The resolution revolution: SD, HD to 4K

TV ultra HD. 8K television resolution technology

Let’s begin with a brief visualization exercise: You set a timer to record a movie that you’re ridiculously pumped to watch this weekend. When Saturday finally rolls around, you park yourself on the couch, click through your recordings, select the desired movie title and – NOOO. It’s safe to say that your date with your DVR is officially over, as you come face-to-face with your worst entertainment nightmare. You accidentally recorded your movie in SD.

Albeit a slightly dramatic take on our high standards for high definition, the above illustrates an interesting point. When given the choice to watch something in SD or not watch it at all, a lot of people will choose the latter. The transition from SD to HD began in the mid-90s, and more than a decade passed before HD became the new normal. Fast-forward to present day, and it’s entirely possible that we’re already on the cusp of yet another resolution revolution.

Enter 4K. Also referred to as Ultra High Definition, or UHD, 4K is a resolution of 3840 pixels x 2160 lines. If that doesn’t mean much to you, suffice it to say that it creates crisper, more detailed images. And it’s entirely possible, that at one point in the not so distant future, 4K will oust HD as our new standard. In which case we’ll be completely bummed out when we inadvertently record something in HD.

Watching 4K titles on DISH

Only a couple of years in the works, 4K technology hasn’t been widely adopted by the masses. But companies are taking steps to deliver these products and services to consumers at an accelerating rate.

DISH’s recently-launched Hopper 3 is a great example of leading entertainment hardware that can decode and output 4K video. It delivers native 4K and HDR support, decoding and outputting 60 frames per second and 10-bit color. Sweetening the pot, DISH has agreements in place with Sony Pictures, The Orchard and Mance Media to deliver 4K movies and TV shows directly to the Hopper 3.

Most recently, DISH announced that its customers can now stream Netflix’s catalog of Ultra HD content. While the Netflix app has been available on the Hopper 3 since February, access is now expanded to include a variety of 4K movies, network TV series and Netflix award-winning originals, such as Marvel’s “Daredevil” and “House of Cards.”

Hopper 3 Main Menu

How to find 4K titles on your Hopper 3

All 4K content offered on DISH can be viewed on any 4K compatible television. You can find 4K titles on a Hopper 3 DVR in a few different spots. Here’s how:

  • Programming guide: Check out the new releases that are available on demand in the programming guide on DISH Channel 1. Any new releases that are available in 4K will be marked.
  • Menu: Click the “Home” button on the remote control, go to the Menu tab, then click the Video On Demand icon. Additional 4K movies and shows are stored on the fourth shelf (four rows down).
  • Netflix 4K titles: Press the “Home” or “App” button on the remote control, then select the Netflix app icon. Netflix can also be accessed on channel 370 in the DISH programming guide. Once in the app, Ultra HD titles are identifiable by searching the terms “4K” or “UHD.”

Click here for more information on our Hopper 3 DVR, and here for additional details about Hopper 3’s support of Netflix in Ultra HD. Plus, don’t forget to follow @DISHNews to stay up-to date on our latest announcements.