By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I thought DIRECTV Stream was supposed to add 4K programming by now. I don’t have it on my Apple TV box and my friend who has Fire TV doesn’t have it. What’s the deal? Is there any special way to get it? — Ben, Sacramento, California.
Ben, DIRECTV last week told the TV Answer Man that it had begun adding 4K channels for streaming customers who have the company’s new Gemini set-top. The company added that it would soon offer it on Roku devices.
“We have the 4K broadcast available on DIRECTV channel 104 for customers with Gemini or Roku Devices. In the coming weeks and months, more 4K content will be added on channels 105 and 106,” DIRECTV’s customer service team said in a statement on the company’s community forum.
“The gradual rollout of 4K on DIRECTV via Internet using the Gemini device is underway with the hope that most customers will have it by the end of June,” a DIRECTV spokesman told the TV Answer Man.
Well, we are one day from the end of June so where is your 4K, you ask?
As noted last week, DIRECTV is doing a “gradual rollout” of the 4K feature on DIRECTV Stream. That means it is now available on the Gemini box and most, if not all, 4K-enabled Roku devices. But it’s not available yet on Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV or Android devices. The company says those devices should get it soon, but it does not define ‘soon.’
I have Roku Ultra and Roku Premiere devices and channel 104, a 4K dedicated channel, was added yesterday to my DIRECTV Stream lineup. If it makes you feel any better, you’re not missing much. The channel airs wall-to-wall nature/geography documentaries and the 4K picture is better than HD, but not by a lot. I’ve seen these documentaries look sharper and more vivid on other services.
What we’re really waiting for is live sports in 4K, which will be added to channels 105 and 106 in the coming weeks. Then we should get a better feel of how DIRECTV Stream presents 4K and whether it’s a valuable addition or not. Until then, if you don’t have 4K yet on your streaming device, I wouldn’t lose any sleep over it.
Ben, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann