On Tuesday, Netflix introduced the next standard for high-definition television to fans of its hit shows like "House of Cards" with the launch of 4K streaming quality.
Like 1080p before it, 4K refers to the resolution of the picture quality. 4K resolution has 4,096 horizontal viewable pixels (4096x2160), roughly twice as large as the 1080p (1920x1080), which is the current standard. While this may sound like a huge advantage, to watch this content, customers must have a 4K compatible television, and not all 4KTVs are the same. The first commercially available 4KTVs hit the market in 2013, but they don’t have the necessary High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) required to stream and view Netflix’s new content. HEVC is a video compression standard and successor to the current H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.
So how does it look? Well, the guys over at HDTVTest sat down to watch the ultra high-def stream and found some interesting results.
“The opening shot of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) and his wife (Robin Wright) running in a park at night is a testing sequence with lots of gradients and camera noise,” Vincent Teoh stated, “and we saw minor posterization during the fade in, and around the street lamps.”
Basically, Teoh and his team saw reduced video quality, ironically, most likely due to compression issues inherent with a streaming service. Their overall feeling, though, was positive. “There’s no denying that House of Cards S2 in 4K Ultra HD was by far and away the best-looking title we’ve seen among Netflix’s catalogue of movies and television series,” Teoh said.
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"House of Cards" Season 2 is available now on Netflix in Ultra HD and standard HD. The second season was released on Feb. 14, 2014.