Netflix has started to stream its first 4K broadcasts, as promised.
Back in December, Netflix revealed that it would be shooting the second series of House of Cards in 4K. Then, at CES 2014 in January, Netflix announced that it would soon be providing UHD streams of Breaking Bad, as well as all of its own originally produced programmes.
These announcements followed months of testing the 4K streaming technology.
Now the rollout of that 4K content has begun. The aforementioned second series of House of Cards, which launched recently in standard and SuperHD, is the first to get the UHD treatment – provided you have the right set-up, of course.
You can only access Netflix’s initial 4K broadcasts on 2014 4K television sets containing a built-in H.265/HEVC decoder. That should include most of the major 4K TVs announced this year.
If you were an early adopter who picked up a 4K set last year, well, the chances are you won’t be able to watch Netflix’s offering. Given that the above standard is set to be adopted by other major streaming services, including Amazon, that could be a bit of a problem.
You’ll also need a decent internet connection. Netflix recommends at least 15Mbps.
Over the weekend, HDTVTest put the new Netflix 4K service through its paces. They reported that the stream appeared to be compressed at a 15.6Mbps bitrate, which produced a much improved picture, but one that still fell short of the better 1080p Blu-Ray examples overall.
Next, read our Netflix vs LoveFilm feature