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Netflix CEO talks 4K streaming requirements

By Shawn Knight · 17 replies
Sep 24, 2013
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  1. 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...

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  2. The problems with streaming 4K are many:

    1. No one has 4K TVs and likely won’t for many years
    2. There is little 4K content and the cost to produce it is higher than 1080p
    3. Perceived quality advantage over 1080p
    4. Infrastructure needs build out
    5. Bandwidth and traffic shaping issues during peak
    7. Data caps (biggest problem of all seven)

    I’m not saying don’t do it, but let’s at least get good at streaming 1080p before going headlong into 4K.
    H3llion and SantistaUSA like this.
  3. stbecker

    stbecker TS Rookie Posts: 32

    Some problems yes, but not as bad as you think.
    1. TVs are in stores now, so they are available. There's no real point w/o content, but ...
    2. More content is becoming available all the time. Production costs over 1080 are not prohibitive. I've seen estimations in the 50% range -- not nearly as turbulent a change as seen from SD to HD.
    3. Valid point. I don't often stand with my nose 2" from my 70" TV. But if I had a 100"... (dreaming).
    4. Infrastructure? If Netflix has the content, the Internet is already here.
    5. Could be an issue, but only if this content is widely adopted. And with Netflix pushing out content mirrors to the edge of the network, it's not like the entire world is attempting to stream from the same source.
    6. Or 7. I'd hate to think ISPs would go to a tiered structure like wireless, but it is possible.

    I've done some research on video compression and the good news here is that the bandwidth required to deliver video content could be halved with new standards. The bad news is that you can only compress things so far, so this isn't a long-term solution forever (think 8K). I would hazard a guess that content delivery will be pushed closer to the consumer down the road, if that's possible.

    I guess that's me just being optimistic. Bring it!
  4. 4K?, are we going to jump from 720p and 1080i to 4K?
  5. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,376   +72

    Netflix doesn't even stream in 1080p yet. Not really feasible for the infrastructure, go back to theaters. For all the expense of a 50M connection, what movies did I see this summer? Sequels to star trek or the hobbit? Streamed the hobbit in 720p, but also went to the theater. 1/3rd of the people in my condo building couldn't pay the rent this month, and they aren't minorities. Just downgraded my brother from 6M to 1.5M due to cost.
  6. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,952   +575

    Why not?
  7. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,482   +978

    There is no difference really between 1080i and 1080P, so this jump isnt anything to complain about.

    I think it is great that you only need 15mbps to stream 4K content.
  8. stbecker

    stbecker TS Rookie Posts: 32

    Darth Shiv likes this.
  9. Darth Shiv

    Darth Shiv TS Evangelist Posts: 1,952   +575

  10. "4K" is 3840x2160, the name is just a marketing ploy. 1080 x 2 = 2160... However the fact that most streaming content is 1280x720, jumping to 3840x2160 is pretty sweet, I may finally have to upgrade my 2560x1440 monitor.
  11. tipstir

    tipstir TS Ambassador Posts: 2,842   +193

    Stream HD 1080P that's it for us now, 4K or 8K or higher will be expensive and then Netflix will want to raise the price from $7.99 plus tax $8.49 for me a month but I am not welling to pay more. Then it will become like the old CATV was. Here we have people bying these Ultra HD sets.
  12. Timonius

    Timonius TS Evangelist Posts: 648   +58

    Not really a marketing ploy. 4K is just a simple way of saying 3840x2160 (~8 million pixels) displays are four times the resolution of 1920x1080 (~2 million pixels).
  13. Puiu

    Puiu TS Evangelist Posts: 3,299   +1,751

    pretty sure that 4K comes from having 1080p x4 (1920x1080x4) and it's a name given by us "nerds". the marketing ploy is naming it Ultra HD.
  14. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 596   +76

    All this "HD" lark is bs imo, on my massive samsung crt back in the late 90s I was resolutions on pm what console and tv ppl are now doing and calling "HD" I think they should get rid of all this full hd, hd ready, ultra hd blah blah blah and even ditch interlace and just make it like PCs and show the max resolution.
  15. OortCloud

    OortCloud TS Maniac Posts: 225   +107

    They can stream any resolution they like if they down the bit rate of the encoding.
    That's the trouble with all this HD/4K etc video on the web (and even on set-top boxes) - it might have a high resolution but at times the stream is so compressed that the picture is full of noticeable blocking and blurring and mosquito noise despite being at 1920x1080 resolution. Often I think it would have been better to have had a lower resolution and less compression.
  16. Right now a good 720p stream at 60fps is 3200Kbps, so 2160p at 60fps would need close to 30,000Kbps. That's like 30GB an hour.

    (I just estimated in my head, feel free to correct me, :p)
  17. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Evangelist Posts: 423   +243

    You were not at HD with the content available in the 90's. Sorry bud.
  18. thewind

    thewind TS Enthusiast Posts: 80   +8

    Last time I checked movies played at 24fps! Only the new hobbit movie was done in 60fps and some people liked it some said it gave them a headache...

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