Good news for those who own or are thinking of buying an HDR-capable UHD TV. Until now, there haven't been a lot of movies and TV shows that actually make use of 4K resolution and high-dynamic range. But Netflix says that by August it will offer 100 hours of that content, and that the tally will grow to 150 hours by the end of the year.
While 4K televisions have been around for several years, the big technological push by TV makers this year is toward high dynamic range technology (HDR), which can greatly improve the contrast between the lightest and darkest images on the screen. TVs with HDR can produce brighter, more realistic images, with vibrant colors closer to what you see in real life—as long as the sets have 4k content with HDR to play.
Netflix has already started rolling out some of these shows. Earlier this month, the company quietly began showing the first season of its original series, "Marco Polo" in 4K with HDR, and it will be joined by the second season in June. The 4K HDR version of another original series, "Daredevil," will follow.
There are two different versions of HDR, and Netflix is supporting both. As we've noted previously, HDR10 is an open standard that's being supported by nearly all the TV manufacturers that offer HDR. Dolby Vision, a proprietary format developed by Dolby that's being positioned as a premium HDR experience, can be found in some TVs from LG and Vizio. (Those sets can or will also support HDR10.)
Among the titles that Netflix will offer in both Dolby Vision and HDR10 are "A Series of Unfortunate Events," "Bloodline," "Chef’s Table," "Hibana," "Knights of Sidonia," "Marvel’s Daredevil," "Marvel’s Iron Fist," "Marvel’s Jessica Jones," "Marvel’s Luke Cage," "Marvel’s The Defenders," "The Do-Over," and "The Ridiculous Six."
To watch any of this 4K content with HDR, you'll need a 4K UHD TV with HDR capability, plus a $12-per-month Netflix Premium subscription plan, which includes 4K streaming. You'll also need to have a relatively fast broadband connection: Netflix recommends a speed of at least 25Mbps. But the company says you can still enjoy HDR even if your broadband speed only allows 1080p resolution.
We're looking forward to checking out 4K streaming videos with Dolby Vision and HDR10 HDR technology on some of the new 2016 4K UHD TVs. Keep checking back for all our streaming and TV updates.
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