Netflix Readies 4K Streaming for 2014

Posted Thu Dec 19, 2013 at 11:00 AM PST by

According to reports, the company will stream the second season of its critically acclaimed series, 'House of Cards,' in 4K resolution.

In an interview with Stuff.tv, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt has revealed plans for the streaming service to launch 4K support next year. According to the report, the first program to be available in Ultra HD will be the company's own original series 'House of Cards.'

Though details are still vague, it's been announced that Netflix 4K streaming will initially only be available via smart TV apps built into upcoming Ultra HD TVs. Official announcements regarding supported television models will likely be made next month at CES. In order to adequately stream content in 4K resolution without running into bandwidth issues or sacrificing quality, Netflix will be employing new encoding technology, specifically the H.265 codec. Also known as "HEVC," the advanced compression format allows for higher resolutions without the need for dramatically increased bitrates. According to Hunt, 4K HEVC streams will likely hover around the 15Mbps range. In addition to higher resolutions, the company is also planning to experiment with higher frame rates and expanded color spaces with its programming in 2015 and 2016.

More details about Netflix's 4K plans and delivery methods, including which new television models will support Ultra HD streaming, are expected to be announced at CES which is being held in Las Vegas on January 7-10.

Sources: Stuff.tv 1, Stuff.tv 2

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Tags: Streaming, Ultra HD, 4K, Netflix (all tags)