Netflix Tests 4K Ultra HD Streaming For Launch In 2014

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News Posted: Sun, Nov 3 2013 10:15 AM
4K content and associated support for it is coming, from game systems to memory cards to displays to smartphones, and Netflix is doing what it can to prepare for the shift from 1080p HD to the massively higher resolution. The video service is publicly testing a series of streaming 4K videos at different frames per second (FPS).

Netflix's "El Fuente" 4K test footage (res scaled down)

There are six in total, and each is the same 8-minute “El Fuente” title. The videos are at a 4K resolution at 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50, and 59.94 FPS. If you have a Netflix account, you should be able to view the videos on any of your devices, provided you have the Internet bandwidth to hack it--don’t forget, there are plenty of people who can barely stream 1080p HD content, so it may be awhile before some users have the bandwidth to really enjoy 4K content. (For example, in the screenshot above, you can tell that the video was scaled down.)


Netflix has been wise about staying ahead of the curve in the video market instead of standing pat. Years ago, the company had a plan to dump its DVD-by-mail service entirely by 2014, and more recently Netflix started developing its own programming, which has so far wrought popular series such as “Orange Is The New Black” and “House of Cards”.

Preparing for 4K is another example of Netflix’s due diligence, which is why the company is so ubiquitous and dominant in its market. We expect to see Netflix offering some 4K Ultra HD titles next year, or possibly starting in 2015.
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RWilliams replied on Sun, Nov 3 2013 10:44 AM

I'd be interested in learning the bitrate of the 4K stream versus what Netflix uses for 720p/1080p. You could encode a 720p file to be 5Mbps and could encode a 4K file to be 5Mbps... the latter is going to look worse in that case.

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