Netflix promised us they would deliver streaming 4k content, and apparently the first TV series to offer the high resolution for Ultra HD TVs is their original series “House of Cards.” Multichannel cited a report from the UK-based website HDTVTest that claims “House of Cards Season 2” is viewable in 4k resolution.
HDTVTest was using a Samsung HU8500 UHD TV and accessing the show through the Netflix app in the Samsung Smart Hub. The 4k video was streaming at 15.6 Mbps (a bit-rate much less than the maximum audio/video bitrate of 48Mbps for Blu-ray Disc), but notably much more vibrant and sharp than 1080p especially in “bright, colourful scenes,” according to the publication.
Netflix indicates video formats in a small grey tab under the show title, and HDTVTest discovered the 4k option labeled as “Ultra HD 4K” along with “5.1” for audio format.
Whether your Ultra HD TV can view “House of Cards” as well as reported newly added “nature documentaries” in 4k will depend on the ability of your TV to decode HEVC/H.265 formatted video. Some newer 4k TVs have the HEVC decoding built-in, but earlier UHD TVs may only support H.264/MPEG-4.
In other recent 4k news, Amazon just gave the greenlight to four new original TV shows that will be shot in 4k. One might expect the company to offer 4k quality when those shows are released to the Amazon Prime Instant Video service. Panasonic revealed a wearable 4k video camera with slow motion capability. And, Samsung and 20th Century Fox announced a partnership to deliver 4k content via Samsung’s Smart Hub platform.