The leader in online video streaming, Netflix, has announced new plans for consumers that want to stream content in 4K. What is it? 4K is the bigger brother of 1080p, which is the current HD standard for most content not including television. With almost double the pixels, 4K is moving towards becoming the new standard for HD content.
4K isn’t a cheap technology; some of the baseline 4K TV’s from Sony are over $1,000. Besides, the price of the TV’s bandwidth is a big issue, even though Netflix is using some very advanced compression, like the brand new H.265 compression, that can shrink the file size and make it more streamable.
You would think that in America, one of the global leaders in technology, we would have amazing internet. Well you would be wrong thinking that. A recent study by Ookla Speedtest ranks the US 31st in the world for internet speeds. That puts the US behind countries like Finland, Norway and Bulgaria.
Without a push from the federal government to increase these speeds and bring the United States up to a higher ranking than 31st, we will continue to have issues streaming large files in the future.
So with 4K files being so much larger than the normal 1080p files. What does this mean for Netflix and for streaming these files? Currently it takes about 6Mbps download to stream a Netflix file at 1080p. With most cable providers like Time Warner Cable that 6Mbps is no issue at all. But 4K Content takes 16Mbps download to stream. That’s over 2.5 times more data that needs to be sent from Netflix to your house.
Before you go out and purchase a 4K-ready TV and pay $12 a month for Netflix content in 4K, which is up $3 from its current price, make sure you have an internet connection that allows you to stream this content in the highest possible quality. A great way to test your speeds is http://www.speedtest.net.