September 12, 2018

DISH Network 4K: What You Need to Know

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4K resolution is the latest trend in TV. Sometimes known as Ultra HD, it refers to programs and TVs that have a higher resolution than High Definition. It has about 4 times the number of pixels onscreen compared to regular HD. This makes for deeper colors and better overall picture quality.

How to Watch 4K

To watch shows in 4K resolution, you need two things: a 4K TV and 4K content.

4K TV sets used to be expensive. However, current prices are quickly falling as the technology improves. You can even find budget TV sets that are 4K-compatible now.

Once you have a 4K TV, that leaves only the other part: 4K content.

While there still isn't much content available, DISH does offer 4K content. There are a few programs available in Ultra HD, both live and on-demand. This includes 4K shows (like Planet Earth II) and live sports. Unlike DIRECTV, you can access DISH's 4K content with any package.

However, most of the 4K content you'll get will be from Netflix (which can be accessed directly from DISH's Hopper menu). The good news is that Netflix delivers a lot of their original content in 4K. You might be able to watch shows like Stranger Things, Narcos, and Altered Carbon in Ultra High Definition (actual content may vary).

To watch 4K shows via DISH, you'll need DISH's Hopper 3 DVR. If you want to watch 4K programming on another 4K TV not connected to the Hopper 3, you'll need to get the 4K Joey receiver. These two are the only boxes which can deliver 4K content.


  • What is 4K?
    In a nutshell, 4K is simply a sharper, clearer picture. It displays more pixels onscreen, providing more details to the viewer compared to High Definition.

  • What are the exact resolutions of 4K?
    4K refers to one of two high definition resolutions: 3840 x 2160 pixels or 4096 x 2160 pixels. It has four times the pixel resolution of 1080p (1920 x 1080 pixels).

  • Will upgrading to 4K be a huge difference compared to High Definition?
    That depends. While the resolution jump is as big as SD (480p) to HD (1080p), the effects might not be as obvious. For one thing, the SD to HD switch featured an upgrade from old CRT TV sets to newer, flat screen TVs. These newer TVs had a bigger screen size, which made a big difference in viewing experience.

    However, current 4K TV sets feature better resolution—but not bigger screen sizes. Most popular 4K TV models fall in the 40- to 70-inch range.

    You'll only notice the difference if you're watching 4K content on a 4K TV—while sitting close enough. Beyond a certain distance, your eyes can't see the difference between HD and 4K.

  • Does 4K cost extra with DISH?
    In terms of equipment, you'll need to have:

    • A 4K HDR TV
    • Hopper 3 DVR
    • And/or a 4K Joey receiver

    Upgrading your equipment may cost extra, but you can access 4K programming with any of DISH's TV packages. You'll also need a subscription to Netflix, which costs extra.

  • What does DISH have in terms of 4K programming?
    Not much. It does have a few live and on-demand shows, but it doesn't have a dedicated channel like DIRECTV just yet. However, you can access Netflix on the Hopper 3, which is where you'll find most of the 4K content.

Bottom Line

DISH does offer 4K programming, but it's limited to a few live and on-demand shows. You might also be able to catch certain live sports broadcasts in 4K, which is nice if you're a sports fan. However, most of the 4K content will come from Netflix, which you can access via the Hopper 3.

This by itself isn't a reason to upgrade just yet, unless you're looking to replace or buy a new TV. Until 4K becomes the standard, there's no reason to trade your current HD TV set for a new one. For now, it's better to wait until 4K content becomes more accessible before upgrading your TV set.

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