Ready to start watching Ultra HD on your new 4k TV? Netflix has a bunch of original shows in 4k (2160p) resolution, and many titles feature High Dynamic Range (HDR) such as Stranger Things, Lucifer, and Black Mirror. They’ve also got several Marvel series in Ultra HD including Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, all of whom meet to fight crime in New York City as The Defenders.
Netflix also has a large library of Original Films in Ultra HD such as Bird Box, Polar, Our Planet, and the sci-fi original How it Ends starring Forest Whitaker and Theo James. Comedy specials that stream in 4k include Kevin Hart: Irresponsible, Sarah Silverman A Speck of Dust, Amy Schumer: The Leather Special, and Tracy Morgan: Staying Alive, to name a few.
But watching Ultra HD may not be as easy as turning on your new TV and connecting to Netflix, at least at first. There are some settings that need to be set up before you start seeing the “Ultra HD” label showing up while browsing Netflix titles on your TV. Here’s what you need to do to start watching Ultra HD content on Netflix.
Subscribe to 4k Netflix Service
Once you’ve purchased a 4k TV you need to upgrade your Netflix account to the $15.99 per month plan. This enables four screens (separate viewers) to be watching at the same time and streaming in Ultra HD to a 3840 × 2160 resolution 4k TV. You can also download videos to up to 4 phones or tablets. (See screenshot below.)
Sufficient Broadband Internet
Netflix suggests a minimum of 25 megabits-per-second to stream in Ultra HD quality, but even 15Mbps can be fast enough. If you’re not sure how fast your internet is use Netflix’s internet speed test website Fast.com, Comcast’s Xfinity Speed Test, or AT&T’s Internet Speed Test to be sure you’re getting enough download speed. If your internet is too slow, try restarting the modem to see if it helps. If you still don’t get enough speed you might have to call your ISP for an upgrade.
Adjust 4k TV Settings
When you get your 4k TV home for the first time you may need to set the resolution to Ultra HD. By default it should be, but make sure the display resolution says 3840 × 2160. You can also set the picture format to 16.9 for cinematic formats (or set it to dynamic if the settings allow). Also, for those purchasing new TVs, most use Bluetooth-enabled remote controls. If you can’t get your remote to work at first, be sure it is paired with the TV.
Adjust 4k Set-top Box
If you’re not using the Netflix app for Smart TVs, Ultra HD content may need to travel through either a set-top box or gaming console to display on the TV. Streaming media players that support 4k include Apple TV 4k, Nvidia Shield, Roku 4, Roku Premiere, Roku Premiere+, Roku Ultra, Chromecast Ultra, TiVo Bolt, and Amazon’s newest Fire TV model. The Xbox One S also supports 4k. Be sure to have the latest firmware upgrades to any 4k-supporting devices.
HDMI 2.0 Cable
The bandwidth demand for 4k is much higher than 720p or 1080p so you’ll need an HDMI 2.0 cable that is made for 4k content. The older HDMI 1.4 standard only supports 30fps, whereas HDMI 2.0 supports 60fps. In addition, the HDR color specification requires HDMI 2.0a, so be sure to pick up a premium HDMI cable to ensure the highest quality video and bandwidth will support 4k/HDR content. Best Buy has got high-quality Audioquest cables starting at $29.99 for the Pearl-level 4-foot 4k HDMI cable.
Find Titles In Ultra HD
If everything is set up correctly your Netflix account should indicate Ultra HD resolution with a label like in the screenshot above. You should also be able to slide through a list of titles in Ultra HD as you would New Arrivals, Trending Now, and Recently Watched. Keep paging down through those categories if you don’t see Ultra HD right away. You can also search for movies and TV shows using our list of all Netflix Ultra HD titles.
What about HDR?
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and is almost a standard now on 4k digital titles and on Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. The color specifications are defined by either HDR10/HDR10+ or Dolby Vision and add more luminance, a wider contrast from light to dark, and more detail in those light and dark areas through an increase in color bit depth from 8-bit (Blu-ray) to 10-bit (Ultra HD Blu-ray). Not all 4k TVs are equipped to display HDR, and for the most part display either HDR10 or Dolby Vision (although a new line of Vizio 4k TVs make dual-HDR compatibility more affordable). Here’s a list of TVs that support HDR on Netflix.
Streaming media players, set-top boxes, and gaming consoles may also support HDR using HDR10, Dolby Vision, or both. Media players that support HDR include Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV 4k, Chromecast, several Roku players and Streaming Stick, and Shield TV. Apple TV 4k is one player that supports both HDR specs. Here’s a list of devices that support HDR on Netflix.
HDR on Mobile Devices
Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets can display High Dynamic Range (HDR) even if not classified with 4k displays. When searching through Netflix titles on Apple iOS or Android devices look for the HDR or Dolby Vision icon next to the title description. iPhone 8 and iPad Pro 2nd-gen or higher are among Apple devices that support HDR, while Google Pixel 3, Galaxy S9, Huawei Mate 20, and Sony Xperia XZ are just a few supporting Android devices.
For further information on streaming Netflix in HDR read How to Stream 4k Ultra HD with High Dynamic Range, or, view a list of titles available in 4k/HDR below.
[Note: This article was updated July. 25, 2019.]