In case you are not aware, 4K is the resolution that you want to watch your video content with. Unfortunately, the latest consoles, Microsoft's Xbox One and the Sony PlayStation 4, are not set up for 4K streaming. All that could soon change by the end of this year, and you might need to purchase a newer version of your favorite console. This is what we know about the Microsoft Xbox One and Sony PS4 consoles and 4K Support Rumors.
According to VG 24/7, 4K-capable PS4 and Xbox One consoles could be releasing in the fall. Does this mean that consumers will have to buy a new Xbox One or PS4? That would seem like an inconvenience for customers who just wanted the latest thing, which is very difficult for electronics companies to give on a consistent basis.
During Sony's CES press conference, Netflix chief product officer John Hunt had "promised" to bring a 4K-capable PS4 hardware revision to the market. According to Forbes magazine, Netflix has declined to discuss this matter, but they did mention that the PS4 and Xbox One consoles perform a traditional two-year hardware refresh that should be coming in October or November. It is possible that both Sony and Microsoft could add the necessary components for 4K video playback.
So it is possible that Microsoft and Sony are working on 4K, but they don't seem to want to talk about it. This is not good as Netflix was able to deliver streaming 4K content back in April of last year, and Amazon was able to do that as of last December.
It would require great hardware changes in order to make 4K streaming work. According to Forbes, it would take a chip for decoding the HEVC 4K UHD streaming format that are used by both Amazon and Netflix. It would also require a chipset capable of handling the HDCP 2.2 copy protection protocols required for 4K playback. Also, the HDMI ports would have to be upgraded from 1.4 versions (capable of 4K at 30 fps) to version 2.0, capable of 4K at 60 fps.
Surely these changes can only be done by offering a new version of the Xbox One and PS4, which is what Gotta Be Mobile is predicted. It is possible that the companies might want to invoke some kind of trade-in program, but consumers can work-around this by streaming 4K through set-top boxes or smart TVs.
It is also probable that Sony and Microsoft might create some kind of accessory that would allow 4K streaming, and perhaps third-party accessory makers might offer the same deal. Of course, even if both Sony and Microsoft were able to get their consoles ready for video streaming of 4K, this still does not allow for 4K gaming. Considering the level of detail in most video games today, there will be a demand for 4K gaming, which means that the big console makers will have to figure out how to do that.
If Sony and Microsoft are planning on doing some kind of upgrade and releasing a PlayStation 4.5 or Xbox 1.5 that could handle 4K, the best time for them to announce it would be at the Electronic Entertainment Expo, or E3, an annual video game convention that happens every summer. Then I would imagine that the new updated Xbox Ones and PS4s or their respective hardware upgrade accessories would be available just in time the holiday season.