Netflix has confirmed to Stuff that it will begin streaming content in 4K starting early next year. However, only certain 4K TV models will be compatible with Netflix 4K streaming, which a handful of them will be announced at CES next month. Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, says that the company isn’t “naming specific manufacturers, but we have several of the major TV vendors who are going to be producing 4K capable TVs – they’ll be announcing them at CES.”
And when Netflix says that 4K streaming will be limited, they really mean it. In other words, don’t expect to be streaming 4K on your Xbox One, PS4 or other set-top box anytime soon. However, Hunt says that “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. So we probably will see that, but right now we’re talking about 4K Netflix built into the smart TV.”
Netflix will be kicking things off with its award-winning original series House of Cards, for which season 2 will be available for streaming on February 14. Netflix is planning to have season 2 of the show available for 4K streaming, but again, only for select smart TV models.
It looks like House of Cards will be Netflix’s only series available in 4K, but the company is pushing to get more 4K content available on its service so that once 4K actually becomes mainstream, Netflix will already be prepared and offer tons of 4K content ready for streaming on a number of devices, including consoles and set-top boxes hopefully.
Of course, an issue that Netflix and other services offering 4K content is bandwidth and download speeds. 4K video eats up a ton of bandwidth, and internet service providers are notorious for capping the bandwidth of its subscribers. It’s possible we see a fix for this type of issue in the next few years, but as ISPs become more greedy, we’re not so sure that your average DSL connection will handle 4K video.