Netflix Tests 4K Streaming, Launching in 2014

Janko Roettgers, GigaOM:

But soon, Netflix could offer a lot more compelling 4K fare: CEO Reed Hastings said during the company’s most recent earnings call that Netflix wants to be “one of the big suppliers of 4k next year.” It’s expected that Netflix will kick off 4K, or Ultra HD, as some prefer to call it, with its own original content, but it might also get some movies and TV show content from its licensing partners in ultra high-definition.

There are two requirements to enjoy 4K streaming on Netflix. One is you’ll need a 4K display. 4K TVs are expensive, but are coming down rapidly. Seiki 4K TVs are already at rock bottom prices. The other requirement is a fast-enough broadband connection. According to Karl Bode at DSL Reports you’ll need a 50 Mbps connection to the Internet. In San Jose, where I live, AT&T’s U-verse Internet is maxed out at 45 Mbps. If you need 50 Mbps in San Jose, Comcast is your only option but it will cost $75 per month. (I’d like the option of 100 Mbps for $20 per month, an option many of my friends and family have in South Korea.) We need fast and affordable broadband connections in the U.S. if Netflix and other online content providers want widespread 4K streaming. And for that to happen we need more competition. Is that going to happen in 2014 in Silicon Valley? I’m not holding my breath.