A 17.7-Gigabyte copy of “Breaking Bad” season one, episode one encoded in 4K format showed up on private torrent trackers Thursday, according to a report by piracy news site TorrentFreak. Variety could not confirm whether it is still available to download or verify the authenticity of the pirated copy.
Netflix did not respond to requests for comment. The company said it is investigating the “Breaking Bad” leak, according to TorrentFreak.
“Breaking Bad,” produced by Sony Pictures Television, is one of the few titles Netflix offers in Ultra HD, which provides four times the resolution of standard 1080p HD and a richer color palette. Netflix last year added all 62 episodes in Ultra HD of the critically acclaimed drama starring Bryan Cranston as a chemistry teacher-turned-meth kingpin.
Netflix secures Ultra HD using the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) standard, which encrypts content between a device and TV typically through an HDMI connection. It’s not clear whether hackers figured out a way to defeat Netflix’s implementation of HDCP or if they ripped the file using some other mechanism.
To access Ultra HD content on Netflix, customers must sign up for the “family” plan at $11.99 monthly, which allows simultaneous streaming of up to four programs. The streamer’s limited selection of 4K titles also includes “House of Cards” and “The Blacklist” and as well as Sony movies “Smurfs 2,” “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters 2.”
Netflix’s 4K content is available through select models of Ultra HD TVs, including those from LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio.