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 $500, though you'll still pay a premium for certain brands and sets that feature more advanced technology.
Check out our TV buying guide to find the right 4K TV for your budget.
Can your broadband handle it?
Ultra HD streaming requires a steady 25Mbps broadband connection. That's a no-go for ADSL connections, since 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.
Fortunately, there are plenty of NBN plans that offer high enough speeds to handle Ultra HD streaming. The Standard Plus (nbn50) and Premium (nbn100) speed tiers should have little trouble delivering a smooth and reliable stream at Ultra HD resolution. That said, some NBN plans are better than others, especially during the busy evening hours. To ensure you pick the right plan, check out our round-up of the fastest broadband providers for Netflix in Australia.
Speed isn't the only consideration, however. Streaming in Ultra HD uses quite a lot of data, so you need to make sure your broadband plan has a large enough data cap to handle it.
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, though ideally you'll want an unlimited data cap to save yourself the headache of excess data charges or throttling.
To find a suitable broadband plan for streaming Netflix in Ultra HD, check out our comparison of unlimited broadband plans.
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 Standard Plus or Premium speed NBN connection
- A minimum data allowance of 500GB per month
- A premium Netflix Australia membership ($17.99 with access to four screens)
- A 4K smart TV with HDCP 2.2
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