Don't go in blind. Here's what you need to stream Netflix in 4K.
If you’ve signed up to Netflix Australia, you would have noticed the ultra HD (UHD) option in its premium package. Ultra HD? Sounds awesome. Sign me up.
Unfortunately, there are a few obstacles between you and ultra HD streaming, and some of them can be quite pricey. This is everything you’ll need to begin streaming Netflix Australia in ultra HD.
A 4K television. It might be obvious to some, but yes, you are going to need a 4K-ready television to make the most of the premium Netflix package. In 2015, 4K televisions became all the rage, much like the curved screens and 3D TVs before them. Today, you can get 4K televisions from as low as $539 (42 inch Agora 4K Smart LED TV from Kogan), though anything of higher quality is likely to hurt your wallet.
While streaming in 4K is the future, it's not the only reason to purchase a 4K television. The latest consoles, like the PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One S, allow you to play games in 4K (native for the PS4 Pro and upscaled for the Xbox One S).
Can your broadband handle it?
To be honest, probably not. Ultra HD streaming requires a steady 25Mbps. The problem is, most Australians would scoff at a 25Mbps connection, because 25Mbps is the absolute maximum speed ADSL2+ can reach. If you don't live a stone’s throw away from the exchange (and your Wi-Fi is running nothing but ultra HD Netflix) you’re pretty much out of luck – unless you’re one of the lucky few who already have NBN installed at their address. Not sure whether you're eligible for NBN? Check your address with our NBN tracker.
If you're hooked up to NBN, then you should have absolutely no problem streaming ultra HD Netflix.
Alright, so you’ve hooked yourself up with a 4K TV and NBN and you’re kicking back enjoying 25/5 speeds. Before you get too comfortable, we need to talk about data usage.
How much data does your Internet service provider (ISP) give you every month? Because if you’re streaming ultra HD Netflix, it better be a lot.
Ultra HD Netflix streaming uses an estimated 7GB per hour. That is massive. If you watch 1.5 hours of Netflix every night, that’s 325.5GB per month. Taking into account data usage for general browsing and other downloads, you’re going to want a minimum of 500GB per month. How much is that going to cost you? Roughly $60 per month. Here are a few providers who offer Tier 2 500GB plans at a reasonable price.
Your TV must have HDCP 2.2
If you’ve got either a 5K iMac or a 4K PC monitor, you could be thinking "why would I need a smart TV?" Well, if you really want to watch Netflix in UHD, you may still have to fork out the extra cash for a 4K-enabled smart TV. This is because not all 4K devices have high-bandwidth digital content protection 2.2 (HDCP).
HDCP protects digital copyrighted content as it streams from the Netflix servers to your TV. The reason Netflix restricts the usage of 4K content on PCs and Macs is simple, even a little bit petty.
Because PCs and Macs can be used to record, edit and potentially distribute streamed media, they are restricted from streaming in 4K. Netflix sees it as an insecure platform from their end, one that they don’t want to share their carefully controlled content with.
So, how can you watch Netflix Australia in full-blown UHD? With the brands listed below:
- LG TV, Blu-ray player or set-top box
- Panasonic TV or Blu-ray player
- Samsung TV or Blu-ray player
- Sharp TV or Blu-ray player
- Sony TV or Blu-ray player
- Vizio TV or Blu-ray player
- Toshiba TV or Blu-ray player
Our verdict: What you need to stream Netflix Australia in 4K
4K seems like a huge hurdle just for the crispest rendition of Kevin Spacey’s menacing mug available, but with 4K console gaming now in full swing, a 4K TV purchase is looking like a more sensible investment. Here's what you will need to get set up:
- A preferred 25/5Mbps NBN connection (check your address here)
- A minimum data allowance of 500GB per month (compare broadband plans)
- A premium Netflix Australia membership ($14.99 with access to four screens)
- A 4K smart TV with HDCP 2.2