase or rental. Check with the HDR channel provider for specific bandwidth requirements to access its HDR content. High Speed HDMI® Cable is required.

Happy streaming!

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About Lloyd Klarke

Director of Product Management
Posted in Roku tips | Tagged , , |
26 Comments
  • Brian Richards

    Very cleverly written to put smoke in front of the fact that there are no 4K RokuTV’s with HDR. Please finally give a date aa to when those will be available. Thanks.

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    • I have a 4K TV with HDR. It also claims HDR+ mode which was a recent firmware upgrade. 2016 8 Series Samsung.

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  • Cass McColeman

    Dear Roku – Are you going to also support Dolby Vision in your Ultra?

    I read two early press releases that talked about your support for this format.

    Excited “possible” future Ultra owner.

    • phil

      I am a Ultra owner, what does this mean? to have Dolby Vision?

      • Joe’s Monco

        Dolby Vision is another HDR standard.

  • AS

    Assuming HDR support is for HDR-10, reiterating Cass’s comment, would Roku Ultra support Dolby Vision ? or would it be firmware upgradable to support Vision ? thanks

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  • puddy

    Will the Roku Premiere+ and Ultra be updated to support HDR on YouTube?

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    • Jamie

      I just got a roku premiere+ and it does not appear to support youtube HDR.

    • Richard Horton

      YouTube,you need to watch vids that specify 4K. Still, not that great.

  • Paul

    Any Roku TVs with HDR? I was looking at a Vizio with built in Chromecast but would rather have built in Roku (ideally with the headphone remote), but all the 4k RokuTVs I saw had terrible contrast.

  • Bonnie

    New Hitachi-roku tv – have Netflix how do I get it on new tv?

  • disqus_fZ7VohxVgi

    I get an HDCP Unauthorized message at bottom of screen when trying to play YouTube.
    My SUHD TV and AVR support do support HDMI 2.2. I have no issue weatching YouTube via my TV’s YouTube App.
    Once I get this msg on YouTube then I get the same msg on Netflix or other channels (e.g. PBS)

    If I unplug Roku I can go back to seeing Netflix videos rather just hearing audio.

  • DukieBrownJunior .

    I have a stereo system and TV that supports 4K but not HDR – When I plugged my Ultra in, it says it will only play in 1080P. That’s a bit crazy, why can’t I stream 4K without HDR on the ROKU?

    • Richard Horton

      Check which hdmi port you are using. My tv has 4 ports, 2 are normal and 2 are 4K. Also be sure you have a really good high speed hdmi cable rated for 4K

  • Craiglaw

    I have a new Ultra and a new home theatre, all components are 2.2 (UHD, HDR) compliant and I have a high speed Ethernet connection but when I run the setup analysis the system only identifies 4K UHD, NOT 4K UHD HDR. Is this a Roku problem?

    • Richard Horton

      Same issue here on my sharp tv

      • SmartOneBC

        ROKU supports HDR, i stream HDR content all the time from Amazon Video.. Not all 4K tv’s support HDR, HDR10 or Dolby Vision.Just because it claims 4K means nothing..

        FYI i have a Vizio P series which handles HDR10 and DolbyVision