How To Stream 4K Movies & Shows On Netflix
If you own a new 4K Ultra HD Television we highly suggest that you obtain a membership from Netflix. Your Television will have a SMART dashboard where you can click and gain access to Netflix. Just look for the Netflix icon. *Note: You will need a strong internet connection in order to access all of your 4K TVs smart applications.
Once inside Netflix, follow the prompts to open an account. Make sure you choose the membership that offers all of their Ultra HD content. It is different from the normal, regular Netflix membership. However, it is only about $2 more per month to gain access to all of Netflix’s awesome 4K UHD movies & TV shows. It is very worth it!
This is the first thing we did when we bought our SONY 4K UHD 65-inch TV. We were so excited to watch a 4K movie as fast as possible and check out our new 4K TV. Netflix made it possible to watch our first Ultra HD show called “Dare Devil”. It did not disappoint (the TV that is, not necessary the show itself).
Netflix offers many different options to watch 4K content. You can easily stream movies & shows on your tablet or smart phone if it has a 4K level resolution. Of course, the most used will be your Ultra HD TV.
Watching TV In 4K
Netflix has a decent sized 4K streaming catalog. It is expanding every month with more and more movies & TV shows. With that said, the availability of 4K Ultra HD TVs has increased dramatically, but the availability of native 4K content to watch has lagged behind a bit. It is good for you to know the difference. It is referred to as REAL or FAKE 4K. Netflix offers both in their Ultra HD content. Both are good and better than any 1080 HD films as far as higher resolution.
In a nutshell, you have access to both real, native 4K content as well as Fake or Upscaled 4K content on Netflix. We will explain the difference below.
- NATIVE, REAL – 4K Ultra HD Content:
These are movies or TV shows that have been mastered (filmed) using 4K camera systems. Its as simple as this. More and more producers are switching over from 2K camera to 4K resolution Ultra HD cameras. It is expensive to purchase or rent 4K cameras therefore its lagging behind a bit. However, it is happening and soon most movies and TV shows will be filmed with 4K cameras. You can verify which films were mastered using 4K cameras or 2K cameras in our Post “REAL or FAKE 4K“.
- FAKE, UPSCALED — 4K Ultra HD Content:
Upscaled 4K content is when a producer takes an existing film which was originally mastered using 2K cameras and digitally enhances it to increase the resoloution. They then label it “4K”. However, it is not full 4K. Its a bit misleading and often confused consumers when they watch an upscaled or upconverted 4K movie or show. These types of 4K movies and shows are most plentiful on Netflix and elsewhere. This is because there is a massive amount of movie and shows that were filmed using 2K cameras because 2K- High Definition (HD) has been around for over 15 years now.
Click the above link regarding Real or Fake 4k and find a huge database of movies & shows that verify exactly how the film was mastered. Was it filmed with 2K or 4K cameras? Although, its labeled “Fake” 4K, its far from being fake. The quality of the picture image on these is still better than any 1080 High Definition 2K mastered film. Fake 4K increases its resolution to somewhere between 1800 and 3000 pixel resolution. However, its not full 4K. Producers basically fill or add more data to the 2K film by filling up the pixels in a 4K film (since there are more pixels available in a 4K format).
There are no network or local TV programs broadcast in 4K resolution via Antenna or cables (*YET– this will change when the next TV broadcast transition takes place). Just like we switched from Standard Definition and Analog over to High Definition (2K) 720 & 1080 back in the early 2000s, we are now switching our broadcasts over to even higher resolution which is called “4K” 3820 pixel resolution (it is rounded up to 4000).
Both Dish and DirecTV provide 4K programming on a limited basis via satellite, which is encouraging. We actually use Dish Network as our primary ‘cable’ provider. They do offer 4K content and are expanding monthly. However, Netflix offers more Ultra HD 4K content than anyone else right now.
We also have the 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc format available now. They are offering both players and discs. The good news is that a 4K UHD Blu-ray player is affordable. They run about $85-150 on Amazon. Amazon has the greatest selection at the lowest prices. They are PROS at shipping fragile large products like televisions. They offer 2-Day FREE and guaranteed shipping. We found it extremely convenient to purchase our first Sony 4K TV on Amazon. We also saved over $350 dollar on Amazon.
The biggest source for accessing 4K content is actually via internet streaming services, such as Netflix, which is offering an increasing amount of 4K programming content each month. There is also Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, VuDu & Hulu. There are others too, but we are focusing on Netflix within this Post.
To take advantage of Netflix 4K streaming, you need the following:
- The right TV – 4K UHD TV
- The right Netflix subscription plan – Giving you access to Ultra HD content
- A fast and stable internet connection
Let’s break down these requirements from above and provide you more details (on how to use Netflix for 4K).
What Type Of TV Do You Need For Netflix 4K Streaming?
OK, you are excited, you have a 4K Ultra HD TV and subscribe to Netflix, so you are set to go . . .well, not so fast. To watch Netflix in 4K, your TV (and you) have to meet several requirements.
- Is your TV smart? Your 4K Ultra HD TV has to be a smart TV (able to connect to the internet). Most 4K TVs are SMART.
- You must have HEVC. In addition to being a smart TV, your TV also has to have a built-in HEVC decoder. This is what enables the TV to decode the Netflix 4K signal properly. Again, most 4K UHD TVS contains this feature.
- Your TV has to be HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2 compliant. This isn’t a specific requirement for Netflix streaming via the TV’s internet streaming function, but 4K Ultra HD TVs with built-in HEVC decoders also include this HDMI/HDCP feature so that you will be able to connect to external 4K sources to the TV, such as Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players, Cable/Satellite boxes, and 4K-enabled media streamers, such as offerings from Roku and Amazon, that will provide native 4K content. Basically, it is required that you have a special cord to connect your cable box or Blu-Ray player with your TV. It is a HDMI 2.0 cord.
You Have To Subscribe
In order to stream Netflix 4K content on specific Ultra HD TV models from each of these brands, the TV has to be a model that was released in 2014 or later and has the Netflix app installed. Most of them do. Plus, you must have a subscription plan that allows you to access Netflix’s 4K content library.
To enjoy 4K Netflix content, you also have to upgrade to the Netflix Family Plan which means an increase in monthly rate (in effect at this writing) of $11.99 per month (still gives you access to all other Netflix non-4K content as well, though). This is only about $2-$3 dollars more per month than the standard membership.
Internet Speed Requirements
The final thing you need to stream Netflix 4K content is a fast enough broadband connection.
Ethernet vs WiFi
In conjunction with a fast broadband speed, you should also connect your Smart Ultra HD TV to the internet via a physical Ethernet connection if you are able. Even if your TV provides Wifi, it can be unstable, resulting in buffering or stalling, which definitely ruins the movie viewing experience. Ethernet cord connection is logically going to be faster than having data float through the ‘air’ by way of WiFi.
But, if you are using WiFi and it works fine, by all means continue to use WiFi.
What Does 4K Netflix Look and Sound Like?
Of course, once you access 4K streaming via Netflix, the question is “How does it look?” If you have the required broadband speed, the result will also depend on the quality, and TV screen size — 55-inches or larger is best viewing for resolutions between 1080p and 4K. This would be all the Ultra HD content that Netflix provides.
On the flip side, 4K is not good with a small display size. They don’t even make 4K TVs under 40 inches. 42-inch is about the smallest 4K television you can get. And, it does work well, but just not as good as a 55-80-inch TV screen.
The results can look very impressive. Far more real and true-to-life than what a 1080 HD film would offer. But, remember that it all depends on which cameras were used to master (film) the movie or TV show. Do not be disappointed in your 4K TV if you put on an UPSCALED “4K” movie and the picture image is not that great. Or, not as good as you thought it would be. This is because its not full, true, native 4K. It was not filmed using 4K cameras, therefore it can only be enhanced so far.
Put on a native 4K movie like that latest “Hunger Games” and it will blow your mind how real the picture is. Or, better yet put in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-Ray movies and you will see the absolute best picture image out of all 4K content. You can purchase a 4K UHD Blu-Ray player from Samsung, Sony, LG Vizio, LG, Toshiba or many others on Amazon for a reasonable price. Don’t forget to get those HDMI 2.0 cables you will need to connect the player to your 4K TV.
Other 4K TV Streaming Options
Although Netflix was the first content provider to offer 4K streaming, there are other streaming TV apps available. It all depends on which TV applications your new 4K TV is equipped with. Be sure to check this out BEFORE you purchase a new 4K TV. Find out how many TV apps there are and exactly which ones. Make sure you have the main basic SMART apps like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and Vudu.
There you have it! For about $12 bucks a month, you definitely want access to Netflix’s Ultra HD 4K movies & shows. They have the most available online and they are adding more and more every month. Go and enjoy Netflix!
If you would like more information about
4K and what it is, please go to our 4K SCHOOL page.
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