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Summary:

Netflix wants to become a major provider of 4K content next year. To prepare for that, it has already started to test 4K streaming.

LGs 4K TV. Try to get that past your bandwidth cap.
photo: LG

Netflix quietly added a handful of 4K HD videos to its catalog this week to prepare itself for a wider launch of ultra high-definition video content in the coming months. So far, the titles added to the catalog only consist of footage that Netflix regularly uses for internal tests — but a spokesperson confirmed that the company “hopes to launch Ultra HD next year.”

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.

But soon, Netflix could offer a lot more compelling 4K fare: CEO Reed Hastings said during the company’s most recent earnings call that Netflix wants to be “one of the big suppliers of 4k next year.” It’s expected that Netflix will kick off 4K, or Ultra HD, as some prefer to call it, with its own original content, but it might also get some movies and TV show content from its licensing partners in ultra high-definition.

Netflix is known for regularly testing all kinds of things on its service, and those often mildly strange test videos have become somewhat of a secret cult hit among Netflix members, who have in the past left dozens of mock movie reviews, going as far as calling one of the test clips “the greatest story ever told.”

  1. Seriously…4k before improved audio encoding? Camaannnn!

  2. What kind of downstream bandwidth will be required to stream 4k netflix video?

    1. Janko Roettgers bad data man u should have at least provided more details as asked by jeremy above … gigaom content is becoming bad….

    2. I saw demos of eyeIO 4K at their Palo Alto office at 7 and 10 Mbps with 14 channels of audio (11.2) in a 106 inches screen and the quality was just wow… Knowing Netflix they may want to push for 4K @ 6Mbps

    3. That was exactly my first thought. At the rates some service providers charge for bandwidth, even if your equipment can handle the stream, your wallet might not.

  3. These clips were very blurry on my UHD. Something must be wrong.

  4. This is super exciting, as google fibers coming in for me next month!

  5. Get Off the Bus Monday, November 4, 2013

    Pure PR move. The consumer will not be able to see 4K difference unless their TV is over 100″ and they are 8ft away. The human eye hasn’t changed with technology advances.

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