Science and Tech


Netflix Posts 4K Test Footage to Library

Netflix has added ultra high-definition test footage to its online streaming library. The company plans to offer 4K media streams by 2014.
Posted at 10:26 AM, Nov 03, 2013

(image source: Digital Trends)




Netflix plans to distribute ultra-high definition 4K content to its subscribers soon, and the service has already added some test videos to its streaming library.


But hold the popcorn — you’re not going to find summer blockbusters if you go looking. According to GigaOM, this content is just test footage Netflix uses internally to put its delivery systems through their paces.


You can still watch it, if you want, but “El Fuente: 24MP” is less a coherent story and more a series of demo shots — people on bicycles, fresh produce and kids playing in a fountain.


There are several components in this race to 4K resolutions. The television and media industries are excited to get there, but arriving will require a perfect storm of high-resolution source material, high-end screens and high-bandwidth network connections. (Via Netflix)


“When the company does officially launch Ultra HD, it’ll likely be with original content but it also wouldn’t be a shock to see the company land some TV shows or movies from their licensing partners, either.” (Via TechSpot)


The Verge reports one of the first actual shows to enjoy a 4K option could be Netflix’s original series House of Cards. While it was mastered for HD streaming, the original footage is 4K and could be re-packaged for the higher resolution.


But taking full advantage of 4K media requires a 4K screen. A display that can handle four times the resolution of today’s HDTVs still runs thousands of dollars and, in Sony’s case, will require at least 50 inches of diagonal real estate.


And don’t forget the bandwidth. Netflix recommends an Internet connection that can handle 7 megabits per second for its existing HD footage. 4K footage is four times as data-dense, which would require a connection close to 30 megabits a second.


A look at the government-maintained National Broadband Map shows connections with those speeds tend to be clustered in high population centers.


Netflix says it plans to make its first 4K content available for streaming by early 2014.