Netflix predicts 4K streaming within the next two years

Ultra HD streaming may be possible before supported TVs are affordable
Ultra HD streaming may be possible before supported TVs are affordable

Netflix expects to be at the forefront of 4K video, claiming that it will likely begin 4K streaming in one or two years.

Neil Hunt, Netflix's chief product officer, recently said that despite the hurdles of streaming 4K content, he expects Netflix to overcome those issues relatively soon.

"Clearly we have much work to do with the compression and decode capability, but we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies and then over time become an important source of 4K," Hunt told The Verge in an interview.

"4K will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else," he added.

4K streaming is in the cards

According to Hunt, cable providers and the film industry will have a tougher time adapting to 4K content than streaming providers like Netflix.

"Streaming will be the best way to get the 4K picture into people's homes. That's because of the challenges involved in upgrading broadcast technologies and the fact that it isn't anticipated within the Blu-ray disc standard."

As an example of Netflix's preparation for 4K video, Hunt revealed that much of the Netflix exclusive series House of Cards was filmed in 4K.

"To that point, our own original House of Cards was shot in 4K. It's being mastered in full HD, but the raw footage, or a good chunk of it, was shot in 4K, and we hope to have some House of Cards 4K encodes later this year."

Encoding 4K content for streaming is one thing, though Netflix will still have to contend with the limitations of internet speeds to actually stream any video in 4K.

4K video streaming may end up depending on the spread of Google Fiber and other Gigabit internet services, in which case Hunt's two year prediction is right in line with the FCC's plan to boost Gigabit adoption by 2015.