Sony's 4K TV media player to land on retailer shelves July 15

The company is now taking orders for the $699 media player, which offers ultra-high-resolution content for Sony 4K TVs -- but only Sony's.

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Sony's FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player.
Sony's FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player. CNET

Sony's FMP-X1 4K Ultra HD Media Player will land in living rooms and on retailer shelves in two weeks, the company announced Monday.

The media player, which was unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show, will play ultra-high-resolution content on 4K TVs, which have four times the number of pixels as a regular HD TV.

However, the box, which retails for $699, is compatible only with Sony 4K TVs. Sony is offering owners of its X900A sets a $200 introductory discount on the media player's price. The media player will be bundled with 10 feature films and video shorts in 4K resolution, which Sony said has an estimated value of $300.

The company also said that Video Unlimited 4K -- Sony's dedicated 4K video distribution service -- is on schedule for a fall launch. Feature films will be available for rent or purchase starting at $7.99 and $29.99, respectively.

The media player is now available for pre-order at Sony's online store.

Sony is pushing hard to move the industry to 4K video in hopes of a new upgrade cycle, such as the one that occurred when people replaced bulky CRT TVs with today's flat-panel models. However, Sony faces challenges in winning over consumers on 4K TVs. There is little video content available that's shot in 4K, and -- by some measurements -- 4K resolution is too high to perceive unless you're sitting close to the screen.