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The first commercially available 4K camera for cinematographic purposes was the Dalsa Origin, released in 2003. YouTube began supporting 4K for video uploads in 2010 as a result of leading manufacturers producing 4K cameras.  Users could view 4K video by selecting "Original" from the quality settings until December 2013, when the 2160poption appeared in the quality menu.  In November 2013, YouTube started to use the VP9 video compression standard, saying that it was more suitable for 4K than High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC); VP9 is being developed by Google, which owns YouTube.

The projection of movies at 4K resolution at cinemas began in 2011. Sony was offering 4K projectors as early as 2004. The first 4K home theater projector was released bySony in 2012.

Samsung UN105S9 105 inch ultra-high-definition 4K television.

In February 2014, HIGH TV (High 4K) launched the first ultra-HD, 24/7 general-entertainment TV channel available worldwide. The channel was the first of its kind and featured a unique mix of entertainment, lifestyle, extreme sporting, movies, and everything in ultra-HD quality, with about 200 hours of new content each year. The High 4K team already distributes the channel to pay-TV operators, IPTV, mobile, WebTV, etc., as well as distributing 4K content worldwide.

Sony is one of the leading studios promoting UHDTV content, as of 2013 offering a little over 70 movie and television titles via digital download to a specialized player that stores and decodes the video. The large files (~40GB), distributed through consumer broadband connections, raise concerns about data caps.

In 2014, Netflix began streaming House of CardsBreaking Bad  and "some nature documentaries" at 4K to compatible televisions with an HEVC decoder. Most 4K televisions sold in 2013 did not natively support HEVC, with most major manufacturers announcing support in 2014.  Amazon Studios began shooting their full-length original series and new pilots with 4K resolution in 2014.  In early 2014, adult sites started offering 4K video content. 

Home video projection

Despite rapid price drops beginning in 2013 for viewing devices, the home cinema digital video projector market saw little expansion, with only a few manufactures (only Sony As of 2015) offering limited 4K-capable lineups, with native 4K projectors commanding five-figure price tags well into 2015 before finally breaking the US$10,000 barrier.  This despite criticisms that at normal direct-view panel size and viewing distances, the extra pixels of 4K are redundant at the ability of normal human vision. On the contrary, home cinema employs much larger screen sizes without necessarily increasing viewing distance to scale. JVC has used a technique known as "e-shift" to extrapolate extra pixels from 1080p sources to display 4K on screen through upscaling or from native 4K sources at a much lower price than native 4K projectors. This technology of non-native 4K entered its fourth generation for 2016.  JVC used this same techcology to provide 8K flight simulation for Boeing that met the limits of 20/25 visual acuity.