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Netflix: 4K Video Will Need At Least 15 Mbps
by Karl Bode 10:44AM Monday Sep 23 2013
Netflix has stated that the company's goal is to stream content in the 4K format by 2014 or so. Netflix recently started offering Super HD and 3D streams, if your ISP has signed up for the company's new content delivery network. Super HD streams need 5-7 Mbps of bandwidth, while 3D streams need 6-12 Mbps of bandwidth. Rather unsurprisingly, 4K video streams will eat substantially more bandwidth than both.

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"Going forward we’ll see more and more 4K, and that will work really well over the Internet," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stated last week at the Copenhagen Future of TV Conference.

"It’s around 15 megabits per second," Hastings stated when asked about 4K streaming bandwidth needs. "It’s not too bad. If you've got a 50-megabit connection you’ll be fine."

Obviously slower speeds will seen higher compression, and Netflix has yet to clarify what compression they'll use. Unfortunately, there's wide swaths of people in the United States that still only have access to DSL services that are slower than 6 Mbps. There's also the rising issue of bandwidth caps and per byte overages -- which certainly won't play well with 4K video.

Given very low early adoption, Hastings doesn't think the bandwidth needs of 4K video will really strain ISP network anytime soon. "...As an overall system load, it will grow quite slowly and steadily, giving people lots of time to build the infrastructure," insists Hastings.

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El Paso, TX

2 recommendations

reply to MURICA

Re: Not too bad

said by MURICA:

No it doesn't. It looks like shit.

I dare you to tell the difference in a blind test between an x264 encoded at 10-12 mbps file from a higher bitrate one in most material.

I'm not referring to the codec (h.264) but the encoder here. x264 is an amazing encoder and can produce incredible results at very low bitrates.

My Goal Is To Deny Yours
Grand Rapids, MI

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reply to elefante72

Re: But...

I agree elefante72.

There are many people who buy into the whole 1080p hype but they don't have the right TV or distance to take advantage of it.


This chart is right on the money. You will notice 1080p quality on a 60 inch tv at 7.5 inches to 10 feet away. For those of you with 40 inch TVs, you won't see a difference until you get 7.5 feet away or less.
My domain - Nightfall.net


East Amherst, NY

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reply to buzz_4_20
That is the idea on 4k ON RESOLUTION. The question is optically do you really need it. In many cases 720p at sufficient distance and screen size is all one can resolve.

The more disturbing things are macroblocks, color saturation, and gradation which is more of a transcoding issue than a resolution issue.

As a matter of fact, resolution is like 3rd or 4th on the most important aspects of a pleasing user experience.

To me 4k is like 3d, the next attempt at TV manufacturers to prop up margins with a dubious product.