Netflix offers only a handful of titles in eye-popping Ultra HD — including the first season of NBC’s “The Blacklist” — but to watch them, subscribers will have to pay for its most expensive service tier.
New Netflix members who want access to Ultra HD must sign up for the “family” plan at $11.99 monthly, which allows simultaneous streaming of up to four programs. Previously, Netflix offered 4K content to subs of its standard plan, now $8.99 per month for new customers, which allows for two HD streams.
“We decided to move 4K UHD video into our four-stream plan for new members who sign up and care about the highest-quality video Netflix offers,” a Netflix spokesman said. “We have a modest and growing catalog of titles in 4K, including ‘House of Cards,’ ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘The Blacklist’ and a slate of upcoming Netflix original series.”
According to Netflix, the reason for the change was that producing and acquiring 4K content costs more that conventional HD, so it has repositioned Ultra HD as a premium offering.
The Ultra HD price change went into effect Aug. 12. Early adopters of 4K technology who currently are Netflix members were grandfathered indefinitely under their existing price plan.
In addition to all 62 episodes of “Breaking Bad” and “House of Cards” season two, Netflix’s Ultra HD lineup in the U.S. includes “Smurfs 2,” “Ghostbusters,” “Ghostbusters 2″ and the four-part “Moving Art” nature documentary series.
The subscription VOD company doesn’t disclose how many selections it offers in Ultra HD format, which provides four times the resolution of standard HD and richer color palette. The 4K content is available on select models of Ultra HD TVs from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio, and Netflix subs with compatible sets will see an additional row displaying 4K TV shows and movies in their on-screen menus.
In addition to paying more for Netflix service, users will need a beefy broadband connection as well: The streamer recommends an Internet connection speed of at least 25 megabits per second downstream to watch Ultra HD content.
Netflix’s rate change for Ultra HD content was reported earlier by HD Guru.