Are consoles getting 4K support this year?

3 min read


Rumours, started by video-streaming content provider Netflix of all people, suggest that we’ll be seeing refreshes of both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 this year. Refreshes, they say, that add 4K support to the consoles.

Now, before console owners rejoice and PC gamers look around all confused – the consoles seem barely capable of hitting 1080p half the time, after all – this rumoured 4K support would be for video only. According to Netflix’s CPO Neil Hunt in a now mostly retracted statement, Sony “promised” the company a new PlayStation 4 revision that would offer 4K video playback.

“Aside from the lack of screens available to buy right now, there is also a dearth of set-top boxes capable of showing 4K HDR. Hunt said Sony had “promised” a hardware rev for the PS4 that will include a 4K video capability and that they would “expect eventually” for it to support HDR,” Said the Huffington Post, “as one example of where the industry will seek to catch up. But in the meantime any HDR TV will probably have a Netflix app built in, Hunt said, which solves the problem for now.”

Hunt has since said that he can’t speak for the platform holders and their plans. When asked for comment, Microsoft remained mum.

“We remain committed to bringing leading entertainment features and services to the living room. Beyond that, we have nothing to share at this time.”

Sony issued a similar comment.

“Support for high-resolution 4K output for still images and movie content is in consideration, but there are no further details to share at this time.”

Netflix began streaming UHD content back in April last year.

Personally, I’m not sure we’re ready for a 4K revolution – in games or consumable video media- just yet. While prices are indeed coming down, it’s still prohibitively expensive. I’m also of the opinion that they’re just not worth it. Yes, the extra clarity is nice and all, but I’m still pretty happy with watching things in good old 1080p.

As for games? While cards like the Nvidia GTX 980 and the AMD R9 290X edge us ever closer to viable 4K gaming, I suspect the adoption of the standard is progressing slower than anyone in the industry would like – though much like any of these technologies, it’s being driven by enthusiasts.

“4K adoption is very popular amongst the elite enthusiasts, but understandably slower being adopted in lower-end segments,” said AMD’s Robert Hallock. “I couldn’t characterize the rates with hard numbers as that’s not my area of expertise, but this is the sense I’m getting from interacting with the AMD community every day.”

Last Updated: February 3, 2015

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