The biggest problem with 4K displays is that they lack content that actually takes advantage of all those extra pixels, but when Netflix introduced House of Cards, along with other titles, as supporting 4K, it was certainly a step in the right direction. Now, that the streaming company's adoption is underway, it's about time you paid for it.
If you're one of those lucky 4K TV owners (without a current subscription), and want to flex your tech muscles, you'll now need to sign up for a $US12 "Action" family plan, a $US3 price hike from the standard price. A Netflix spokesperson told Variety that the decision to price hike for UHD content was influenced by its growing catalogue that doesn't include just House of Cards, but also Breaking Bad and The Blacklist as well as other upcoming original series. It's also more expensive to create and deliver 4K content. With the price bump, you'll also get the added benefit of streaming Netflix on up to four screens at once (as opposed to two).
Also, current subscribers who've already used Netflix's 4K offerings won't have to magically pay more or be ripped away from their precious high-res television because all current subscribers, before August 12th, are grandfathered in indefinitely, according to HD Guru.
So should you take the plunge? First you should make sure you have the bandwidth, at least 25mbps, and as for quality, HDTVtest did a full HD and 4K comparison back in April and here's the take away:
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, and we saw minor posterization during the fade in, and around the street lamps. To our eyes, the [2160 HD] layer did not look visibly more detailed than the [1080 HD] one in this fairly dark scene. Where the 4K version did shine was with bright, colourful scenes. On-screen images were rendered with greater sharpness and smoother gradients, receiving a very slight boost in intra-scene gamma and contrast in the process too. Every time the video stream switched from [1080p HD] to [2160 HD], it's as if a veil had been lifted from the front of the screen, bringing objects — even faraway ones in long shots — into breathtaking clarity.
So it might not be best if you're going to watch a lot of Batman movies or other overly dark and shadowy TV shows, but for $US3 a month it might be worth considering now, or at the very least, keeping an eye on as Netflix's high-res content grows. [HD Guru via Variety/The Verge]