Netflix begins testing 4K videos, plans to launch in 2014

By , Nov 4, 2013

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During a recent quarterly earnings call, Netflix’s Reed Hastings spoke about his ambitious plans for the company’s future. The CEO hopes the streaming service will be “one of the big suppliers” of 4K (or Ultra HD) video by next year.

And this weekend it began testing the waters. GigaOM noticed that Netflix recently added a handful of 4K HD videos to its catalog. It’s mostly test footage—people riding bicycles, etc.—but it gives you a good idea of what to expect…

Here’s GigaOM:

“It looks like Netflix added a total of seven videos to its catalog earlier this week. One is titled El Fuente: 24 MP, and its description promises “an example of 4K at 24 frames per second.” The footage itself includes people riding on bycicles, scenes of a wholesale produce market and kids playing in a fountain — test footage to examine the quality of 4K streaming under different conditions.”

The good news is, Netflix has ton of original content—House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, etc.—so it has plenty of material to convert to 4K before it has to worry about bugging the major studios it licenses content from to do so.

Apple has long been rumored to be working on a 4K television set, with the most recent reports claiming that 2 models are landing in 2014. As of right now though, most 4K sets are very expensive, and there isn’t much content available.

Both both Netflix and Apple have the power to change these things. And between Reed’s comments and the fact that it’s been nearly two years since Apple updated its TV offering, it could very well happen next year.

To view a list Netflix’s just-added 4K videos, click here.

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  • NaSty

    This wont get off to a good start tbh, it’ll take quite a while before movies are being recorded in 4K so they can be played on a 4K TV. Its a nice advancement in TV/Movie quality though.

    • hellome

      huh? most digitally shot movies even tv shows are in at least 4K. and 35mm film just over 3k. there should not be any problem getting content for your 4k tv.

    • fraggot

      Most things are already in 4K, when you’re watching a movie in a theatre you’re usually watching it at that resolution or higher. The only content that would be an issue would be older television shows shot on videotape or just low quality film.

      Most things that have been re-scanned for 1080p were probably scanned at higher resolutions to future proof it. This will not be as big of an issue as people might think, the issue will be throughput of peoples internet to actually handle 4K video.

      • NaSty

        Hmm, my bad then. I didnt know that movies were 4K or higher already. Learn somethin new everyday :)
        Also wouldnt that mean alot more bandwidth will be needed to stream these 4K videos through netflix?

    • Kurt

      Movies have been recorded in 4K for years. Even some TV shows.

  • Kurt

    Does Comcast still have a 250gb cap?