Epix, the MGM-owned premium network, is making the leap into 4K by offering a mix of movies and series in the format on affiliate VOD platforms as well as via apps on TV-connected devices that support 4K/UHD resolution.
Those affiliates and Epix subscribers are getting access to a 4K library that includes films from the James Bond franchise, including Die Another Day, License to Kill, Goldfinger,From Russia With Love, alongside newer films that include Arrival,Star Trek Beyond, and Epix original series Get Shorty.
Epix has not yet identified which of its pay TV partners will offer the programmer's 4K content on their respective set-top box VOD platforms.
“We are making it available to our distributors and will be making it available to all subscribers through our own site and apps," Epix said in a statement to Multichannel News, when asked if any MVPDs are already on board.
Epix affiliates such as Layer3 TV (now part of T-Mobile) and Dish Network (via its Hopper 3 DVR) offer set-tops that support content. Comcast, which has a deal to start offering Epix in the early part of 2018, is starting to roll out boxes for its X1 platform that supports 4K. DirecTV offers 4K on its satellite TV platform, but doesn't currently carry Epix (AT&T offers Epix on its IPTV platform, U-verse, but doesn't yet offer 4K-capable boxes for that service).
Even as the MVPD-supplied set-top box question gets sorted out, Epix has also launched apps for TV-connected platforms with models that support 4K capabilities, including Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices, Chromecast streaming adapters, Apple TV boxes, and certain Roku players and Roku TVs. TiVo’s Bolt line of retail DVRs also support 4K, and some of TiVo's MVPD partners have begun to roll out 4K-ready Arris-made boxes that run TiVo's software and user interface.
UPDATE: Though Epix is focused on its national reach with MVPDs, it’s also working on plans for a standalone, direct-to-consumer service, company VP and GM Monty Sarhan, told Variety. “It’s on our roadmap and we are working towards it,” he told the pub, but didn’t express an expected timetable.
“EPIX was created to meet changing viewer habits and to provide the best user experience for our viewers,” Sarhan said in the 4K announcement. “It starts with great content, but it’s also about the way our subscribers experience and engage with that content. We are excited to continue our history of innovation by adding 4K Ultra HD. It is part of our continuing commitment to expand and enhance the EPIX experience, and to serve our viewers and distribution partners in new and innovative ways.”
At CES in January, the Consumer Technology Association forecast that 4K TVs will make up half of all total digital displays sold this year, with unit sales expected to reach 22 million, up 27% year-over-year.