Paramount+, the major American streaming service that’s coming to the UK on June 22, will not have 4K/HDR content when it launches here, despite having a lot of 4K titles on the US version of the service.
Furthermore, the service will not have Dolby Atmos support, the advanced audio format, and will instead offer 5.1 Dolby sound.
In the US, many of Paramount Plus’ flagship shows stream in 4K/HDR, including Star Trek: Discovery and Star Trek: Strange New Worlds – which makes this particularly disappointing for UK fans.
However, Paramount confirmed to us that there are concrete plans to support 4K/HDR and Dolby Atmos in the UK – but only at a later date.
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As fans are patiently waiting for the streaming service to cross the pond, several new details about its features have been revealed this week.
What Is Paramount+?
Paramount+, the major American streaming service owned by Paramount Global (previously ViacomCBS), launched in the US in 2014 (known at first as CBS All Access).
In the UK, Paramount+ will be available as a stand-alone streaming app/service. The app will be available on all the major streaming devices – Amazon Fire TV, Roku and others.
Paramount+ will cost £6.99/month or £69.90/year, and will also offer a free 7-days trial (See more details about Paramount+ UK here).
Sky Cinema subscribers will get it for free – but the deal will apparently be offered only to Sky Q and Sky Glass customers. NOW subscribers with a Sky Cinema membership will not get Paramount+ for free.
It’s important to remember, however, that unlike Peacock – another US streaming service – a Sky subscription is NOT required for those who want to subscribe directly to Paramount+.
In terms of content, Paramount+ will offer more than 8,000 hours of content at launch – original TV shows like the new Star Trek incarnations, Halo, The Good Fight and more), as well as popular US shows like Yellowstone, Mayor of Kingstown and more.
The service will also offer a long list of films – including new releases like Scream 5, and possibly Sonic The Hedgehog 2, which is coming to Paramount+ in the US soon.
Paramount+ UK: More Details Revealed
While not everything is known about Paramount+ in the UK yet, with more to be announced ahead of its launch in June, we can report a few more important details about it.
1. No 4K (Ultra HD) and HDR on Paramount+ UK
4K (also known as Ultra HD) gives you four times the details over Full HD, with a resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels – therefore you get a much better picture quality on supported devices.
HDR stands for “High Dynamic Range”. It’s a technology that helps improve the contrast rates between whites and blacks, making the picture much more accurate, while also providing a larger colour palette and more colour shades.
There are several competing formats for HDR, including HDR10 and HLG (the one used by the BBC), with Dolby Vision considered by many to offer the highest quality.
For 4K and HDR to work, it needs to be supported by your TV, by your player device (either a standalone streaming device like the Fire TV 4K, or your Smart TV, or a 4K Blu-ray player) – and the streaming service you’re using.
In the US, Paramount+ offers many titles in 4K and Dolby Vision HDR – films like A Quiet Place 1 and 2, the Indiana Jones films, the new Scream and more, as well as many TV shows, including Paramount Plus’ own originals.
In the UK, at launch, Paramount+ will only support Full HD (1080p), with plans to add 4K support “in the future”.
2. No Dolby Atmos on Paramount+ UK
The Dolby Atmos sound format, created by Dolby Laboratories, improves surround sound by turning audio elements into three-dimensional objects.
Unlike regular surround sound, which surrounds you with 5.1 or 7.1 speakers, Dolby Atmos adds the element of height – so objects (in the film/show you’re watching) can be heard as if they’re above you, and not just around you.
In the US, Paramount+ already offers Dolby Atmos support on some of its content.
In the UK, at launch, the service will only offer Dolby 5.1 support (with Dolby Atmos planned as a future update).
As with 4K, most of the other streaming services in the UK already offer Dolby Atmos support (on some content) – including Disney+, Prime Video and Netflix.
3. User Profiles on Paramount+ UK
Moving on to some of the good news – at launch, Paramount+ will let users create up to six separate user profiles on a single account.
This means that if you have several family members watching shows, each of them can have their own watchlists, ‘Continue Watching’ rows and watch history.
This is especially important for kids, as you often don’t want them to watch the same content you’re watching.
Most of the other streaming services in the UK already offer user profiles (though that wasn’t always the case), with some notable exceptions to this being Sky’s NOW streaming service and BritBox.
4. Subtitles on Paramount+ UK
In the US, a vast majority of the content on streaming services already has subtitles (captions), with more and more people saying they use subtitles when they watch TV these days (so not just the hard of hearing, for which this is crucial).
In the UK, this isn’t always the case, unfortunately – Sky’s NOW took years to add subtitles (but they’re there now), and Sky’s own TV service STILL doesn’t let you watch 4K content with subtitles due to ongoing “technical issues”.
The Peacock library of content, on Sky and NOW, also doesn’t have subtitles for some reason – even though they’re available on the US version of the streaming service.
According to Paramount+, “the majority of titles” will have optional subtitles at launch.
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