Netflix, who has already started 4K streaming, has outlined where it thinks for 4K is headed. Besides recommending a whopping 20mbps download speed they admit that it will likely be 5 years before 4K because mainstream.
Netflix began offering 4K streams last month. On Friday, the company took to its blog to talk up its capabilities and the future of the ultra high-def format for the streaming service.
"We're excited about the picture quality we're seeing in Ultra HD 4K, and we're even more excited that expert reviewers of the first TVs capable of streaming Netflix Ultra HD 4K, including the Samsung UH8550 and UH9000, seem to agree," wrote Netflix's Richard Smith. "This is just the the beginning, expect more TVs that support Netflix in Ultra HD 4K in stores soon from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio. If you buy one of these new TVs, just connect it to a power outlet and the internet, turn it on and sign into Netflix. Ultra HD 4K streaming will work out of the box. "
Netflix recommends available bandwidth of at least 20Mbps to get the highest-quality 4K experience. The stream is actually about 16Mbps, but the rest is for variability of service. The company notes that how the broadband provider handles incoming bits from Netflix is also a variable. The company is working to address that with deals with providers like Comcast and Verizon.
Netflix says it will probably take up to five years before 4K really becomes mainstream. This is when it's expected that most TVs will deliver this kind of quality.
Right now, Netflix is only offering House of Cards: Season 2 and a few nature films from Louis Schwartzberg in 4K, but expects to add Breaking Bad and more Netflix originals to the line-up later this year. Earlier this year, CEO Reed Hastings indicated that all of Netflix's original shows will be produced in 4K.
"As more content producers shift their production and mastering to create Ultra HD 4K output, and more Ultra HD 4K TVs are in the market, we'll bring more of that content to you," said Smith. "We're excited about bringing you Ultra HD 4K, but it's been a joint effort with our partners to create the TVs, the streaming tech, and the shows we all love. We've all worked hard to design products and produce shows that support the broader feature set of Ultra HD 4K. This, of course, includes the Ultra High Definition 3840×2160 resolution, and 10-bit color precision, but also framerates up to 60 frames per second and richer colors."
Smith says Netflix will share more about the technical details in a future post.
It's unclear if the upcoming seasons of Netflix's Orange is the New Black or Hemlock Grove will premiere in 4K. These come out in June and July respectively.