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Netflix starts streaming House of Cards, documentaries in 4K

updated 03:41 pm EDT, Wed April 9, 2014

High-resolution Netflix streams require 2014 smart TVs, fast Internet connection

Netflix has started to stream content at Ultra High Definition (4K), starting with original series House of Cards and a number of nature documentaries. The plans, which it first revealed last year and promoted at CES, provides owners of 4K televisions with more programming, though there are a number of caveats that potential viewers must work around.

According to CNET, streams at the resolution will only be viewable on 4K-resolution smart TVs released in 2014 that include the H.265/HEVC decoder. Owners of earlier 4K televisions will for the most part miss out, though some may be upgradable to add HEVC. Current set-top boxes do not have the capability of playing the content either. Those owning a suitable television will still need to have a fast connection, with Netflix previously noting that its 4K streams are encoded at 15.6Mbps, and so requires a fast connection.

House of Cards, Netflix
House of Cards, Netflix

HDTVTest tried out the service in the United Kingdom, and noticed instances of posterization in some areas. In brighter scenes, it noticed a boost in gamma and contrast, as well as a noticeable improvement in clarity when switching between 1080p and 4K streams.

Netflix's 4K streaming will most likely be welcomed by owners of 4K televisions starved of high-resolution content. Previously, owners of Sony 4K televisions were able to buy a dedicated media player pre-loaded with content, accompanied by a download store offering more shows and films. Amazon is also filming its original content in 4K for future streaming.

by MacNN Staff



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