How to watch Netflix in Dolby Vision

Netflix doesn't have to look blocky or grim with the right combination of Netflix plan and TV. Here's what you need to make your next Netflix binge session really stand out.

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What is Dolby Vision?

You're almost certainly aware of Dolby in the audio world, but it has also played a key role in the development of high dynamic range (HDR) video content, especially via its own proprietary Dolby Vision HDR standard.

Any video content with HDR encoding contains information relating to the way images onscreen should be processed and displayed to the viewer. Dolby Vision's particular tweak over and above systems such as HDR10 is that it utilises dynamic metadata added on top of the base HDR image data.

HDR10 uses a global approach where the metadata applies more or less to the entire piece of content, but Dolby Vision allows for content creators to update that metadata on a scene-by-scene basis. The end result for appropriately-mastered material should be an image that is higher in detail, contrast and definition than competing standards.

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What do I need for Dolby Vision Netflix?

On the Netflix side, if you want to stream in Dolby Vision (or for that matter HDR), you'll need to be signed up to the four-screen+Ultra HD Netflix plan. The one-screen plan only supports streaming in standard definition, while the two-screen plan shifts that up to 1080p HD content. For the full 4K Dolby Vision experience, you've got to pay the premium Netflix price.

However, that's not all. You'll also need a device where you can actually view your content.

For large-screen viewing, that means a TV that supports the Dolby Vision format. In the Australian market, the following brands offer TVs with Dolby Vision support:

  • Hisense
  • LG
  • Philips
  • Sony
  • TCL
  • Vizio

If you're using your Dolby Vision certified TV – and be aware, just because it's made by the above brands doesn't mean that Dolby Vision is automatically baked in, so you do need to check – with its smart TV app, that's all you should need.

However, if you get your Netflix fix through a set-top box, that box also needs to be Dolby Vision certified. Here you've got a slightly wider range of locally-available choices:

However, just having one of those set-top boxes won't give you Dolby Vision Netflix if your TV panel doesn't support it.

Do any phones or tablets support Dolby Vision Netflix?

There are a limited number of mobile devices that include Dolby Vision support. On the smartphone front, these include:

The selection of compatible tablets is notably slimmer, spanning the following devices:

  • iPad Pro
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab S4
  • Lenovo TAB 2 A10
  • Lenovo TAB 2 A8
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What Internet speed do I need for Dolby Vision Netflix?

Dolby Vision-enabled 4K Netflix titles require a serious data pipe to stream to you, with Netflix advising a minimum recommended speed of 25Mbps downstream.

For fixed-line watching, that means that the lowest speed we'd recommend for Dolby Vision Netflix watching is an NBN Standard Plus (50/20Mbps) connection. Technically an NBN Standard (25/5) connection clears the bandwidth bar, but only if you're able to get your entire data throughput all of the time. With congestion a very real factor on the NBN, that's unlikely, which is why NBN Standard Plus is the effective low bar.

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Which Netflix titles are available in Dolby Vision?

Netflix is consistently expanding its library of titles available in Dolby Vision, but they're not always the easiest things to find. Netflix doesn't easily offer up a Dolby Vision category, but available titles (if you're browsing in a compatible device) will come up with a Dolby Vision logo next to the content, indicating that they're available to stream using the format.

You may have some luck searching for "HDR" in the Netflix search box, although that will also surface titles that just offer HDR streaming, not Dolby Vision certified content. If your viewing panel and plan support it, those titles will at least stream as HDR titles, just not with the specific enhancements that Dolby Vision brings.

Many of Netflix's Originals titles are available in Dolby Vision, especially the series based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones and The Defenders.

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