Netflix Now Streaming in Ultra HD 4K

Netflix Now Streaming in Ultra HD 4K        #REPOST

In chapter 1 of House of Cards, Frank Underwood famously tells Stamper to “Look at the bigger picture.” With House of Cards season 2, that bigger picture is here! The best quality video in the world is now streaming via the Internet.

House of Cards in Netflix UltraHD 4K

We’re excited about the picture quality we’re seeing in Ultra HD 4K, and we’re even more excited that expert reviewers of the first TVs capable of streaming Netflix Ultra HD 4K, including the Samsung HU8550 and HU9000, seem to agree. This is just the the beginning, expect more TVs that support Netflix in Ultra HD 4K in stores soon from Samsung, Sony, LG, and Vizio. If you buy one of these new TVs, just connect it to a power outlet and the internet, turn it on and sign into Netflix. Ultra HD 4K streaming will work out of the box.
To get the highest quality Netflix experience in Ultra HD 4K, we recommend available bandwidth of at least 20Mbps. This provides enough throughput for the stream, which is about 16Mbps, plus headroom for service variability. And speaking of variability, there are many things that can affect the data throughput to a specific device on your home network. One of those variables is how a broadband provider chooses to handle incoming bits from Netflix. Any broadband provider that’s directly connected to Netflix will deliver a better experience, especially during primetime.
Market researchers predict that consumers will buy a million Ultra HD 4K TVs this year and even more in subsequent years. We expect it will likely take up to 5 years before Ultra HD 4K becomes mainstream; when most of the TVs on store shelves are Ultra HD 4K.
Today, our catalog of Ultra HD 4K movies and shows is small but packs a punch: the second season of the Emmy Award winning show House of Cards, and several nature films from noted photographer and filmmaker Louie Schwarztberg.

Later this year, we expect to add another multi Emmy Award winning show Breaking Bad, and more Netflix original productions. As more content producers shift their production and mastering to create Ultra HD 4K output, and more Ultra HD 4K TVs are in the market, we’ll bring more of that content to you.
What’s Next?
We’re excited about bringing you Ultra HD 4K, but it’s been a joint effort with our partners to create the TVs, the streaming tech, and the shows we all love. We’ve all worked hard to design products and produce shows that support the broader feature set of Ultra HD 4K. This, of course, includes the Ultra High Definition 3840×2160 resolution, and 10-bit color precision, but also framerates up to 60 frames per second and richer colors.

Fellow AV geeks… we know you want more details on the tech behind Netflix Ultra HD 4K. In a future post on the Netflix Tech Blog, we’ll share some of those details with you. In the mean time, on behalf of everyone at Netflix who worked on delivering Ultra HD 4K, enjoy the bigger picture!

 

Posted by Richard Smith at 7:26 PM #REPOST

Why Netflix Is Pushing ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘House of Cards’ in 4K Ultra

Why Netflix Is Pushing ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘House of Cards’ in 4K Ultra

Breaking Bad                                                               #REPOST
MAY 9, 2014 | 12:55PM PT
Streaming-video provider not only wants to tout tech leadership — it also wants to bring ISPs into its content-delivery fold

NY Digital Editor
Todd Spangler
NY Digital Editor
@xpangler
Virtually none of Netflix’s 45-plus million customers have a 4K Ultra HD television today.

So why is the company bothering to expend cycles to offer “House of Cards” season two, “Breaking Bad” later this summer and other programs in a format that nobody can watch?

Two reasons: First, Netflix is positioning itself as a technology leader by delivering dazzlingly sharp 4K video, which provides four times the resolution (3840 by 2160) and a richer color palette compared with regular HD. That’s something pay-TV operators are hamstrung in bringing to market. Walter White will never look better (or, you know, worse). The move also makes Netflix a valuable partner for hardware manufacturers like Samsung, Sony and LG, which desperately need 4K content to sell pricey Ultra HD TVs.

The second, less-obvious strategy in play is that Netflix hopes the high bandwidth requirements of Ultra HD will spur Internet service providers to opt in to its content-delivery program — instead of charging the company access fees.

Reason No. 1: Netflix Can Deliver Ultra HD, But Cable and Satellite Can’t

Think of it like this: It’s not TV. It’s Netflix.

Cable and satellite providers don’t have the capacity today to shove Ultra HD video down their pipes, and they’re disinclined to move rapidly to adopt the new tech given the relatively tiny addressable market of subscribers who have TVs to even watch it.

Netflix doesn’t need to carve out dedicated bandwidth for 4K, because everything on the service is on-demand. “The best-quality video in the world is now streaming via the Internet,” Netflix product manager Richard Smith wrote in a blog post. It’s worth noting that Comcast also is planning to offer Ultra HD — but delivered over broadband, not via coaxial spectrum used for traditional TV.

Moreover, Netflix is giving consumer-electronics makers a reason to put it in the pole position on their latest 4K gear. The CE guys need content to drive Ultra HD sales (a chicken-and-egg problem that 3DTV has never solved). Amazon also is pursuing a 4K strategy, with plans to release upcoming originals in the format, with the similar goal of moving 4K TVs off its virtual shelves.

The first TVs capable of streaming Netflix Ultra HD are Samsung models, with support coming on sets from Sony, LG and Vizio 4K TVs, the company says. “If you buy one of these new TVs, just connect it to a power outlet and the Internet, turn it on and sign into Netflix. Ultra HD 4K streaming will work out of the box,” Smith wrote.

Super simple, right? Well, not exactly — which leads to the next point.

Reason No. 2: Netflix Wants to Drive ISPs into its CDN System

To watch its 4K programming lineup, Netflix recommends subscribers have an Internet connection of 25 megabits per second — five times the 5 Mbps what it suggests for best HD streaming.

Netflix already chews up a ton of downstream bandwidth on ISP networks, accounting for about one-third of total usage. As a result, the streamer has been forced to pay Comcast and Verizon for more bandwidth into their networks. Why is it encouraging subs to clog up broadband even more?

The idea is to put pressure on ISPs to join Netflix’s Open Connect CDN program, in which caching servers are co-located at their facilities. Here is Netflix’s Smith: “Any broadband provider that’s directly connected to Netflix will deliver a better experience, especially during primetime.”

Netflix touts Open Connect as reducing upstream bandwidth links ISPs need to deliver high-quality video. More to the point, it saves Netflix money because it reduces the amount of bits it has to pump to an ISP’s ingress points. By pushing 4K as the biggest pig in the python, Netflix wants to convince ISPs that it just makes more sense to install the CDN caches.

Will the make-the-ISPs-blink approach with 4K work for Netflix? Today Comcast and Verizon clearly aren’t interested in enabling a would-be rival for free, which is why on another front Netflix is agitating for a “strong” net neutrality that would prevent ISPs from charging for access to their networks.

Remember that Netflix originally offered content in “Super HD,” its proprietary 4K precursor, only to ISPs who were part of Open Connect. The company last fall changed that policy, after failing to win over any major providers.

In any event, the Netflix 4K strategy shows that the company is thinking hard long-term about the economics of bandwidth and delivering the highest-quality video possible. It’s early days for Ultra HD: Just 57,000 4K TVs shipped in the U.S. last year, rising to 450,000 units this year, the Consumer Electronics Assn. estimates. Netflix itself expects it will be five years before Ultra HD becomes mainstream.

If the future points to Ultra HD becoming ubiquitous, Netflix wants to be at the bleeding edge – so it’s holding a strong hand that shows ISPs the best way forward is cooperation instead of stonewalling and charging access fees.

SEE ALSO: Ultra HD TV: Not Ready for Primetime

FILED UNDER: 4K Ultra HDBreaking BadHouse of CardsNetflix
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PlayStation Now Looks OK on 4K TVs

PlayStation Now Looks OK on 4K TVs                          #REPOST
By Marshall HonorofMAY 9, 2014 10:26 AM – Source: Tom’s Guide

Details are still relatively scarce on PlayStation Now, Sony’s upcoming game streaming service, but we know that Sony intends to use it to bring core gaming to a larger audience. Thanks to a firsthand demonstration from Sony in New York City, we also know a few more details about how it will look on 4K TVs and what kind of games we can expect to see.

We attended a demonstration of Sony’s line of new 4K TVs in New York City on May 6, and saw, among other things, how PlayStation Now will work in tandem with Sony’s smart TVs. When the app launches, Sony smart TV users will be able to access PlayStation Now via an app, just as they would access Netflix or Pandora.

MORE: The Best Online-Original TV Shows 2014

PlayStation Now uses the Gaikai cloud storage service to stream games directly to Sony devices, including PS4s, PS Vitas and Sony smart TVs. Since the game is rendered in the cloud, having a powerful gaming system isn’t a necessity (although a DualShock controller is).

We saw Sony demonstrate “Sniper Elite V2,” and the experience was passable, but hardly up to the standards of the PS3 version. The game functioned without any perceptible lag. Movement and gunplay were both smooth, but the game did not look very good, even upscaled on a 4K TV. The characters and textures were both blurry, and the screen occasionally tore during intense action sequences.

Since PlayStation Now is still in its early stages, there’s every chance that Sony will iron out the kinks before the product reaches consumers. The company also has yet to announce pricing, as both à la carte and subscription models are currently under consideration.

 

Why 2014 will be an amazing year of curves and 4K content

MAY ON 4K 2014 is the year of 4K content thanks to Netflix

By Steve May  January 15th

 #Repost

Why 2014 will be an amazing year of curves and 4K content
4K is coming to an Ultra HD screen near you

If 2013 was the year of the 4K Ultra HD TV, then 2014 (or as I now like to call it 2014K) is fast shaping up to be the year of 4K content.

Whether you want to create your own or kick-back and watch something rather more professional, it’s all going down this year.

The Sony AX100E 4K Handycam, unveiled at last week’s International CES and due this summer priced just under £2,000, looks sensational.

Dramatically smaller than its pro-centric FDR-AX1E predecessor, it shoots Ultra HD in XAVC S, which is a derivation of XAVC, the 4K video format developed by Sony for TV production.

Panasonic is also prepping a 4K consumer shooter, a lightweight wearable action-cam styled on its head-mountable A100. Perfect for skiing apparently, which I will obviously do never.

Sony hndycam
Got you on the handycam, fits in my hand…

Netflix in 4K

“A senior engineer at a large Japanese electronics company had already warned me that behind the scenes the 4K Blu-ray situation was ‘chaos!'”

Of course, the biggest 4K content news hails from Netflix. The non-contract streaming outfit has confirmed that it will be launching a UHD service this spring.

“We are at the forefront of 4K,” proclaimed Netflix director of corporate communications Joris Evers when I met him in Vegas.

“TV manufacturers are not going to sell any TVs unless there’s stuff to watch on them, that takes advantage of the technology advances built into them. This is the first time that the best video quality possible is only going to be available through the internet. We believe Netflix will be the way most people will get 4K content.”

Evers is probably right. 4K Blu-ray was notable only by its absence on the CES showfloor. Although the Blu-ray Disc Association had been talking up plans to upgrade their disc spec beforehand, there wasn’t a peep to be heard from any peeps. Not that I was surprised. A senior engineer at a large Japanese electronics company had already warned me that behind the scenes the 4K BD situation was “chaos!”

It’s important to realise that 4K Netflix will only be available on Ultra HD screens sporting an integrated HEVC h.265 decoder. That rules out all of last year’s TV launches, including the forward-facing HDMI 2.0 compatiblePanasonic WT600.

New 4K TVs are here

Not that there’s going to be any shortage of new HEVC-enabled tellies to choose from. But you might need to learn to love the curve.

Curling screens littered the Las Vegas convention centre like week-old sandwiches. Thankfully most appeared a good deal more appetising than stale bread.

I’d even go so far as to say the prototype 105-inch 21:9 ratio curved Ultra HD screens from LG and Samsung looked drop-dead amazing, although even Peter Andre and his 60 Minute Makeover team would struggle to find a way of getting them into my living room without demolishing most of the house.

samsung 4k
Bendy TVs, honestly – what is the point?

Samsung’s amazing new 4K technology

Choose a 4K TV

sony

Best 4K Ultra HD TVOur round-up of all the best options for choosing an Ultra HD TV for your living room

Away from the CES showfloor, Samsung previewed upcoming tech for future 4K lines. This proved to be pretty fascinating.

One engineering team is working out ways to improve the dynamic range of 4K sets, showing a prototype high-brightness 85-inch panel which peaks at 1000 nits of brightness. A side by side comparison of current and next-gen panels used a sequence from J.J. Abrams Star Trek: Into Darkness for illustration.

Both displays looked superb, but unfortunately when Abrams’ trademark lens flare hit the high-brightness prototype my retinas exploded.

The brand’s boffins have also developed a high contrast image processor which uses object-based contrast enhancement to give even greater delineation with 4K sources. The aim, I was told, is to help create an almost tangible 3D effect.

“It helps create that sense of immersion,” I was told. Perhaps bizarrely, the engineers responsible said there were no plans to offer similar immersion on flat 4K screens.

Disappointing perhaps, but salvation could be at hand. Both LG and Samsung also teased prototype flexible 4K UHD screens at CES which allow users to remotely alter the degree of curvature.

So thanks to some ingenious over-engineering, the world’s biggest TV brands have made it possible to make curved screens flat again. Remember when I said we were entering a new Age of Stupid

How Fox Is Using 4K at the Super Bowl 2014

How Fox Is Using 4K at the Super Bowl 

#Repost

Fox-cameraman1

A Fox Sports cameraman shoots the game between the Denver Broncos and the Washington Redskins during an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013, in Denver, Colo.

IMAGE: JACK DEMPSEY/ASSOCIATED PRESS
The age of 4K may have officially begun, but the world still has some catching up to do. Case in point: You can’t actually watch this weekend’s Super Bowlin 4K (a.k.a. Ultra HD), even if you have a 4K TV, since there isn’t yet a broadcast or cable standard for ultra-high-def format. Even the live stream is “just” in 720p.That doesn’t mean 4K won’t make a difference at the big game. Fox will have six 4K cameras at MetLife Stadium — two on the sidelines, two on the goal lines and two on the end lines — specifically for the network’s “Super Zoom” feature. When the broadcast needs to get in tight on some action, the feed will crop a 720p “window” from the 4K picture captured by those cameras. That way, Fox can get tight, high-res images without needing to zoom in optically.

“It allows us to do an electronic zoom and maintain resolution,” Jerry Steinberg, Fox’s senior vice president of operations, told Mashable. “We have five Sony F55s and one Sony F65, all connected to the Super Zoom workflow.”

Fox introduced Super Zoom three years ago, Steinberg says, although the best cameras available that existed then were 2K. Once 4K cameras became available, about two years go, Fox moved to that format, and other networks such as NBC and CBS followed suit. Steinberg says he’d like to take the feature even further, to 8K cameras, but that wasn’t possible in time for this year’s game.

 

Fox 4K Super Zoom

How Super Zoom works: Fox’s Super Bowl broadcast can extract 720p chunks (marked in red) from the picture captured by the six 4K cameras on the field, negating the need for an optical zoom.

IMAGE: RICK OSENTOSKI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Steinberg says the Super Zoom made a difference in the Dec. 15, 2013, victory of the Green Bay Packers over the Dallas Cowboys. In the final minutes, Packers cornerback Tramon Williams dove to intercept a pass, which was reviewed by the referees to see if it was a legitimate catch. The referees watched the footage caught by one of the Fox Super Zoom cameras and declared the catch valid, sealing Green Bay’s comeback.

 

As for the game itself, the only way to enjoy it in 4K is to upconvert Fox’s 720p broadcast

As for the game itself, the only way to enjoy it in 4K is to upconvert Fox’s 720p broadcast, which any 4K TV will do. Steinberg doesn’t believe broadcast standards for 4K will emerge for years, and sending an entire broadcast in 4K would require a tremendous investment; Fox uses 50 cameras for the Super Bowl broadcast. Even ESPN, which recently stepped up its production workflow to better accommodate 4K (and even 8K), doesn’t see 4K broadcasts in the near future.

“As a specialty tool in that application, [4k] works well,” says Steinberg. “As a broadcast technology, I think it’s very far away.”

However, prices for consumer 4K products are dropping (both a $2,000 Sony 4K camcorder and a $999 Vizio 4K TV were revealed at CES 2014), and software leaders like YouTube are figuring out new streaming standards that won’t demand Internet-choking bandwidth. The barriers preventing 4K from going mainstream are quickly being broken, and it’s just a matter of time before the big game and other events get the 4K treatment.

Get set: 4K UHD is coming fast to a TV set Near You – Jan 30, 2014

Get set: 4K UHD is coming fast to a TV set near you

By Ruth L Ratny Jan 30, 2014

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John McGrath of Rethink Studios, who’s always been giant steps ahead of the digital curve, has seen the future and it’s Ultra High Definition, aka 4K technology.

“It’s coming and it’s coming fast,” he predicts.

At 3840 x 2160, 4K Ultra HD is four times the total number of pixels on a full 1080pHD screen.

“All the technology is here, so we’re just waiting for affordable 4K TVs for the home and the cable boxes to deliver the content,” says 4K proponent McGrath. “It’s going to be what 3D never achieved.”

In fact, Sony, Samsung, Panasonic and LG 4K TV sets fueled the excitement at the recent Consumers Electrics Show.  Netflix amplified the buzz by announcing it is partnering with TV manufacturers to produce 4K content.

 

Knox McCormick, Optimus director of operations, is cautiously approaching the new resolution. Although he’s been carefully watching 4K over the past year-and-a-half, “I’m not rushing to buy 4K monitors because I remember how many years it took to get 3D monitors in place,” a familiar refrain. 

 

Although 4K monitors are becoming a market reality and 4K content is around the corner, Chicago has some catching up to do.

Many 4K camera choices available

There’s no shortage of 4K cameras, however.  Craig Maltby’s Magnanimous Media offers plenty of 4K capture options: The Red Scarlett and Red Epic; Canon’s new C500 and the new Sony F55 Cine Alta 4K,  which was recently rented to shoot content for a huge video wall in Walgreen’s corporate headquarters, Maltby says.

More than half the content that Magnanimous’ in-house DP, Jonah Rubash, shoots is in 4K: Fox sports shows, music videos, corporate videos, interviews and shorts.  “The decision is usually based on the higher resolution quality issue,” he says.

No immediate 4K market for commercials so far

As for commercials, 4F is currently a format-in-waiting for commercials.

Optimus, for one, has the ability to edit and color correct in 4K, but lacks the demand for the higher resolution.  “When clients come in and ask for 4K is when we will take it seriously,” McCormick says.

Neither The Whitehouse nor The Mill have seen any agency-shot 4K commercials. “It won’t happen overnight,” comments The Mill’s EP Jared Yeater, “but it’s coming and we have to be ready for it.”

“It will start major big advertisers and corporations with big venues to showcase it. It’s like what happened when we shifted from SD to HD. The transition will happen when equipment catches up and TV sets are affordable,” he says.

When Nolan Collaboration Jeff Nolan’s commercial clients do shoot in 4K, they always finish in HD, he notes.  To prepare his clients for what’s ahead, he always suggests they make a future-proof version of their 4K work for the day when resolution becomes standard.

But don’t wait, McGrath urges content decision-makers. “Shoot everything in 4K. It provides you far greater creative flexibility in design, effects and post.”  

Rethink beta testing 4F rendering solutions

McGrath’s company, Rethink, is on the 4K fast track.  Designers are currently beta testing what McGrath calls “blindingly-fast” modeling and rendering solutions with Nvidia and Autodesk.

“We’ll have our clients in real-time CGI modeling, animation and lighting sessions in the very near future, at 4K.”

Rethink has always set its own screen sizes and resolutions, he says, “so 4K is just a broadcast standard that is going to make the images from our virtual cameras look all the more real.”

And those images are heading for the consumer market.

Entertainment content in 4F is being readied for the big splash. Streaming 4K video from Netflix is due out Feb. 14, with “House of Cards: Season 2” set to be its first 4K streaming content. AMC’s “Breaking Bad” will be upconverted to the new format.

M-Go, a joint venture of DreamWorks Animation and Technicolor will launch its UHDservice on Samsung next spring.

 

Streaming Media in UltraHD & Filming in 4K is Here!

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