In January, however, TV manufacturers dumped their 3D TV experiment and began moving to what the industry called Ultra HD. That’s generally considered to be video at a 3840-by-2160 resolution (which defines video by the number of horizontal pixels, rather than the vertical pixels used by 1080p). Netflix appears to be preparing to shift to the next-gen technology, too, according to a GigaOm report.
It’s unclear how much bandwidth 4K will use. Super HD requires bandwidth between 5 Mbps and 7 Mbps. By next year, however, development of a new video codec called HEVC or H.265 should help immensely, as it reportedly halves the bitrate of H.264 video without a noticeable loss of image quality.
The clips that Netflix has put up for viewing aren’t movies, per se, but just test clips showing off a number of scenes. Note that if Netflix doesn’t think that your bandwidth connection will support it, you won’t receive the clips in their 4K goodness; our rather pedestrian office connection at IDG’s TechHive world headquarters generated video that was rather granular and ugly. With streaming video, it’s definitely a case of “your mileage may vary.”