PlayStation 4 Pro Picks Up 4K Video Playback

Posted on March 28, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Games, Xbox One with 38 Comments

PlayStation 4 Pro Picks Up 4K Video Playback

Sony announced this week that it now supports 4K/UHD video playback on its flagship PlayStation 4 console, upping the stakes in its battle with Microsoft.

“The [PS4] Media Player app is getting an update to support 4K video playback on PS4 Pro,” Sony VP John Koller revealed. “Following this update, 4K videos in MP4 format saved on a USB stick or home server can be played on the Media Player app (remember, you’ll also need a 4K compatible TV to watch the videos in 4K).”

Interestingly, this support extends to PlayStation VR: Those with a PS4 Pro and Sony’s virtual reality solution can now watch 4K VR video content as well. Granted, playback will be limited to Full HD (1920 x 1080), the maximum resolution of that peripheral. But Koller notes that 4K VR videos will still display “in a higher image quality compared to HD VR videos.”

The PS4 Pro also supports 4K video streaming via apps such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu. What it’s missing, and this is honestly quite surprising, is support for 4K/UHD Blu-ray discs. For that, you will need an Xbox One S or a compatible standalone Blu-ray player.

I wrote about the Xbox One S’s support for 4K/UHD last summer after I upgraded to this new console version and acquired a stunning 55-inch Samsung 4K/UHD set that also supports HDR. On the Xbox One S, the Dashboard runs at 4K, and you can enjoy 4K content via local or network-based videos, Netflix and other streaming apps, and Blu-ray.

What you can’t do, of course, is play video games in 4K. But then, you can’t really do that on PS4 Pro either. For true 4K gaming, you’ll need a very powerful (and expensive and complex) gaming PC. Or you can wait for Xbox One “Project Scorpio,” which is coming this fall and will allegedly support true 4K gaming. I’m dubious but hopeful.

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