DirecTV Will Deliver 4K Content by 2016

Although 4K TVs are on the rise, finding 4K-optimized content is a challenge. DirecTV subscribers may find it a bit easier to do so within the next two years, as the company announced a plan to acquire and broadcast 4K programming no later than 2016.

During a second-quarter earnings call on Jul. 31, Mike White, the CEO of DirecTV, explained that the satellite TV provider will put its plans to provide 4K content into play over the next 18 months. The plan requires two brand-new satellites that will be able to provide high-resolution content to customers with 4K TVs.

MORE: Best TVs 2014

DirecTV has not revealed exactly how much or what type of content will be available in 4K. This is at least partially because there is just not much 4K programming available at the moment. Netflix has two shows (Breaking Bad and the House of Cards remake) available in 4K, and Sony has a few dozen movies at the ready, but shows and movies are few and far-between otherwise.

Even so, DirecTV will be one of the first TV providers to make a concerted push toward hosting 4K content. TV manufacturers like Sony and Samsung are currently offering 4K content in proprietary formats and usually for download rather than streaming or broadcast. Even if DirecTV doesn't have much to show in the next two years, it could be much more than its competition.

While January 2016 is the outside date for DirecTV airing 4K shows and movies, the company hopes to get underway sometime in 2015. Keep an eye out for more solid details over the next few months, and expect similar announcements from competitors in the same time frame.

Marshall Honorof is a Staff Writer for Tom's Guide. Contact him at Follow him @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

Marshall Honorof

Marshall Honorof is a senior editor for Tom's Guide, overseeing the site's coverage of gaming hardware and software. He comes from a science writing background, having studied paleomammalogy, biological anthropology, and the history of science and technology. After hours, you can find him practicing taekwondo or doing deep dives on classic sci-fi. 

  • ahnilated
    Yeah, and they will charge you another extra fee for that QHD content just like they do for HD content. :(
  • skit75
    It won't be $10.00, either.
  • clonazepam
    Resolution is one thing, but have any of them discussed bitrate yet?
  • soldier44
    Add $20-30 more a month on the bill for this content which will be limited btw.
  • 10tacle
    And it will be so compressed that it won't be true 2160p content anyway. But I'd like to personally thank early 4K adopters though who will help make those HDTVs and PC monitors come own in price and be better in a few years for when the time comes to upgrade from 1080p for HDTVs and 1440p for PC monitors (yeah there are cheap 4K TN monitors out now, but they suck).
  • Darkk
    They wouldn't necessarily have to super compress the 4K streams otherwise what is the point? What they can do is launch few more birds in the sky which may account for the extra $20 per month fee. Older satellites needs to be retired anyway.
  • wurkfur
    The broadcast will come in H.265 which is quite a bit more efficient than their current content. If you are running 4 times the pixels but save 50% on bandwidth, your new 4K content will only require the bandwidth that 2 1080p feeds would require. Actually less, because I doubt the audio stream would be any different.
  • Bondfc11
    This is why I will not be owning a 4k panel anytime soon. I like my Directv and see no reason to have a TV that is pretty much useless at this time.
  • cats_Paw
    The market made a huge flop with 3D trying to shove it down our throats for 2 years.
    I am assuming this is the way the market is expecting to get back on its feet. By selling something that actually improves on the previous technology.
    Its no surprised that 4K is dropping in prices relatively fast.

    I would say that 4k Content will come sooner than we actually expect it, the question is when will it become affordable. Also, older movies will be reworked to sell them as 4k?

    Well, we will have to wait and see.
  • 9th
    I hardly watch TV nowadays but I do want 4K for my computer (gaming mostly). Just waiting for good 4K TV's with display port/HDMI 2.0 inputs to come down enough in price so I can finally upgrade my computer.