Netflix announced it will begin offering 4K resolution content via its streaming service in the coming years, this as HDTVs premiering at CES in January were of the OLED 4K variety… and though HD4K HD sets will initially carry a high price tag as they begin to hit gadget stores this month, if the past is any indication, they will soon come down in price as 1080p is phased out except in for the 40″ and smaller market. That’s reason enough for Netflix to be keen on adapting their streaming service to the upgraded technology, though to be sure, Netflix will continue to offer 1080p, and to a lesser extent 720p, programming.
In an interview with culture-tech site, The Verge, Netflix’s Chief Product Officer, Neil Hunt, says that Netflix’s preparations for 4K is primarily driven by the content producers pushing 4K technology. Films and TV shows are now often to be shot in 4K resolution, but downsampled and mastered to 1080p resolution for HD. Even Netflix’s own House Of Cards is shot in 4K resolution, but remastered to a lower 1080p resolution for streaming. Netflix is dependent on ISP broadband networks to stream high quality video and though some consumers have run up against Internet service providers placing limits on their ability to stream high-def content, Netflix has gone to great lengths to partner with ISPs for better quality video, including their new Super HD and 3D streaming formats, and the results are just beginning to be seen by
couch potatoes consumers.
Still, it remains to be seen if this is something that the public is actually clamoring for, or if 4K is simply another way for consumer electronics companies to sustain positive cash flow as 1080p HDTVs have reached their saturation point in the American marketplace and elsewhere.