Can I Watch Netflix In 4K Without a Cable Box?

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Q. I saw on Comcast’s web site that I can now watch Netflix in 4K on Comcast. I have a Sony 4K TV. My question is do I need the Comcast video set-top, which I now have but would like to get rid of, or can I watch Netflix in 4K without the set-top? — Lucy, Gaithersburg, Maryland. 

This is a trick question, Lucy, because it has two answers!

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One, Comcast does offer Netflix (all programming, including its 4K lineup) as an app along with YouTube, Amazon Prime Video and several others. The apps can be found in Comcast’s On Demand menu. To watch the apps, you need a Comcast set-top, and a Comcast Internet service. And to watch one of those apps in 4K, including Netflix, you’ll need that Internet service along with a Comcast set-top that supports 4K programming.

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However, if you are simply looking to watch Netflix in 4K, regardless of the platform (Comcast, in this case), you can do away with the set-top and just get Comcast’s Internet service (or any high-speed Internet service). Then, using the cable op’s Internet service, you could watch Netflix in 4K on a streaming device such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, or a Smart TV that carries the Netflix app.

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So, bottom line, you could cut the cord (if that’s your intention) and still watch Netflix in 4K.

Last note: Netflix says you need an Internet service that offers speed on average of 25 Mbps to watch 4K programming without significant buffering. That doesn’t mean the service offers speed up to 25 Mbps; it has to deliver that rate almost all the time. So you might want to subscribe to a service that promises speeds up to 50 Mbps or more to ensure that you will meet the 25 Mbps threshold on average. Internet speeds vary from time to time so a service offering at least 50 Mbps should give you at least 25 Mbps on most occasions.

Lucy, hope that helps. Happy viewing!

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