Get 4K Movies Without Having to Upgrade to 4K Ultra HD Discs

This is an affordable life hack that all movie-lovers should know about! Especially during the holiday season!

Photo by Jens Kreuter on Unsplash

With Black Friday behind us, and the Christmas holidays still on the way, tons of stores and shopping sites are having huge discounts on 4K TVs, 4K Ultra HD media players, and movies.

Here’s my experience with 4K entertainment so that you can know how to save a few bucks this holiday season, while enjoying your home entertainment in the best way possible:

I was nervous when 4K Ultra HD was starting to become a thing. I mean, I’d stopped buying DVDs ages ago, because Blu-rays were the way to go. Not only did Blu-ray films look and sound better, but they were more durable and they often came with a Digital Copy of the film (and a copy of the DVD version too, which I’d share with my family), which was a definite plus. Especially for long car rides where I could download a copy of a film from my digital library onto my iPad, and enjoy the flick on the go.

Some of my movies

I wasn’t hesitant of 4K Ultra HD because I’d have to upgrade to a 4K TV or anything like that. Besides being a cinephile, I’m also a tech nerd, so that wouldn’t be an issue. Anyways, getting the best picture and sound at home was something I definitely wanted to strive for. And since I’m an aspiring screenwriter, this is all a long-term investment (kind of).

The problem with the new movies that were going to be sold in stores was with the small library of films that I already owned. The majority was in Blu-ray and what would happen when I started buying the 4K Ultra HD discs? Would I notice the upgrade from Blu-ray so much that I’d have to upgrade all those movies to the new format? That would cost a fortune. I’m also kind of a completionist, so I’d rather have all of my titles in one format. It’s kind of OCD, I know.

Anyways, like I said earlier, I had started a digital collection of all my Digital Copies from movies that I’d bought, and also from friends who didn’t use their own digital codes.

Once 4K Ultra HD movies were becoming a thing, iTunes started upgrading all HD movie purchases in the store to 4K — for free! This included purchases that have been made in the past. As long as they were HD and not SD, they’d get a free upgrade to the best possible offering that iTunes had. I’m sure it was done to have people still buy movies on iTunes, but either way, I was stoked.

Then things changed again when Movies Anywhere came out, because the program connects all of your digital libraries so that films weren’t scattered throughout the ‘Cloud’ anymore.

Basically, almost all of my movies from my different digital libraries (VUDU, iTunes, Google Play, etc.) could play on iTunes. They were all now on the same library, even though I may have redeemed the digital codes through different services. All those movies would also be able to upgrade to 4K on iTunes (if an HD version was redeemed, but since I primarily got the codes from Blu-ray films, they all were). It was a game changer.

So how do you get 4K movies without buying a 4K Ultra HD player or disks?

Easy. All you need is the new Apple TV 4K, which can also play movies in UHD, but can do even more with Dolby Vision and Atmos. It’s like getting more for less.

Of course, you do need a 4K TV and an internet connection (the downside: the movies cannot be downloaded on the Apple TV, only streamed), but in this Netflix streaming day-of-age, that’s not really a problem (Apple TV 4K can also stream 4K movies from Netflix and more).

So, you can now buy digital copies straight from iTunes or Movies Anywhere (I recommend iTunes since not all film distributors are on board with Movies Anywhere yet, but the majority of all the biggest players are). You can even still buy Blu-ray, and the best part is that you have a DVD copy to share, and you can then redeem the Digital Code for an upgraded 4K copy, thanks to iTunes! All without having to buy the 4K Ultra HD disc (which is more expensive than Blu-Ray).

Now think twice when shopping for movies for your favorite cinephile! This a safe and affordable way to get the highest-quality entertainment!

Some of the latest editions to my iTunes library, most of which can be played in 4K!

P.S. Apparently some people are saying that HD transfers from Movies Anywhere don’t get upgraded to 4k.

I’m not entirely sure though, because I’m looking at my library right now and I’m almost sure that some of these 4K films weren’t purchased on iTunes.

Some people (on Reddit) are claiming this article is fake news and all that. So, just wanted to write this, because I’m not too sure either way now.

Either way, 4K films on iTunes are still cheaper, and HD digital copies (from Blu-rays, etc.) that are redeemed in iTunes still get upgraded.

Sorry if there is any confusion or if some things are a bit off!

Hopefully there are still some good pointers in here. I’m not trying to be a journalist or anything. Just want to share my experiences.