Netflix starts streaming 4K content

With the aim of offering ultra-high definition content to its growing customer base in early 2014, Netflix has started testing the waters with a video called “El Fuente.”

US subscribers to the video streaming platform who have already made the sizable financial investment that a 4K UHDTV demands will be able to watch the eight-minute film in its full resolution. It is available in six different frame-per-second formats — 24, 25, 29.97, 30, 50 and a data-allowance-busting 59.94 frames per second. But don’t get too excited: the video is made up of standard test footage scenes such as market stalls and people riding bikes albeit at an incredibly high definition. 

Ultra-high definition, or 4K as it is sometimes called because its resolution is four times that of high definition, offers the greatest depth of color, contrast and detail yet available to televisual audiences. However, with four times the detail comes four times the file size and consumers who want to stream such content need a very fast and capable broadband internet service.

The difficulty in getting native content to 4K TV owners is one of the reasons why existing UHDTVs all feature an “up-scaling” feature which can take 1080p content (i.e. full high definition video) and stretch it to fill the screen while also enhancing rather than diminishing detail.

Back in March, Netflix’s chief product officer, Neil Hunt, stated that the company planned to offer 4K streaming within two years and revealed that its first in-house production — “House of Cards” — had been filmed in 4K for this very reason. In an interview with the Verge, Hunt also highlighted the fact that although using the interest to deliver this type of content was difficult, streaming presents fewer technological challenges than the alternative, using the airwaves to transmit a 4K signal to people’s homes. However, these challenges haven’t deterred South Korean or Japanese broadcasters.

In July, the Korea Cable Television & Telecommunications Associations (KCTA) started pilot programming in UHD with the goal of offering households proper UHD TV program schedules by 2014. While Japanese state broadcasters have pledged to screen the final of the FIFA 2014 World Cup live in the format.

Source: Yahoo news



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