Netflix Begins Streaming House of Cards in 4K Ultra HD

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Netflix has begun streaming House of Cards Season 2 in 4K Ultra HD. The Ultra High Definition stream is available to those with an Ultra HDTV featuring the built-in Netflix app and native HEVC (H.265) decoding capabilities (What is Ultra HD?).

Related: Samsung Ultra HDTV’s Ship This Month

HDTV Test, a UK based review site, reported that the TV Show featuring Kevin Spacey appeared to be streaming at 15.6 Mbps. “To our eyes, the [2160 HD] layer did not look visibly more detailed than the [1080 HD] one in this fairly dark scene,” HDTV Test explained. “Where the 4K version did shine was with bright, colourful scenes. On-screen images were rendered with greater sharpness and smoother gradients, receiving a very slight boost in intra-scene gamma and contrast in the process too.” Further stating that “there’s no denying that House of Cards S2 in 4K Ultra HD was by far and away the best-looking title we’ve seen among Netflix’s catalogue of movies and television series, making the company’s previous highest-quality [Super HD] streams seem blurry in comparison.”

Netflix dominated International CES in January, as the only apparent content provider showing promise of a 4K Ultra HD streaming service. At that time, the company explained that their 4K Ultra HD ready app would launch with Ultra HDTV’s from various manufacturers including Samsung, Vizio, LG and Sony. They also noted that the first Ultra HD content would become available this Spring, which is now apparent.

Earlier on, Netflix had stated that both House of Cards and Breaking Bad would be available to customers in 4K Ultra HD. The company has not said exactly how much of their library will be available in 4K Ultra HD, but Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, promised “there will be a lot of content.”

As new Ultra HDTV’s start to hit the mainstream this year, other companies are working to integrate 4K Ultra HD apps in the new sets. Comcast is working on a Video-on-Demand service which uses its DOCSIS 3.0 network and approximately 18 to 22 Mbps of bandwidth. Also arriving later this year is NanoTech’s UltraFlix subscription service, which will launch with over 150 hours of Ultra HD content. The company is also shipping a media player later this quarter, the promising Nuvola NP-1, which will link your Ultra HDTV to their UltraFlix service.

Related: Best of CES 2014 Award Winners

For distributors seeking Ultra HD content, we recommend our very own Ultra HD Productions service, which offers a catalog of Ultra HD content available for licensing. Additionally, our service gives you the ability to create custom Ultra HD content tailored to your specifications.

As Ultra HD picks up speed this year, we strongly recommend that you subscribe to our mailing list (in the right sidebar), and stay tuned for some huge and exciting website updates in the near future!

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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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