Let's be up-front about it: there's not a lot of 4K content out there. And until the major cable providers figure out a way to broadcast ultra-rich, ultra high-definition content directly through your cable box, it's probably going to stay that way.
But hey, all hope is not lost. It turns out your favorite binge-watching service actually provides a good amount of super sharp content without you needing to lift a (or at least too many) finger(s).
Before we hook you up with the sweet, sweet 3,840 x 2,160 video you've been dreaming of, let's make sure you have the right components to make it happen.
What you need
First off, and this should probably go without saying, you're going to need a TV or monitor capable of 4K resolution. Make sure it's HDCP 2.2-compliant (click the link for a great guide on how to check whether your TV has it), and connect it to your PC or streaming media player via an HDMI or DisplayPort cable.
- Picking a 4K TV? Read our expertly curated 4K TV buying guide.
Next up, you'll need to up your Netflix plan from the base-level, one screen in SD streaming plan to the highest-tier, four screens at Ultra HD plan. A few words of warning: Jumping up to the highest tier is going to cost you about and additional $4 (or £2). But trust me, it's worth it. (You can check which plan you currently have by going to Netflix.com/ChangePlans (opens in new tab).)
We're almost done. In order to get a flawless stream, however, you're going to need a solid connection to the internet. Netflix recommends 25Mbps, though going a little lower than this probably can't hurt.
You can check how fast your connection is currently by going to sites like Speedtest.net. The results should be cross-checked against your monthly cable bill to make sure you're getting what you're paying for.
Last but not least, check the options menu on Netflix to make sure playback is set on "high."
It works! Now, what can I watch?
It's no secret that Netflix has great original programming: Daredevil, House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Marco Polo – the list goes on. What you might not have known is that all of these incredible shows are available in, you guessed it, Ultra HD.
Instead of going through and listing every possible series, Netflix has a handy-dandy indicator found below every series that lets you know whether it's available to stream in 4K.
But Ultra HD content isn't just limited to TV shows. You can find a handful of UHD movies on the service as well, like World War Z, Star Trek: Into Darkness, The Avengers, Skyfall, Philadelphia, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Smurfs 2, Jerry Maguire and Ghostbusters. There aren't a lot of options, I'll admit, but this is just the beginning.
What about Amazon Prime Instant Video? Does that offer 4K streaming?
You bet your pixels it does. Amazon Prime TV shows and movies available in 4K will have a small blue sash in the top left corner of the box art that says "Ultra HD."
You'll know you're getting a 4K stream when you see "Ultra HD" in the browser window. (Again, don't forget to connect your devices via an HDCP-compliant HDMI cable.)
If you don't know where to get started, check out shows like Transparent, Alpha House, Mozart in the Jungle and Orphan Black, three of which are available only on Amazon Prime.
That's it! That's all you need to know about getting 4K video on Netflix.
- Check out the best shows on Amazon Prime Instant Video!