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Samsung teams up with Amazon, Netflix, and others for streaming 4K content

If the lack of 3D content—and a limited budget—are keeping you from a new UHD TV, Samsung thinks it's solved at least half the problem: The company is teaming up with several video and pay-TV services, including Amazon and Netflix, to deliver 4K videos when they become available.

The company also said it will offer consumers the option of buying a new UHD Video Pack, essentially a hard drive that comes preloaded with movies and documentaries from partners including 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and Paramount Pictures.

For 4K streaming, Samsung is teaming up with Amazon, Comcast Xfinity TV, DirecTV, M-GO and Netflix to offer apps from these services that will enable users to access the 4K content via Samsung’s Smart Hub platform when they become available. The TV will be able to process the higher-quality video streams since they’re equipped with built-in HEVC (H.265) decoders. HEVC is a new, more efficient video format that allows for higher-quality video to be sent at normal broadband speeds (as low as 15 megabits per second).

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Earlier in the day, LG announced that it was also working with Netflix to offer streaming 4K movies and TV shows from the service directly on its UHD TVs.

The UHD Video Pack will initially come pre-loaded with 4K content from Fox and Paramount, but Samsung said it hopes that other studios will join as well. We’re not yet sure how much the hard drive will cost, but it appears that new movies can be added—presumably for a fee—via downloads from the Smart Hub Multimedia panel.

Samsung estimated there would be about 50 UHD titles available in 2014.

—James K. Willcox

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