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Netflix In 4K: How Fast Does Your Internet Need to Be?

Q. I’ve been thinking of getting Netflix’s 4K plan, although I’m not sure about the new pricing. But before I get into that, I’m also not sure if my Internet service is fast enough. How fast does it have to be to watch something in 4K? — Jennifer, Laurel, Maryland. 

Jennifer, for starters, Netflix’s ‘Premium’ plan, which costs $15.99 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.

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— Phillip Swann

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About TV Answer Man (1613 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 In 4K: How Fast Does Your Internet Need to Be?

  1. I have been very surprised at the Netflix 4k programs. With few exceptions the quality of the video looks just like 1080. Very disappointing.

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