This story is over 5 years old.


Got a 4K TV? Here Are the First 10 Things to Watch and Play On It

A starter pack of eye-popping shows, games, and movies to stick on your new screen.

Even earlier this year, buying a 4K Ultra HD television seemed like a questionable choice. Sure, the TVs—which pack in 4x the total pixels of 1080p for added clarity—are the better bet for the future, but right now, the amount of content produced at that resolution is fairly thin and can be costly.

However, the tide is turning: the new PlayStation 4 Pro console runs both native and upscaled games in 4K, as well as streaming media, while the Xbox One S console runs upscaled 4K games, streaming 4K content, and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant video, meanwhile, have a growing selection of 4K shows and movies, plus quality 4K TV sets are diving in price. No longer is 4K solely for the most eager of early adopters.


If you've made the leap or are planning to soon, then you ought to know what's waiting for you on the other side: not a ton of great stuff just yet, but plenty of quality content to watch and play. Here are our 10 top picks as of now, spanning a variety of devices, platforms, and experiences, ensuring that you're ready to sample the best of what 4K has to offer today.

Image: Sony

Uncharted 4: A Thief's End

Naughty Dog's Indiana Jones-esque adventure was already the prettiest game on PlayStation 4, and that magnificence is only amplified by the PS4 Pro hardware. Bumped up to 1440p and then upscaled to 4K, the marvelously realistic environments showcase incredible detail, and the lifelike character performances are a delight. Even if you haven't played the previous entries, Nathan Drake's final quest should be the first thing you toss into a PS4 Pro. Also, it just happens to be one of the best games of the year.

Available on: PlayStation 4 Pro

Image: Netflix

Stranger Things

This year's breakout Netflix Original might be set in the 1980s (and pays homage to its movies), but it doesn't look dated: the eight-part sci-fi series is crisp and beautiful in Ultra HD. The added clarity comes through in the characters and their reactions, and especially helps to amplify the atmosphere and terror as well. Even if you already marathoned it on a lesser TV this fall, it's worth watching again to soak in all of that added detail.


Available on: Netflix

Image: Microsoft

Forza Horizon 3

The Xbox One S doesn't render anything natively above 1080p, unlike the PS4 Pro, but a gorgeous game with 4K upscaling and HDR support can still turn heads on a 4K TV. That's the case with Forza Horizon 3, the latest in Microsoft's open-road racing series. The game offers an engrossing romp across a fictional Australia, spanning beaches, urban roads, jungle mud, and plenty more, and the vivid colors and brilliant cars just pop off the screen.

Available on: Xbox One S

Image: Warner Bros.

Mad Max: Fury Road

One of the biggest and boldest cinematic masterpieces of the last few years look great in 4K. Mad Max: Fury Road's vaunted chase sequences and showdowns, which merge practical effects with CG wizardry, gain a new intensity in higher definition. And the movie's more hypnotic and surreal sequences benefit greatly from HDR support. A film this stunning benefits greatly from the bump up to 4K.

Available on: Ultra HD Blu-ray

The Grand Tour

Amazon's new show from the former Top Gear trio is off to a strong start, and it's already one of the best things you can fire up on your 4K TV via Prime Instant Video. It's car porn mostly, with some competitive ribbing from the co-hosts in between, and it's all handled beautifully: a first-episode showdown between the hybrid Ferrari LaFerrari, McLaren P1, and Porsche 918 sizzles in Ultra HD, with super-sharp slow-mo sequences and CG diagrams in between.


Available on: Amazon Prime Instant Video

Image: Square Enix

Rise of the Tomb Raider: 20 Year Celebration

True, Rise of the Tomb Raider isn't much of a leap from Uncharted 4: they're both dazzling adventure games that pair wild set pieces with hand-to-hand combat and light puzzle-solving. But they're also both ideal 4K showcase games, as they alternate between insane action sequences and quieter exploration amidst ultra-pretty terrain. On the PS4 Pro, you have multiple video options—but to my eyes, native 4K at 30 frames per second looks the best.

Available on: PlayStation 4 Pro

Image: 20th Century Fox

The Martian

The Matt Damon-starring crowd-pleaser about an astronaut making the best of a really, really bad situation looks astonishing in 4K. You'll see staggering detail across the board, whether it's the rocky surface of Mars, the faces of the characters, or the helmet cam overlays. Also, while we see a lot of the same terrain in The Martian, HDR support provides some added contrast during intense sequences—like the pitch-dark storm early on.

Available on: Ultra HD Blu-ray

Image: Netflix

Chef's Table

Netflix's acclaimed show about some of the best restaurants in the world—and the ambitious, oft-eccentric chefs behind them—becomes all the more appealing in 4K resolution. You've never seen food look this amazing on a screen before, as the show's close-up glances of plates spotlight even more of the incredible intricacies of these creations. Spinoff series Chef's Table: France is also available in Ultra HD on Netflix.


Available on: Netflix

Image: Thekla, Inc.

The Witness

The other games on this list are frenzied, glossy affairs—the cutting edge of AAA gaming. The Witness, a puzzle game from a small team led by the creator of indie darling Braid, is something different altogether, but it still shines in 4K. Thanks to a recent patch, you can run the game in native 4K at 30 frames per second or 1440p upscaled to 4K with 60fps. In either case, the lush landscapes delight the eyes while the puzzles simultaneously prod and pummel your brain.

Available on: PlayStation 4 Pro

Image: AMC

Breaking Bad

Hopefully you've already seen Breaking Bad, the modern masterpiece and one of the finest TV series ever created, but it's worth seeing again in 4K. Converted from 35mm film, it doesn't have the immediate visual pop of some of the other shows and games on this list, but the added clarity gives the show's unrivaled cinematography an added chance to shine—and besides, it's surely the best show you can watch in Ultra HD. Spinoff Better Call Saul is also showing in 4K on Netflix.

Available on: Netflix

(Note on availability: Some of these movies or shows might be available on other digital platforms, but not every smart TV or streaming device has access to the same apps. In some cases, they may not even have the latest versions of each app, or be able to access 4K content on that device. Have a look around the apps on your streaming device to see what you can find, and be sure that a show or movie is listed for 4K or Ultra HD before spending any money. Also, you'll need the $11.99/month Netflix plan to stream any 4K content.)