If you purchased one of Panasonic’s 4K televisions this year, then you may have been disappointed to find out it wouldn’t play 4K content from one of the few sources that offers it these days: Netflix. That has now changed, however, as Panasonic recently issued a firmware update that enables its Netflix app to stream any of Netflix’s available 4K content, including House of Cards Season 2, The Blacklist, Ghostbusters (I and II), and a handful of nature documentaries.
Panasonic 2014 4K TV models, like the AX800 we recently reviewed, have always supported H.265 (HEVC) decoding — the same encoding scheme used by Netflix for its 4K content — however, Panasonic had yet to seal the deal with Netflix for streaming rights. With Netflix now on board, it remains to be seen whether or not Panasonic will have a deal in place to support Amazon Prime Instant video’s 4K streams when they go live later this month.
The bad news for non-existing Netflix subscribers is that the cost to access Netflix’s 4K content just grew by 50 percent. New subscribers must now pay $11.99 (versus the standard $7.99 subscription) in order to get at the 4K streams. The top subscription tier also allows for streaming on up to four devices at once. Those who already subscribe to Netflix at the $7.99 level will continue to get access to Netflix’s 4K titles at no additional charge, for up to two more years.