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Netflix: How Much Internet Speed Do You Need For 4K?

Q. I’ve been thinking of getting Netflix’s 4K plan. But I’m not sure if my Internet service is fast enough. How fast does it have to be to watch something in 4K? — Joy, Dover, Delaware. 

A. Joy, for starters, Netflix’s ‘Premium’ plan, which costs $13.99 a month, allows you to watch the streamer’s 4K programming on four different screens at the same time. It’s the only plan that Netflix offers that has 4K shows and movies.

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The 4K programming on the Premium plan includes such original Netflix shows as Godless, House of Cards, Stranger Things and Marvel’s The Defenders as well as programs licensed by Netflix such as Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

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Many of the 4K shows on Netflix are also available in HDR (High Dynamic Range), which can make the picture even more vivid and realistic.

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With 4K programming still limited on cable and satellite, Netflix’s 4K lineup is arguably the best available on the market.

Now, that said, Netflix advocates that your Internet speed be a minimum of 25 Mbps to watch a program in 4K. Otherwise, your show will likely experience technical hiccups, known as buffering, causing the picture to freeze or go black for a period of time.

I should also note that Netflix isn’t saying you need to subscribe to a 25 Mbps plan from your Internet provider. It means your speed should consistently be 25 Mbps. And that means you need a plan that has a higher maximum speed, such as 50 Mbps or 75 Mbps, to ensure that your viewing speed will be at least 25 Mbps most of the time.

As you probably know, the true speed of your Internet service often is significantly lower than the advertised maximum speed, particularly if you are using a WiFi system.

To learn more about Netflix’s Internet speed requirements, click here. 

Have a question about TV technology? Ask the TV Answer Man by sending an e-mail to swann@tvpredictions.com

— Phillip Swann

About TV Answer Man (1282 Articles)
The TV Answer Man is veteran journalist Phillip Swann who has covered the TV technology scene for more than two decades. He will report on the latest news and answer your questions regarding new devices and services that are changing the way you watch television.

1 Comment on Netflix: How Much Internet Speed Do You Need For 4K?

  1. Kenneth Nicholson // February 15, 2018 at 4:20 pm // Reply

    Sorry, I have not found HDR to be “even more vivid and realistic.” In fact, the opposite is true, HDR Blu-ray disks and Netflix HDR are both very dark. Fortunately, our 4K Apple TV allows us to turn the resolution down one notch to avoid HDR while showing a great 4K picture. Tried both Samsung and Sony 4K HDR Blu-ray players. Both show a very dark HDR picture. Remember when I couldn’t wait for HDR disks. Now very disappointed. Love 4K. Forget HDR. Incidentally, the cover for the just released “Wonder” 4K disk avoids mentioning HDR. No HDR sticker, simply says 4K Ultra HD. Unfortunately, HDR is still there. Picture is much brighter using the standard Blu-ray disk played in the Vivid mode on our Sony TV.

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