Netflix: 4K Ultra HD Streaming Needs At Least 15Mbps

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Netflix previously set a goal to deliver 4K Ultra HD streaming sometime in 2014. On September 13th, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings revealed some hints about 4K streaming in an interview with Claus Bülow Christensen, the producer of the Copenhagen Future of TV Conference — specifically, the 15Mbps bandwidth requirement.

Hastings doesn’t believe that 4K TV’s will become mainstream as long as prices remain high, but he does think that 4K streaming will arrive first on tablets, laptops, and PC’s, as their resolutions increase — eventually leading to the inevitable price reduction and adoption of Ultra HDTV’s.

As Netflix gathers 4K content from providers, it is eager to push onward with the new format. Hastings said, “going forward we’ll see more and more 4K, and that will work really well over the Internet.” When asked about the bandwidth requirements, he answered, “it’s around 15 megabits per second … it’s not too bad. If you’ve got a 50-megabit connection you’ll be fine.”

Netflix uses proprietary video encoding technology from eyeIO, but hasn’t announced if it will use the same vendor for 4K streaming. Sony is using eyeIO for their recently launched 4K ‘Video Unlimited’ service, and mentioned that 4K movie files range between 45 and 60 gigabytes.

Hastings believes that the 4K streaming service will not cripple current ISP infrastructure, stating that few people own 4K devices, and only a handful of people in each neighborhood will be watching 15Mbps 4K video at the same time. He added,  “as an overall system load, it will grow quite slowly and steadily, giving people lots of time to build the infrastructure.”

Video interview posted below.

Source: Copenhagen Future of TV Conference

Conversation with Reed Hastings in Copenhagen, Friday the 13th of September. from Claus Bülow Christensen on Vimeo.

CEO and founder of Netflix, Reed Hastings, in a conversation with Claus Bülow Christensen, September 2013 in Copenhagen. Read about the interview on: http://futuretv.dk/conversation-with-reed-hastings-september-2013/

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About the Author

Andrew Michael is the Founder of Ultra HDTV Magazine. His interest in the technology began in 2008, before the term "Ultra HD" became mainstream. Andrew has contributed numerous articles, and continues to evolve Ultra HDTV into the ultimate Ultra High Definition resource.

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