DirecTV is trying to make it much easier to get 4K content. It’s releasing a new set-top box called the 4K Genie Mini, which is supposed to let any of its customers rent a selection of movies and nature documentaries in 4K. It’s an important step forward for DirecTV: it began offering 4K service last year, but it was only available to people who had a “DirecTV Ready” TV, which is close to no one. To use the 4K Genie Mini, DirecTV customers will still need a 4K TV that supports HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2, but that’s going to be a lot more common.
Unfortunately, what you can watch with the 4K Genie Mini is still pretty limited. DirecTV says that the number of movies available to watch “varies from week to week,” and in most cases you have to wait for a movie to download before you can start watching it. That means unless you plan on regularly renting 4K movies, the 4K Genie Mini will just be an extra expense. Still, it’s a necessary step by one of the United States’ largest TV providers toward making 4K content accessible. DirecTV values the 4K Genie Mini at $99, though it’s likely that the actual pricing of it will vary for customers on different service plans.