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Sony 4K Streaming Video Service to Start April 4 at $30 Per Title

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Viewers hungry for 4K video will appreciate the launch of Ultra by Sony, but there are several catches.

Sony first announced Ultra at CES in January, but declined to give any details at the time. This week, it announced that the transactional online store will only offer movies for sale, not rental, and they'll go for $30 each. Also, Ultra will only offer Sony titles. Both of those decisions could change, but that will be the case when the service debuts on April 4.

Ultra will only be accessible to Sony 4K televisions. It will offer a catalog of 40 to 50 titles at launch.

Besides being 4K quality, Ultra's titles will be high dynamic range (HDR)-encoded. At CES '16, Sony talked about its proprietary 4K HDR certification logo, which it uses on Bravia TVs, but didn't mention the UHD Alliance's recently announced HDR certification, despite Sony being a board member. Ultra titles will presumably use Sony's own HDR standard.

This summer, Sony will launch a 4K TV promotion where buyers get four titles from Ultra for free. The service will connect with UltraViolet, giving viewers the option to upgrade SD or HD titles they already own for $12 to $15. Additionally, purchased Ultra titles will automatically be added to UltraViolet online lockers.

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