It looks like adopters of 4K TVs have something to finally cheer about (sort of). Netflix announced that as of Sunday, they’ve begun streaming 4K versions of their popular original series House of Cards.

 

However, there is one caveat, the 4K streams are only viewable on TVs that use a H.265/HEVC decoder. This decoder is only available on newer 4K TVs, most of which will be releasing this year. Most early adopters who purchased 4K TV sets last year won’t be able to view the Ultra HD content. Other providers such as Comcast and Amazon will also adopt this format when they roll our their 4K streams later this year.

 

HDTVtest put Netflix’s streaming acumen thru it’s paces with mixed results. Netflix’s Ultra HD is streamed at a bit rate of 15.6 Mbps. HDTVtest noted that in some dark scenes posterization was evident and the higher resolution did not look noticeably better than 1080p. However, HDTVtest did note that in brighter scenes the gradients were smoother, colors were more vibrant and the image quality appeared superior to 1080p.

 

Since 4K streaming is currently in it’s infancy these first steps are sure to be bumpy. However, even these rocky first steps are a step in the right direction.

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