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Sony Launches Ultra High-Definition Movie Streaming Service

Sony is launching a 4K Ultra High-Definition movie-streaming service starting April 4. The service, called Ultra, will debut only on Sony 4K Ultra HD TVs equipped with Android TV (Google's version of Apple TV).

The new picture technology quadruples the number of pixels found in a full-HD picture, with the aim of giving a clearer image on screen.

Sony said that each movie will cost $30 in 4K with high dynamic range (HDR). Images shot in HDR essentially make the contrast between light and dark colors even more prominent so the white highlights are even brighter. The purpose is to make the image on screen look more realistic.

Movies will include Sony Pictures titles such as "The Night Before" and "The Walk" as well as older movies like "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon."

"Consumers are rapidly upgrading their living rooms to 4K, and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment's new Ultra streaming service will provide a premium viewing experience to satisfy growing demand for 4K movies and television shows," Jake Winett, vice president of consumer services and advanced platforms at Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, said in a press release on Tuesday.

Customers who purchase eligible Sony 4K Ultra HD televisions with Ultra this summer will receive four complimentary movies when they sign up for the service.

There are a few challenges facing the widespread adoption of 4K currently. Firstly, even though the likes of Samsung, LG and Sony are betting big on 4K, the actual TVs are still relatively expensive. The second major issue is that there is still a lack of 4K content around.

This is what Sony and other firms are hoping to change. By making more 4K content available, TV manufactures are hoping to drive uptake of their products. Last year, Michael Zoller, head of visual display for Europe at Samsung, told CNBC the firm was in discussions with Netflix, Amazon and major Hollywood studios about pushing 4K content.

Still, Sony's price tag of $30 per film appears steep when compared to the $12 per month Netflix fee to access 4K content. Also, the Ultra service is only available on Sony TVs, which limits its reach.

Sony did not respond to a request for comment about the competitiveness of their pricing or whether the Ultra streaming service could be released on other devices such as the company's PlayStation 4 games console.