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8 Eye-Popping Ultra HD Videos To Watch On Your New 4K TV [Stuff to Watch]

Tim Brookes 27-01-2015

Wander down to your local electronics boutique and you’re sure to find a selection of commanding 4K TVs, just begging to take over your living room. If TV doesn’t cut it, a new breed of computer monitor, newer iMacs and even virtual reality headsets are all going 4K – but there’s just one problem.

Content is sparse. The latest games consoles only output a 1080p image, and you’ll need to spend serious money on a couple of high-end graphics cards if you’re hoping to enjoy the upcoming GTA V in 4K.

But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing in 4K to watch. We’ve trawled high and low and found some eye-popping 4K videos that take full advantage of the ridiculous number of pixels at your disposal, for free.

Note: You can enable 4K by clicking on YouTube’s quality toggle in the lower-right corner of the embedded video.

93 Minutes of Open Ocean

Remember those 1080p looping fireplace videos that were all the rage when high definition first landed? It appears that this is the natural progression – over an hour and a half of the South China Sea, with no breaks, no repetition and unfortunately nothing in the way of sound. Zen? Pointless? Who cares, just look at all that blue…


In the same vein as documentaries like Samsara and Baraka (each of which peak at 1080p), Biosphere is a narrative-free documentary that takes an observant view of life on planet earth. Beautifully shot in glorious 4K, see Canada, Bhutan, Papa New Guinea and Chile in stupendous definition, with a fitting ambient soundtrack to boot.

The Streets of Japan by GoPro

You’ve probably heard by now that GoPro’s latest HERO4 Black “strap it to your face and jump off a mountain 7 Videos That Will Make You Want a GoPro Camera [Stuff to Watch] Clever marketing goes beyond memorable advertising when it demonstrates exactly what you are missing out on by not owning a product. I'm not usually a sucker for advertising, preferring instead to make my own mind... Read More ” action-camera is capable of shooting in 4K at 30 frames per second. I can’t think of a better way to experience Japan’s bonkers custom motorcycle and four-wheeled Bosozoku scenes than through an arsenal of imaginatively-mounted GoPro cameras.

Peru & Machu Picchu

Devin Super Tramp‘s YouTube channel is a bounty of ultra HD video, and it’s well worth a trawl (and a follow) if you’re looking for short, sharp bursts of 4K content. Of the videos on his channel, one that really stood out is the result of a recent trip to Peru and its most famous landmark, Machu Picchu.

New York in 4K

Around The World 4K is a new international YouTube project focused on capturing every corner of the world in ultra high definition, “for the pleasure and entertainment of our dear viewers” over the coming two years. They’ve stopped off in Chicago, the Grand Canyon, the Sedona and Monument valleys and their most popular video to date, New York.

The Sun & The Earth

Advances in space photography have enabled us to capture some incredibly impressive sights of distant galaxies, star clusters and cosmic phenomena on the fringes of the known universe. Point the lens closer to home however, and the results are just as impressive. Take this 4K timelapse video of the sun from October 14th to October the 30th 2014, complete with the largest observed sunspot in 22 years and backed by the sun’s “heartbeat”.

Similarly impressive is this timelapse of the Earth, captured by the Elektro-L weather satellite between May 15th and May 19th 2011. Though this is 4K quality (3840×2160 pixels), the satellite itself is capable of creating a 121 megapixel image at a size of 11136×11136 pixels, with a version half that size available on request.

Gigapixels of Andromeda

Your HDTV doesn’t just do wonders for video, but also images. What better image to explore than the largest one ever taken by NASA? This 4.3 GB, 1.5 billion pixel-rich shot of the Andromeda galaxy features over 100 million stars, thousands of star clusters and a total visible area of 40,000 light-years. And if you want to feel really small this is just one galaxy – hundreds of billions of other galaxies also exist.

Check out the full image to further blow your mind.

For more on this, check out how 4K compares to other resolutions How 4K TV Resolution Compares to 8K, 2K, UHD, 1440p, and 1080p What is 4K TV? Would you prefer 2K or 8K resolution? Here's what you need to know about HDTV resolutions and the number of pixels. Read More and find out which is best between Chromecast Ultra, Apple TV 4K, Roku Ultra, and Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K Chromecast Ultra vs. Apple TV 4K vs. Roku Ultra vs. Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: Which Is Best? Between the Chromecast Ultra, the Roku Ultra, the Apple TV 4K, and the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K: which is best? Read More .

Image credit: NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton (University of Washington, USA), B. F. Williams (University of Washington, USA), L. C. Johnson (University of Washington, USA), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler. (Adapted)

Explore more about: 4K, Stuff to Watch, YouTube.

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  1. Joseph Helminiak
    May 1, 2016 at 1:04 am

    I use two 39 Seiki 4K screens, They suck as TV's but I love them for office work!

  2. larry mullins
    April 3, 2016 at 4:38 pm

    Considering moving up from 1080P to 4K. How much broadcast and cable TV is available in 4K. Is it worth my money for simple TV/cable watching to go to 4K. Do you expect to increace soon??

    • Tim Brookes
      April 4, 2016 at 1:53 am

      I guess that depends on where in the world you live, Larry. It's also worth noting that, though not bleeding edge, 4K is still relatively new in terms of user adoption — not a huge number of people have bothered updating to 4K devices, because they've not really had much reason to.

      Even if you don't play games, there's no question that consoles help drive user adoption — and the current crop aren't 4K ready (though Sony is apparently working on a PS4.5 which introduces 4K for system stuff, but not games). All current-gen consoles output at 1080p maximum, and even 4K BluRay requires a 4K/UHD-compliant player.

      Netflix has some 4K/UHD content, to find it you can search those terms — might be worth a go if you use the service? Most new TVs come with a Netflix client which you use to access this content, because PS4/Xbox One/Apple TV etc don't output in 4K (yet).

      Personally I'm not bothered about buying a new TV because I'd have very little to watch on it, but that's just me.


  3. likefunbutnot
    January 27, 2015 at 1:37 pm

    I use a 28" Samsung 4k screen for a tertiary display at home. I use it to monitor remote systems; as a screen, it actually leaves much to be desired. I also have a cheap 40" Seikei screen in my office that's configured for the same purpose. I'm looking forward to 4k screens with high enough color accuracy to do videos like these justice hitting affordable price points this year. I do think that 4k will be a mainstream format sooner rather than later.

    • Zack Murphy
      April 27, 2016 at 9:17 pm

      I'm assuming you know that "tertiary" has four syllables while "third" only has one. It's fairly well established that those using the word "tertiary" outside of peer-reviewed scientific papers are typically thought of as "douchey". It's nearly as bad as saying/writing "penultimate" versus second-to-last (both have the EXACT same number of syllables).

      • Zack Murphy
        April 27, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        Yes, I do "like" to use "quotations" often.

      • sokubiotoshi
        July 23, 2016 at 7:20 pm

        I assume that you're unable to see the irony in calling someone else's writing "douchey" in a paragraph-long criticism of that person's use of a single word instead of your preferred synonym.

        • Donald J. Trump
          September 15, 2018 at 2:50 am

          wew lad