The best 4K movies and TV shows - and how to watch them

Got a 4K telly? Then treat your eyes to some eye-popping UHD entertainment. Updated for July 2019

4K tellies aren't nearly as rare as they once were; in fact, there's a very good chance you've already got one.

But finding things to watch on it in that lovely 4K resolution (you can call it UHD if you prefer) can still be somewhat tricky. There's a fair bit out there if you know where to look, though, and the even better news is that we've done the looking for you.

So with no further ado, here are the 40 very best TV shows and movies that are currently available in 4K. We've even included a direct link to buy or stream each one from Amazon, Netflix or Sky. You're welcome!

And if you've not yet boarded the 4K train, here are the best cheap 4K TVs available right now.

Blue Planet II

The second coming of the BBC’s imperious journey deep into the world’s oceans is bigger and better than the first – at least when we’re talking about the image quality. Now available to stream in its entirety on Netflix in 4K, the 2017 series heads to places few camera crews have been to capture some of the most stunning underwater footage ever put on screen. It’s all narrated by David Attenborough, of course, and one of that rare breed: a series that educates and elucidates just as much as it entertains. Dive in.

Watch Blue Planet II on Netflix

Love Death + Robots

This collection of R-rated animated shorts about the future is like a tube of Smarties for 4K fans – each of the 18 films is short and tasty, and as soon as you finish one there’s another one right there to eat/watch.

With a variety of animation styles on show and a bunch of clever ideas to shove inside your head alongside the gorgeous visuals, Love Death + Robots is a definite top-tier Netflix entry for 4K/HDR TV owners. It’s also jam-packed with bloody violence, sex and filthy language, so dainty types should be warned – this ain’t your typical cartoon series.

Watch Love Death + Robots on Netflix

The Umbrella Academy

Based on the award-winning graphic novels penned by none other than My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way, this dark fantasy series about a dysfunctional family of superheroes – including Ellen Page and Robert Sheehan – comes off like a mash-up of The X-MenHellboyMisfits and Skins.

Fifteen years after drifting apart, six unconventional siblings must reunite to save their world (an alternate reality in which JFK was never assassinated) from apocalypse – not to mention a sociopathic assassin played by Mary J. Blige. As with many Netflix Originals, The Umbrella Academy is a visual treat, presented not only in pixel-packed 4K but HDR too.

Watch The Umbrella Academy on Netflix

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

House of Cards’ Rachel Brosnahan stars as Midge Maisel, a vivacious, fast-talking housewife with what she thought was the perfect 1950s upper-middle class New York lifestyle: husband, kids, a beautiful Upper West Side apartment.

When an unexpected turn puts that all in jeopardy, she decides to pursue a career in standup comedy – and discovers she has a rare talent not only for making people laugh but for hitting upon life’s truths and enigmas while doing it.

The show now numbers a couple of seasons and has bagged a ton of awards, so Amazon’s megabucks has not gone to waste – and there’s plenty evidence of the series’ care and craft on show if you view it in crispy 4K UHD, where its recreation of mid-century New York is, as the kids say, “on point”.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs Maisel on Amazon Prime

Chef’s Table (S1-6)

This series (now six seasons strong – seven if you count Gallic-focussed spin-off Chef's Table France) follows world-renowned chefs as they take viewers on a personal journey through their culinary evolution. Essentially, each episode affords the viewer an intimate, informative glimpse into what gets a genius's creative juices flowing.

Lovingly shot in razor-sharp 4K quality (with HDR too, natch ), you can almost smell the doubtless delightful aromas drifting through the screen and tickling your nostrils. From glistening, perfectly-cooked cuts of meat to steaming pasta dishes and dainty desserts, this is pornography for your appetite. Just try not to dribble all over your remote control, eh?

Watch Chef's Table on Netflix

Roma

Undoubtedly the best Netflix-produced movie yet, Roma is the first film from a streaming service that made the cinematic establishment really sit up and take notice – the evidence being its ten Oscar nominations and three wins.

As you’d expect from director Alfonso Cuarón, previously responsible for the likes of Gravity and Children of Men, Roma is both immensely impressive on a technical level – beautifully shot and composed in black and white – and emotionally charged, resulting in a movie that’s every bit as powerful as anything made primarily for the big screen. Semi-autobiographical and inspired by Cuarón’s childhood in Mexico, the film follows an indigenous maid to a wealthy middle-class family as she experiences a series of momentous (and everyday) events.

Watch Roma on Netflix

Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

Gus Van Sant’s affecting, affirming biopic stars Joaquin Phoenix as John Callahan, an alcoholic for whom a particularly epic bender ends in an horrific car accident. Paralysed and depressed, Callahan eventually finds solace in friends, art and the twelve-step programme.

Phoenix is typically excellent as the often-unlikeable Callahan, and there’s also superb support from Jonah Hill and Rooney Mara. A funny, thought-provoking and inspiring tale about conquering your worst impulses and “choosing life”.

Watch Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot on Amazon Prime

The Expanse (S1-3)

Amazon Prime has recently acquired the first three seasons of this cult sci-fi series – and committed to delivering a fourth season in the wake of its cancellation by original creator SyFy.

That news will be music to the ears of anyone who digs sprawling, critically-acclaimed and complex space operas, as The Expanse is all of those things: set a couple of centuries in the future where humanity’s colonisation of the solar system has resulted in tension between competing factions, it’s basically Game of Thrones with spaceships instead of dragons. And it’s all available to stream in beautiful 4K!

Watch The Expanse on Amazon Prime

Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan (S1)

Even if you don’t already know who Jack Ryan is, this big budget series has “Tom Clancy” in the title, so you should know the drill: espionage, counter-espionage, international terrorism and moral grey areas about what actually constitutes torture. Yeehaw.

The Office’s John Krasinski stars as Clancy’s CIA analyst and all-round American hero, a role previously played by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Ben Affleck and Chris Pine. If you’re thinking the casting of the loveable Krasinski means a slightly more nuanced view of US foreign policy than previous Clancy adaptation’s, you’d be wrong. With Michael Bay numbering among the executive producers, perhaps we should have known this’d be a little lacking in the sort of shades of grey you’d find in, say, Homeland.

But if you can stomach the jingoism and simply enjoy this for what it is – a boy’s own techno-thriller spy story – you’ll find it a slick, pacy ride that looks and sounds glorious on a 4K telly.

Watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan on Amazon Prime

Patriot (S1-2)

This quirky spy drama blends deadpan humour, action and a coterie of memorable characters for a truly original whole.

Michael Dorman excels as the permanently put-upon CIA operative John Lakeman, who really just wants to be a folk singer – only for life to keep conspiring against him.

The smart plot takes in Iran, nuclear weapons, a single-minded Luxembourger cop and a lot more info about industrial piping than you’d ever need know. It’s genuinely laugh-out-loud funny at times and the acting throughout is excellent. A real winner.

Watch Patriot on Amazon Prime

1
2
3
4