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Samsung’s answer to 4K content delivery: a $300 hard drive

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Samsung really wants to offer consumers who buy one of its new, 4K-capable TV sets access to ultra-high-definition content — and it has found a pretty remarkable way to do so: Beginning next month, the company will start to sell consumers a hard drive pre-loaded with 4K movies. The price tag of this product, which the company calls Samsung UHD Video Pack? $300.

For that money, consumers will get a 1TB hard drive that will contain 4K versions of five Hollywood movies: The Counselor, Night At The Museum, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and World War Z. The drive will also contain three unnamed documentaries. And if those movies are not to your liking, you’ll get another chance later this year, when the company will bundle more titles for another edition of the UHD Pack.

Now, I went to Amazon to see how much I would have to pay to get those five movies as Blu-ray discs. Turns out it’s a lot less. All five movies together would set you back around $70. Add a portable 1 TB hard drive, from Samsung no less, and you’d only spend $140.

Of course, that would only get you HD versions of the movies, not 4K, but one has to seriously wonder whether consumers would be willing to pay such a steep premium for that. And of course, an overpriced product like the UHD Video Pack may make 4K streaming options from companies like Netflix, Amazon and M-GO, which Samsung TVs will also support, look even more desirable.

10 Responses to “Samsung’s answer to 4K content delivery: a $300 hard drive”

  1. Meleniumshane90

    Rendered, not edited. The 3d models and CG effects that most films are working with are going to be scalable to resolutions much higher than 1920 x 1080. They just rendered the effects at the resolution the were dealing with. They’ll have to go back into re-render the effects, but most films should have that info backed up somewhere.

    An example of how this is happening right now is what is going on with the Star Trek remastering they’re doing right now.

    They’re finishing up remastering Star Trek TNG on Bluray. Most of Star Trek was filmed in 35mm, so they can extract at least 4K from that before losing detail. Most 35mm film is being scanned in at 4K (3840 x 2160).

    Star Trek primarily used miniatures, models, and very minimal CG. They didn’t really have the technology to make it look as believable as they can now, so it made sense. They did their post production, which included any CG or animations, in Betamax – an interlaced SD format. With the remaster, they cleaned up and scanned in the film negatives and then went back through to redo transporter effects, any CG, and any editing they needed to do.

    Deep Space 9 was the first series to use CG ship models to any extent. Bear in mind this is 1992 to 1999 on a tv show budget, so one would expect it to look like crap, right? As it turns out, one of the guys has most of the ship models backed up on a computer. Using the same program, he went ahead and just re-rendered one of the models.

  2. RattyRatty Twitchie

    How much were Blu-ray versions of movies when Blu-ray was at its infancy?
    There’s your answer. 4K movies will be overpriced until the technology is commoditized.

    Samsung sold off its mechanical hard drive division to Seagate a couple years back IIRC. Too bad, because Samsung HDDs were becoming really good. Their focus on SSD instead is doing good things for that market, though.

    • Valentine North

      Sure, from a price point of view it makes sense, but will it happen?
      720p and 1080p worked because they were needed for large screens. Do 4k TV’s increase in DPI translate the same into physical size? Or is this just a useless tech like Apple’s Retina? Because if it’s the latter, then the price will stay up, for a lot more years.

  3. intelleq

    My understanding is they have been having a really difficult time producing the 4K content that looks half way decent. Or at least better than 1080P. It would seem that some of the available film titles don’t get better by bumping resolution.

    • CGI effects are edited in 1080 with non-CGI done at 4K. I have heard this means about 20% of a films content is actually in native 4k. This would account for the difficulty in making many movies look any better. This is according to a Crestron seminar in mid-2013.

  4. Samsung 1 TB SATA III HDDs at Amazon right now are $92-$220. Their SATA II is $124.50.

    But I wouldn’t buy a Samsung hard drive, either.

    And I wouldn’t buy a Samsung TV, either, so 4K or Blu-ray matters not.