Sony has been trailing their 4K media streamer and player for ages, but now, it seems, it's about to be shipped
There's every reason for Sony to have a product like this in their repertoire, because after the 3D thing fizzled out it left a big hole in the "why should I buy a new TV" department. So, with a range of pretty superlative 4K TVs now on sale, there's a serious need for for 4K content, and that's what the attractively-named - as ever - FMP-X1 will provide, right out of the box.
Because it comes with a raft of 4K films already loaded: The Amazing Spider-Man™, Bad Teacher featuring Cameron Diaz, The Karate Kid featuring Jackie Chan and Jaden Smith, The Other Guys featuring Will Farrell, Battle: Los Angeles, That's My Boy featuring Adam Sandler, Salt featuring Angelina Jolie, Total Recall (2012) featuring Colin Farrell and Kate Beckinsale, Taxi Driver, The Bridge on the River Kwai plus a "4K video showcase" that is essentially a bunch of 4K stuff that will help you show off your new telly to your friends. On top of that, the FMP-X1 is going to be the receiver for Sony's 4K streaming service which they describe like this:
"Launching soon, Video Unlimited 4K from Sony will be the world's first and only network video service that gives you access to a regularly updated library of full-length 4K Ultra HD feature films and TV shows right in your living room. With over 100 titles to choose from by the end of the year, including some of this summer's big hits, you'll have a wide selection of choices to download for rental or purchase. Store up to 2TB of your 4K favourites on the FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player's built-in hard drive, or add even more space for movies with an external drive (sold separately). It's a whole new way to watch and it's only from Sony."
The whole 4K thing is rolling out in a fascinating way. At the top of the tree, you have Sony, with their homogeneous 4K ecosystem - an example of their "Lens to Living-room" strategy - with the added advantage that they have some of the top past, present and future films in their catalogue.
At the other end of the scale, you have companies like Seiki, with their extraordinarily low-priced TVs that are ready for any 4K content however it arrives - don't forget that YouTube already hosts 4K content.
And of course, at either end of the scale, a lot is going to depend on whether you're one of the privileged few who has super-fast broadband to deliver all this 4K material.