You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix ‘House of Cards’ Season 2 Will Stream in Ultra HD to 4K TVs

Set to announce deals with CE makers to deliver video in higher-res format -- but for now the move is largely about bragging rights

Netflix will offer the second season of “House of Cards,” the Emmy-winning political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, in 4K Ultra HD on select Internet TVs — one of a handful of titles to launch in early 2014 in the high-res format.

The move is largely a marketing gimmick for Netflix to claim bragging rights. Hardly any of its subs will be equipped to watch “HoC” in 4K: TV makers will sell just 57,000 Ultra HD televisions in 2013, according to a CEA projection.

But Netflix points out that scarcity of native 4K content has stymied sales of Ultra HD televisions, and execs argue that it’s poised to help the ecosystem take off. In a similar move, Amazon announced this week that it will shoot all original series in 4K. The Ultra HD spec provides resolution four times that of full HD 1080p, as well as enhanced color and higher frame rates.

“We’re working specifically with [director] David Fincher on ‘House of Cards’ season 2, and that’s all being shot and edited for 4K delivery,” Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt said in an interview with Stuff magazine.

SEE ALSO: Watch ‘House of Cards’ Season 2 Extended Trailer from Netflix

Second season of “House of Cards” is set to premiere Feb. 14, 2014, with all 13 episodes available at once worldwide. The first season of the political drama won three Emmy Awards: David Fincher for directing along with wins in casting and cinematography.

The video-streamer has deals with consumer-electronics companies to deliver Netflix in Ultra HD to connected TVs, which the company said will be revealed next month at the 2014 International CES trade show in Las Vegas. A Netflix rep said the 4K titles including “House of Cards” season 2 will be available when the new models of Ultra HD TVs ship in 2014.

To watch Netflix video in 4K, customers will not only need a brand-new Ultra HDTV but also a fairly robust broadband hookup. Netflix will use the H.265 compression standard, also referred to as High Efficiency Video Coding, for 4K video. HEVC is twice as efficient as the MPEG-4 H.264 Advanced Video Coding spec; still, Netflix will require an Internet connection of at least 15 megabits per second for 4K (the company expects to deliver 4K video encoded in HEVC in the 10-16 Mbps range).

With Ultra HD televisions, price has been another deal-breaker for consumers: For example, Sony Electronics’ 84-inch 4K TV is $25,000, although it also offers smaller-screen models starting at $3,000.

One big potential hurdle for Netflix’s 4K ambitions is how it will stream the higher-quality format without running into bandwidth limits. The company operates its own content-delivery network and co-locates CDN gear with some Internet service providers through its Open Connect program, but Netflix lacks direct connections with many large ISPs.

Netflix currently offers select titles in what it calls “Super HD,” comparable to Blu-ray Disc quality. Initially, those were available only to subs through ISPs that participated in Open Connect, but Netflix reversed that policy this fall. More than half of the titles on Netflix’s U.S. service are in regular HD; the company has not disclosed how many are available in Super HD.

SEE ALSO: Amazon Studios to Shoot 2014 Originals in Ultra HD, Hoping to Sell 4K TVs

Popular on Variety

More Digital

  • Patreon

    After Paying Out $1 Billion to Creators, Patreon Sets Its Sights on Europe

    Membership services startup Patreon has paid out over $1 billion to creators since its launch in 2013, the company announced Tuesday. Now, Patreon is getting ready for an international expansion, with a particular focus on Europe, Patreon’s senior vice president of product Wyatt Jenkins told Variety. In addition to the $1 billion payout milestone, Patreon [...]

  • David Nevins, President & CEO of

    CBS Creative Chief David Nevins on His Plans to Compete With HBO Max

    Appearing at Recode’s Code Media conference in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon, CBS chief creative officer David Nevins didn’t hold back criticizing one of his biggest competitors: “If you are going to put out one main product, you have to be as mainstream as you can,” Nevins said about WarnerMedia’s plans for HBO Max. Minutes [...]

  • Amazon Music Free

    Amazon Music Expands Access to Free Streaming Service, Spotify Stock Falls

    The free version of Amazon’s music-streaming service is now available across more platforms, bolstering competition with Spotify’s free tier. Starting Monday, Amazon said, customers can now listen to Amazon Music’s ad-supported selection of top playlists and thousands of stations for free. It’s available to anyone in the U.S., U.K. and Germany who doesn’t have a [...]

  • John T. Stankey WarnerMedia CEO

    WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey on Early Disney Plus Success: 'Good for Them'

    WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey told the audience of Recode’s Code Media conference in Los Angeles Monday that Disney “did a good job” with Disney Plus, which announced that it reached 10 million sign-ups the day after the service’s launch. “Good for them,” Stankey said. “They are off to a good start.” However, he also cautioned [...]

  • Google Stadia

    Google Stadia Reviews: Game-Streaming Service Not Ready for Primetime

    The first takes on Google Stadia, the internet giant’s new game-streaming service that debuts Nov. 19, are out. And the consensus is that Stadia is needed more time in the oven before it was served up to the gaming crowd. Google’s big promise with Stadia is that players can access top-tier game titles without a [...]

  • 60 Minutes" reporter Lara Logan takes

    Lara Logan Will Host Fox Nation Documentary Series

    Lara Logan made a name for herself by reporting from global trouble spots for CBS News. Soon, she will be holding forth on a four-part docuseries for Fox Nation, the Fox News streaming-video service. Logan will present “No Agenda,” which will debut in January on Fox Nation, and is produced by Warm Springs Productions. She [...]

  • warnermedia lab hires

    WarnerMedia Hires Jeremy Toeman, Matthew Davis as Innovation Lab Execs (EXCLUSIVE)

    WarnerMedia is building out the leadership of its Innovation Lab: The AT&T-owned media company has hired Jeremy Toeman as vice president, technology and product, and Matthew Davis as vice president, creative. Both will be based in New York and report to WarnerMedia executive vice president Jesse Redniss, who is also the general manager of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content