Netflix is now streaming content in 4K in the UK. So, if you’re one of the handful of people with a 4K-ready HDTV set, congratulations, you can now view House of Cards and “Some Documentaries” in the highest resolution known to man.
Netflix revealed plans to support 4K late last year in a bid to ensure its service looks as good as it possibly can on 2014’s most modern and up-to-date HDTVs. There is a caveat, however –– Netflix 4K won’t work on all 4K TVs. In order to tap into the 4K content you must have a 2014 4K TV that includes a built-in H.265/HEVC decoder.
4K TVs are not commonplace yet and probably won’t be for a good few years, and this is largely down to their price –– around £2000-£3000 for a basic model. They are out there, however, it’s just that up to now not much content – aside from YouTube – has been optimised for it.
Commenting on the scarcity of content, Roku CEO Anthony Wood said: “I have a Sony 4K TV and I’ve never seen a 4K picture on it.”
NPD DisplaySearch, a research group looking at 4K TV adoption rates, claims there were 1.9 million 4K TVs sold in 2013. The company reckons that number will rise to 12.7 million in 2014, however, with a notable bump in an adoption rates in the US.
HDTV Test got some hands-on time with the new 4K-enabled content. Here’s an extract from their write up: “To our eyes, the [2160 HD] layer did not look visibly more detailed than the [1080 HD] one in this fairly dark scene. Where the 4K version did shine was with bright, colourful scenes.”