Netflix CEO talks 4K streaming requirements

By on September 24, 2013, 3:00 PM

Netflix is expected to be one of the pioneers in 4K content streaming at some point in the not-too-distant future. There are several hurdles to clear before we reach that realization but it’s something that CEO Reed Hastings is already investing a great deal of thought into.

During a recent interview with Claus Bülow Christensen, the producer of the Copenhagen Future of TV Conference, Hastings said he believes 4K video will first come to tablets, notebooks and desktop PCs as resolutions on those devices improve. This will help to set in motion the adoption curve and eventually lead to lower-cost 4K televisions.

Currently, 4K television sets can be had for anywhere between $3,500 for a 55-inch Samsung set up to a whopping $25,000 for a massive 84-inch model from Sony. These prices will certainly come down over time but how long that takes is really anyone’s guess at this point.

Delivering 4K content to Internet-connected devices has been a topic of keen interest lately but according to Hastings, the minimum requirement is around 15 megabits per second. Anyone with a 50-megabit connection will be fine, he said.

He goes on to suggest ISPs shouldn’t have much to worry about in terms of bandwidth requirements. Considering that it’s likely that only a few people in a given neighborhood will be watching 4K video simultaneously, system load overall will grow slowly and steadily. This, Hastings believes, will give ISPs plenty of time to build the necessary infrastructure.

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