For users of the Xbox One and PS4, Netflix 4K streaming is a desirable option, especially now that so many gamers probably picked up a new 4K TV for sale during Black Friday 2015. Unfortunately, while Netflix does offer 4K movie streaming for an additional monthly charge, the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One do not currently offer an option for 4K video output, whether for video games or photos and videos.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Netflix CEO Neil Hunt claimed that a PS4 4K edition was in the works, and he claimed Microsoft may follow suit with a Xbox One 4K edition. Of course, when Hunt made this prediction, he was referring to a potential two-year hardware re-release of both video game consoles by the fall of 2015, so obviously Netflix’s prediction failed to come to pass.
In fact, both Sony and Microsoft have gone out of their way to shoot down reports about a potential release date for a PS4 Slim edition or a Xbox One slim edition. When Forbes reached out to both companies about their video game console’s 4K support, the answers were fairly vague.
“We remain committed to bringing leading entertainment features and services to the living room,” said Microsoft. “Beyond that, we have nothing to share at this time.”
“Support for high-resolution 4K output for still images and movie content is in consideration, but there are no further details to share at this time,” said Sony.
Both companies have yet to discuss the 4K streaming hardware requirements and whether a Xbox One or PS4 update can patch the systems in order to provide support. In the meantime, this is what we do know.
PS4 And Xbox One: 4K Streaming Support For HDMI 2.0 May Be Possible Via A Patch?
Both consoles currently support the HDMI 1.4a standard fully, which does, in fact, support the Ultra HD or 4K resolution. The bad news is that the max data rate provided by HDMI 1.4a is limited to 30 Hz, which means that 4K 60 Hz TV owners are left out in the cold. At the same time, North American movies are displayed in 24 Hz, so a 4K 30 Hz limitation is not necessarily a deal killer.
In addition, it may be possible that a PS4 and Xbox One update could provide a HDMI 2.0a software update, which offers 4K 60 Hz support (or 2160p60) and deeper color space among other features. According to the official HDMI website, both HDMI 2.0a and 1.4a connectors share the same 19 physical pins, and as such “existing HDMI connectors [and cables] will still be used.” Some TV manufacturers have already provided HDMI 2.0 software updates, although the HDMI organization admits that a firmware update is “dependent on manufacturers and their system designs.”
This probably means that a 4K patch for the Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will still be limited to 4K 30 Hz based upon hardware limitations. There are other technical issues like HDCP 2.2 support, which Netflix 4K requires for their copyright protection standard. High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) 4K support by both the 4K TV and the consoles is another issue, but a Xbox One patch added 10-bit HEVC decoding support during the summer, and the PS4 also offers limited HEVC support.
Netflix’s 4K Movie Streaming: What Is Currently Offered
In order to benefit from Netflix’s 4K streaming at all, you will first need to upgrade your streaming account plan. The Ultra HD Netflix plan costs $11.99 a month, or $4 more than the HD plan, but it also allows you to use four devices at a time instead of just two. (You can check which plan you currently have by going to Netflix.com/ChangePlans.)
The second thing you need is a 4K playback device. Some 4K TV models will support the Netflix 4K app, but you can also purchase a Roku 4 or a Nvidia Shield while waiting for that Xbox One and PS4 4K patch. PC gamers with a 4K monitor are also all set to go.
After upgrading, any Netflix 4K movies or TV shows will be labeled with “Ultra HD 4K” next to information like the parental rating and number of stars. In addition, Netflix offers a list labeled as “UltraHD 4K.”
Many of the Netflix Originals are available with 4K support, including Daredevil, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, and Marco Polo. In the past, some of the Netflix 4K movies included World War Z, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Avengers, Philadelphia, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Smurfs 2, Jerry Maguire and Ghostbusters. (Keep in mind this list may not be current, since some 4K movies like Skyfall were only available for a limited time based upon licensing agreements.)
Netflix: 4K Movie Streaming Bandwidth Requirements For Your Internet Service And Wireless Router
The official bandwidth requirements recommended by Netflix is 25 Mbps (Megabits per second). In practice, it’s probably best to have at least 50 Mbps internet so your other connected devices do not suffer while watching 4K movies. In order to check the speed of your current internet connection, you can use sites like Speedtest.net. It also helps to check your provider bill to make sure you’re getting the speed you paid for.
The secondary issue is the wireless router connection speed. Some gamers may use cables to connect their home theater system and consoles to the internet, but many families rely on wireless connections. This is important because the actual speed of the wireless connection is often far less than the theoretical speed of the wireless router, never mind the internet connection, so you will need to run a speed test from the 4K streaming device connected to your home theater.
If your 4K streaming device doesn’t have a speed test, then use a device physically located nearby. Both the Xbox One and PS4 can help in that regard, since the Test Internet Connection (PS4) and Detailed Network Statistics (Xbox One) options will give speed test results.
[Image via Netflix]