Everyone’s favorite meth kingpin is coming back, this time in crystal-clear 4K. Netflix is adding Breaking Bad to House of Cards as part of the shows it will offer via 4K streaming. The downside? You still need about 20mbps downstream to watch it without hiccups, which is far more bandwidth than most people have to spare.
Netflix has good news and bad news for 4K TV owners.
The good? The video service is planning to add Breaking Bad, and a few other titles, in 4K streaming by next month, according to The Telegraph of London. The AMC hit drama will join Netflix’s House of Cards (season two) in the company’s 4K video library.
The bad news? A Netflix blog post says that the company now recommends a 4K TV owner subscribe to an Internet service offering a minimum speed of 20 Mbps to get a reliable 4K streaming picture. Previously, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that a 4K stream could be watched reliably at 15 Mbps. Both speeds are faster than the home average, but 20 Mbps would require a 4K TV owner to subscribe to one of his ISP’s fastest (and more expensive) Internet plans.
“To get the highest quality Netflix experience in (4K), we recommend available bandwidth of at least 20 Mpbs,” the post states. “This provides enough throughput for the stream, which is about 16 Mbps, plus headroom for service variability.”Despite the speed requirements, some 4K TV owners will still find Netflix’s announcement welcome news, if not entirely “good.” There is little 4K content available as 4K TV makers roll out the new sets which purport to offer four times the pixels of current 1080p HDTVs.
Thanks to limited content, and high prices, most industry experts believe 4K TV unit sales may not reach one million this year. Netflix’s blog post acknowledges that and adds that it could take five years before 4K hits the mainstream.