Why aren't Netflix's Marvel shows available in 4K on Disney Plus?

A promotional image of Charlie Cox's Daredevil in the Netflix Marvel show of the same name
Daredevil and company aren't available to stream in 4K on Disney Plus. (Image credit: Marvel Television)

Disney has revealed why the Netflix Marvel shows launched without 4K and Dolby Atmos support on Disney Plus.

With Netflix's Marvel TV series migrating to Disney Plus on March 16, fans had been looking forward to streaming Daredevil, Jessica Jones and company with the best picture and sound quality possible. However, many were left disappointed when they opened Disney's streaming platform to find that the six former Netflix shows are only available in HD with Dolby 5.1 audio support.

Frustrated by the move, fans took to social media – including Reddit and Twitter – to voice their displeasure. Given that most of the Marvel movies are available to stream in IMAX Enhanced mode, and MCU shows including Loki are viewable in 4K, this seems like an oversight on Disney's part.

We reached out to Disney directly to find out why the Netflix Marvel shows had not launched with 4K and Dolby Atmos support. And, while Disney declined to provide an official statement, the world-renowned entertainment corporation told TechRadar that there was one major reason why all six series weren't yet available in UHD.

In order to release the shows as early as possible on Disney Plus, the decision was taken to add Netflix's Defenders-Verse – now known as The Defenders Saga – to the streaming service with HD/SDR support only. 

Disney added that it would introduce full UHD/4K and Dolby Atmos support soon, but declined to offer a concrete launch date for these features. It seems that this is the company's official line on the matter, too, with the Disney Plus Help Twitter account offering a similar response to online fan queries:

Analysis: when will Netflix's Marvel shows get 4K support on Disney Plus?

Jessica Jones sits on the subway in the first season of her Netflix Marvel show

Yes, Jessica, Netflix's Marvel shows will be available in UHD on Disney Plus soon. (Image credit: Netflix)

It's unclear when the Netflix Marvel shows will finally receive 4K and Dolby Atmos support, but we don't suspect it'll be a long wait. Such features are already available on numerous Disney Plus Originals, including The Mandalorian and Hawkeye. And we'd be shocked if upcoming shows like Obi-Wan Kenobi and Moon Knight aren't similarly supported.

It'll be interesting to see if any other non-Marvel Studios productions will follow suit, too. Currently, movies starring Marvel characters like Deadpool and Wolverine – who aren't part of the MCU yet – haven't been made available to stream on Disney Plus. Given that Disney owns the rights to these characters again following its acquisition of 21st Century Fox in March 2019, though, non-MCU films including the X-Men movies should work their way to Disney Plus in time.

If they do, we'll be curious to learn if Deadpool 1 and 2, plus Fox's X-Men flicks, are made available in 4k/UHD as soon as they land on Disney's streaming service. If they are supported from the get go, it'll make Disney's decision to release the Netflix Marvel shows without 4K and Dolby Atmos support all the more baffling.

For more Marvel-based content, check out the Ms Marvel release date and trailer announcement (if you somehow missed it). And read up on what we consider to be the 30 best superhero movies of all time.

Senior Entertainment Reporter

As TechRadar's senior entertainment reporter, Tom covers all of the latest movies, TV shows, and streaming service news that you need to know about. You'll regularly find him writing about the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Star Wars, Netflix, Prime Video, Disney Plus, and many other topics of interest.

An NCTJ-accredited journalist, Tom also writes reviews, analytical articles, opinion pieces, and interview-led features on the biggest franchises, actors, directors and other industry leaders. You may see his quotes pop up in the odd official Marvel Studios video, too, such as this Moon Knight TV spot.

Away from work, Tom can be found checking out the latest video games, immersing himself in his favorite sporting pastime of football, reading the many unread books on his shelf, staying fit at the gym, and petting every dog he comes across. Got a scoop, interesting story, or an intriguing angle on the latest news in entertainment? Feel free to drop him a line.