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.
The Irishman isn’t just director Martin Scorsese’s long-awaited return to the world of organised crime, it also unites the cinematic Holy Trinity of tough guy gangster movie stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and an out-of-retirement Joe Pesci. It’s kind of like The Expendables, but with people who can act.
It also looks beautiful, with Scorsese’s trademark editing and camerawork showcased by Netflix in beautiful HDR and 4K.
With a story spanning several decades (it’s a showcase for how far CG de-aging technology has come) the film delves one of 20th century America’s biggest mysteries: the disappearance of union boss Jimmy Hoffa (Pacino), who had links to both mainstream politics and the mob. It’s mainly told through the recollections of De Niro’s eponymous “Irishman” Frank Sheeran, a union member who becomes a hitman and enforcer for both Hoffa and the mafia.
The Crown (S1-3)
The Crown ranks as one of Netflix’s best original series to date. That’s partly down to the phenomenal production values that have been instilled in this retelling of Queen Lizzie II’s early years. Over £100 million was invested in this extravaganza, starring Claire Foy and Matt Smith (and, from the third season, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies), and that all adds up to a swanky amount of period detail as well as several weighty performances.
The Safdie brothers’ handheld camera feverishly follows Adam Sandler’s hustling jeweller around New York as he attempts to juggle the demands of celebrity clients, his wife, his girlfriend and a bunch of mobsters looking for their money.
If you’re looking for a relaxing watch, Uncut Gems ain’t it – the camerawork, Daniel Lopatin’s electronic score and Sandler’s barely hinged performance (he’s become an expert at playing a man teetering on the edge) all serve to conjure a feeling of unease and anxiety that barely lets up over two hours. It’s deliciously delirious stuff.
“How do we get ahead of crazy if we don’t know how crazy thinks?”
This drama series tracks the efforts of two FBI agents to better understand the inner workings of serial killers’ minds. It was a field of research not considered useful by law enforcement top brass in the late 1970s, when the show is set, but our protagonists believe that learning how murderers’ brains function is key to being able to catch them.
If the subject matter sounds overly grim, don’t worry – Mindhunter isn’t all doom and gloom, being peppered with moments of comedy (often black comedy, admittedly) and underpinned by the interesting dynamic of the main characters’ often-strained relationship. It’s also fantastically well-made, with excellent camerawork, sound and editing – not all that surprising when you realised several episodes were directed by David Fincher.
Breaking Bad (S1-5)
Yes, Breaking Bad had some memorable supporting characters – Los Pollos Hermanos kingpin Gus Fring, psychopath Tuco Salamanca and, of course, 'Better Call Saul' Goodman. But one of its more subtle stars is the Albuquerque landscape, shot beautifully on 35mm film and the main reason why the series has the distinctive look of a modern spaghetti western.
The money Breaking Bad saved by shooting in New Mexico (rather than California, as Vince Gilligan had originally planned) was pumped into its cinematic visual production, ensuring that its 4K version bursts from your screen like a Tuco-bothering chemical explosion.
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.
Love Death + Robots (S1)
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.
The Umbrella Academy (S1)
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-Men, Hellboy, Misfits 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.
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (S1-3)
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”.
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?
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.
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”.