Second season of Netflix's House of Cards will stream in 4K... sometimes

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Netflix has significant plans for 4K in 2014 and we should find out more details about the service’s first UltraHD efforts in January during the Consumer Electronics Show. Several television manufacturers will announce UltraHD Smart TVs loaded with a Netflix app capable of delivering House of Cards season 2 in 4K, Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt recently told Stuff.

Yes, House of Cards season 2 in 4K.

Hunt’s comments to Stuff follow statements the Netflix exec made to Maclean’s in November. Hunt told the Canadian news magazine that Netflix was shooting House of Cards Season 2 in 4K and that the company planned to add 4K content to its catalog during the first half of 2014.

Netflix started offering sample 4K video clips in November to 4K TV owners.

No 4k quality for all

When the popular series featuring Kevin Spacey returns in February, it appears it won’t be available in 4K via set-top boxes or PCs—bad news for anyone who’s looking for ways to use an UltraHD PC monitor from the likes of Asus,Dell, or Sharp.

Early adopters that already have a 4K TV at home will probably be out of luck as well. Stuff’s report suggests that only the UltraHD TVs announced during CES will be able to stream House of Cards in 4K. Hunt blamed the restricted 4K Netflix debut on a lack of standards for 4K delivery, which could be a veiled suggestion that the DRM Netflix uses to copy-protect content is not 4K ready.

Netflix was unavailable for comment at the time of this writing.

Netflix plans on using the emerging HEVC codec to deliver 4K data to subscribers’ homes. Broadcasters are testing out the same compression method for 4K cable delivery that will work in combination with HDMI 2.0 to send the new high-definition signal from cable boxes to 4K TVs. IDG News took a look at HEVC-HDMI 2.0 UltraHD delivery in September, reporting that HDMI 2.0 could deliver 4K at up to 60 frames per second.

You may not be watching NBC and HBO in 4K anytime soon, but the UltraHD push from Netflix (and Amazon) in 2014 helps solve one of the biggest hurdles facing 4K adoption: The general lack of 4K content.

It just might make a 4K television worth buying next year—at least if you're a loaded House of Cards fan.

Speaking of televisions, LG and Samsung have some 4K whoppers planed for CES 2014. The two electronics rivals plan on debuting separate 105-inch UHD TVs in January. Both sets will be curved and feature 5120-by-2160 resolution with a 21:9 aspect ratio.

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