December 23, 2013
Netflix is making a push for Ultra HD resolution streaming and promises to reveal details on its plans for 4K at next month’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Neil Hunt, the streaming service’s chief product officer indicated Netflix has deals to offer 4K streaming with embedded players on certain UHD TVs (manufacturers will also be announced at CES). The second season of Netflix’s original series “House of Cards” will be the first to stream in 4K in 2014.
“We’re pushing forward with new encoding technology,” Hunt tells Stuff. He says the company will be using H.265 (also known as High Efficiency Video Coding, or HEVC) instead of AVC H.264.
According to the article, HEVC is “a new compression format that can purportedly provide similar quality to the current H.264 compression standard at half the bitrate. Or, in the case of 4K streaming, provide a higher-resolution picture without a substantial step up in bitrate.”
Stuff adds that even those without 4K TVs will benefit from the new format with HD and standard-definition content being recoded in HEVC. “So people with a 2Mbps DSL will be able to receive a better picture than they do today,” Hunt explains.
Netflix will not be revealing 4K support from set-top boxes, as it’s “apparently waiting for standards (read: DRM) and HDMI 2.0 to mature first,” notes Engadget. But Hunt hopes that by pushing 4K, Netflix will inspire console manufacturers to shift production in that direction.