Netflix will stream 'House of Cards' in 4K this year but not on Xbox One or PS4

The movement towards 4K resolution in video is continuing and today one of the largest providers of that content, Netflix, has officially announced plans to offer streaming video at that higher resolution.

Engadget reports that Netflix CES Reed Hastings made a surprise appearance at today's LG CES 2014 press conference to announce that its original series "House of Cards" will support 4K streaming. The second season of the acclaimed political drama series starring Kevin Spacey will launch on Netflix on February 14th, and like the first season, all 13 episodes will be made available to watch at once.

However, the 4K version of "House of Cards" will only be made available on a select televisions that support the higher resolution and have the Netflix app integrated into the TV. Microsoft and Sony's new Xbox One and PS4 consoles, which are supposed to both support 4K video, won't be able to access the higher resolution stream from Netflix.

Why not? According to Stuff, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt stated:

The new game consoles may eventually be 4K-capable, but the ability to take 4K out of the box and drop it into a separate television is lacking some standards and HDMI 2.0, and it's just a little premature.

The 4K video stream from Netflix will also require an Internet connection of at least 15 Mbps, using its H.265 compression standard.

Source: Engadget and Stuff

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I'd be happy if my Netflix app on my Xbox One was able to at least stream in HD! Haha For whatever reason, it will only stream in SD on the Xbox One but if I choose the "watch TV" command and view Netflix through my AppleTV (which is hooked up to my Xbox One) it streams in Super HD or whatever it is that Netflix calls it.

So.... Will this be available in 4K on the PC as well? Or just built-in smart TVs...

Although I don't have a 4k resolution monitor, i do have a 2560x1600 display that would look better if the resolution were higher than 1080. 1080p looks ok from a distance but sitting at a desk it looks distorted a bit.

I saw the 4K televisions the other day, and it almost made me pick one up because of the image quality and the price has gone down. Then again, I realized that there's no 4K broadcast, and there are only a few BD disc that are mastered with 4k. Must wait ....and ...resist!

Oh tech, I love you, but sometimes I do hate you too!

Lord Method Man said,

Yes, those are 1080p Blu-rays using marketing spin.

Blu-ray discs have been mastered in 4K (though not as commonly as they should be) since the inception of the format.

Ok, fair enough. I see where you are coming from. However, I think that would be the norm for awhile since I think 4K came out too soon.

RommelS said,
Ok, fair enough. I see where you are coming from. However, I think that would be the norm for awhile since I think 4K came out too soon.

Chicken or Egg problem... why would a BD creator make a 4k output? No added value while there isn't a market. Wasted money until now

wernercd said,

Chicken or Egg problem... why would a BD creator make a 4k output? No added value while there isn't a market. Wasted money until now

Isn't that the same way when all the flat panel TVs started? no added value because there were no signal or disc available for it to utilize its imaging capabilities. It has to start somewhere. That being said, the quality of 4K movies are a lot better than regular BDs since it is very life like. Can you just imaging when an actual 4K player and media comes out.

Weren't there a delay in streaming with 4k, the content owners want digital fingerprinting unique to each device it was suppose to stream to?

This is beyond useless. I can guarantee you that their 4K stream will look like crap when stacked up next to a BD disc. Why waste time on buzzwords when your 1080p content looks as grainy as a DVD?

NeoandGeo said,
This is beyond useless. I can guarantee you that their 4K stream will look like crap when stacked up next to a BD disc. Why waste time on buzzwords when your 1080p content looks as grainy as a DVD?

Their 1080p looks great to me. It's not quite bluray but it's pretty close. All depends on your internet, network and what you're watching it on. Mine isn't grainy at all. Not even close.

I watch on larger screens (46-55") and their 1080p content, even when optimal streaming conditions are met, is less than stellar. The quality is somewhere in between an upscaled DVD and Basic Cable 1080i quality. In short, it leaves a lot to be desired. Now they are moving to 4K which will more than likely mean the end of any improvement for 1080p when it still needs it.

NeoandGeo said,
I watch on larger screens (46-55") and their 1080p content, even when optimal streaming conditions are met, is less than stellar. The quality is somewhere in between an upscaled DVD and Basic Cable 1080i quality. In short, it leaves a lot to be desired. Now they are moving to 4K which will more than likely mean the end of any improvement for 1080p when it still needs it.

I have a projector in one room with a 145" screen and a 60" tv we just picked up. Again, looks great to me. I would say it's noticably better than anything on cable/satellite. I currently have direct tv to compare to. And I did some direct comparisons just last week to bluray and netflix is coming pretty damn close to matching it. Using h.265 or vp9 codecs would allow them to deliver bluray quality without requiring any more bandwidth.

My Grandma thinks that Netflix looks close to BD on her 54" plasma as well. Opinions don't really mean much, as you are showing.

forgive my ignorance, but if they are using h.265 how are they doing it? surely doing so would render devices obsolete? afaik the h.265 standard is not final, let alone chips capable of decoding h.265 available on the market.

that said, I'm not surprised the next gen consoles won't get initial 4k support. Since they can't even do DD5.1, dnla, or 3d bluray i think 4k is a long way off lol

Aaron44126 said,
15 Mbps is nearly 7 GB for a one-hour stream.

Which I think is perfectly acceptable for 4K. Some 1080p movies clock in at 14GB+ with a decent bitrate.

yep 7GB for 1 hour is actually the same amount of data as a 1080p h.264 movie.

Is h.265 that of an upgrade over h.264 ?

LaP said,
yep 7GB for 1 hour is actually the same amount of data as a 1080p h.264 movie.

Is h.265 that of an upgrade over h.264 ?

It's a significant upgrade. It can have half the bitrate or less, but with the same image quality as h.264. So 4k content wont actually be a big bandwidth increase when using HEVC (h.265).

So 1080p video using h.265 could also be streamed at the same bitrates as current h.264 video but offer considerably better image quality, or streamed at half the bitrate with the same quality we currently have.

The only problem with h.265 is that it's very demanding on the GPU/CPU to decode. Most mobile devices are not fast enough and wont cope, you need dedicated hardware for mobile SoC's (many will have it later this year). XB1 and PS4 dont have the dedicated hardware support but might just about be able to handle it. High end PC's wont have a problem but you'll get pretty high CPU usage. Eventually all new GPU's will get dedicated hardware support though.

If it's as good as Google says their YouTube 4k solution with VP9 is, then it will do 4k with about the same bandwidth. Not sure if they're using that or x265. Either way it'll be a lot better but will require some modern hardware.

I didn't realise data caps were still a thing. If you haven't got any unlimited data ISPs in your area you should complain to the regulator, as there is no excuse for such restrictions in this day and age.

theyarecomingforyou said,
I didn't realise data caps were still a thing. If you haven't got any unlimited data ISPs in your area you should complain to the regulator, as there is no excuse for such restrictions in this day and age.

He might simply not be paying the premium that companies charge for more data, BT internet offer a paltry 10GB unless you opt for unlimited downloads, 20gb of you're on nt infinity,

McKay said,
He might simply not be paying the premium that companies charge for more data, BT internet offer a paltry 10GB unless you opt for unlimited downloads, 20gb of you're on nt infinity,

Yeah, but that's a case of you get what you pay for.

Anyway, I would complain to the regulator if ISPs in the US are engaging in such despicable practices. In the UK Sky offers unlimited downloads without a fair usage policy (i.e. it's truly unlimited). I regularly download in excess of 1TB without any throttling, hidden charges or warning letters. It comes in handy for the mega sales on Steam.