Are you looking to stream Netflix in crisp and clear 4K? There’s a plethora of Ultra HD content to enjoy right now, including Blue Planet II, Roma, Stranger Things, Black Mirror and so much more. However, you must have the right equipment, account and internet if you want to get started!
For clarification, 4K and Ultra HD are basically the same thing. It's currently the highest resolution that your screen is likely to have, with four times as many pixels as HD (hence the "4" in the name). It's the type of resolution that you'll see in most mainstream cinemas today.
What do I need to watch 4K content on Netflix?
Before you start searching for all that juicy 4K content, you’ll need to ensure that you have the following four things:
- A 60Hz 4K TV that is capable of streaming Netflix
- A streaming device that allows for 4K content
- A strong internet connection speed of 25Mb/s or higher
- A Netflix plan that allows you to stream 4K
- That your streaming quality is set to auto or high
Is my TV compatible for 4K content?
So what exactly are the technical requirements that you’ll need? Besides obviously having a 4K TV, you’ll need to ensure that your TV has a HDMI cable and port that is HDCP 2.2 certified. You should be able to find this information in your user manual or on the manufacturer’s website. If you’re looking for a cheatsheet, then Netflix has very handily provided a full list of compatible devices on their website that they update on a regular basis.
As a note, this article covers watching content from televisions only. If you’re looking to consume Ultra HD on your PC or laptop, then check out our guide to streaming 4K Netflix on your computer. You can also see our top picks of smart TVs (including 4K) for 2019 right here.
What streaming device do I need?
If you're watching from a 4K TV, the likelihood is that this will be a smart TV, and thereby you'll be able to access Netflix directly from the home menu. However, if you prefer to watch Netflix via a streaming box or device - such as an Amazon Fire Stick or your games console - you'll need to ensure that this device is capable of streaming Ultra HD.
For example, the PlayStation 4 Pro is capable of streaming 4K, but the standard and slim versions are not. Similarly, the Amazon Fire Stick 4K is, whilst the Amazon Fire Stick is not, and the same with Apple TV 4K and Apple TV. Nine times out of ten "4K" will be in the title of the product, or in the headline description.
Again, you can find a full list of all the compatible devices on the Netflix website. If you're looking to invest in a new streaming device, take a look at our top picks of media streaming boxes for your TV.
How can I check my internet connection?
Now you’ve got the TV, you need the internet speed to match it. The recommended speed for smooth streaming in Ultra HD from Netflix is 25Mb/s, with a higher number being preferable. Anything lower than that and you may encounter a lot of buffering issues. For a stronger connection, you may want to consider an ethernet connection as opposed to just relying on the Wi-Fi, as 4K eats up a lot of data. This basically means that you'll connect your streaming device directly to your router via an ethernet cable.
If you aren’t sure what speed your broadband is at, we advise visiting SpeedTest.Net and using the eponymous diagnosis program.
Do I have the right Netflix plan?
Unfortunately, the basic plan will only allow you access to standard definition (SD) content. To watch in 4K, you’ll have to upgrade to Netflix’s premium plan, which is currently priced at £11.99/$16.00 per month. This plan will also give you access to a whole host of perks, see full details below:
Is my streaming quality set right?
Ultra HD requires the streaming quality to be set to high, which will in most cases appear as auto if you’re watching from a 4K television with a strong internet connection. You can double check your streaming quality by firstly heading into the account tab, then clicking on "Playback settings" under the "My Profile" section. The screen should look like this:
You should note that the quality which you set your videos to will affect the amount of data that you use. If for whatever reason you’re looking to conserve your data, then you’ll have to switch down to a lower setting. However, this will then mean that your content will not appear in 4K.
What shows and movies are available in 4K on Netflix?
Annoyingly there isn’t yet a category for 4K content on Netflix, so the process is a little more manual. Pop into the search bar and type either “4K” or “UltraHD” to see what’s available. You’ll also be able to check whether your favourite show or film is in 4K on the title card, which is displayed above the description. Scroll to the top of this page to see an example of this highlighted in the title image of the article.