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The 4K revolution will be televised, and Netflix says you’ll only need 15 Mbps to watch


Those who have been worried over the viability of streaming 4K content might be able take some encouragement from Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. First reported by Multichannel News, a September 13th interview at the Copenhagen Future of TV Conference has Hastings promising that consumers won’t need more than about 15 Mbps to stream 4K video files once the content is up and running on the site, which is slated to happen within the next two years. That means those who get regular data speeds of around 50 Mbps already have the means to stream 4K content into their homes.

For cinephiles who have already come to terms with the astronomical pricing of 4K TVs, the biggest hurdle has long been content — or more to the point, the lack thereof. Since most of us get a good portion of our entertainment online these days, the viability of streaming massive 4K files has raised some serious concerns about the format. But Netflix is already looking to a future in which 4K content is slowly but surely adopted into everyone’s living room, and it’s not wasting any time getting the pieces in place.

The key to adapting video content to beam into your console or Smart TV is the same with 4K as it was with early adoption of 1080p and 720p HD content, or any video files for that matter: compression. And as with all technology, the better the compression, the better the ultimate result. Since early 2012, Netflix has employed compression technology made by a company called eyeIO to compress its regular HD content, the same compression specialists who are currently trusted to handle 4K conversions for big players in the market like Sony. However, its unclear as of yet whether Netflix will be using eyeIO for its own 4K needs in the near future.

One thing is certain: 4K is coming. Recent price drops in current UHD models have gotten to a slightly less jaw-dropping five grand or so, and by next year, perhaps consumers will be able to put a 4K TV in their homes for around $3,000. Once that ball starts rolling, some one will need to supply a whole lotta’ 4K content for those lucky few on the frontier of the movement. And Netflix, for one, appears to be ready for the transition. How about you? Does feasible 4K streaming get you excited enough to drop some serious cash on a new TV? Let us know.

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Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
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