Netflix has expanded its relatively small 4K lineup with the addition of AMC hit original series Breaking Bad in the eye-popping Ultra HD format.
“Breaking Bad now streaming in Ultra HD 4K everywhere @netflix is available,” Netflix spokesman Joris Evers announced Monday on Twitter. All 62 episodes, distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, are now on offer in 4K.
Early on, access is limited to connected TVs that support Netflix in 4K and HEVC/H.265 decoding capabilities. At the International CES confab in January, Netflix announced it would launch a 4K streaming app on new sets from Sony, LG Electronics, Vizio and Samsung Electronics that can decode those signals without specialized, separate streaming devices.
In April, Netflix charged out of the Ultra HD gate with access to season two of House of Cards in 4K and a small slate of nature documentaries from Moving Art. Those titles, plus Breaking Bad episodes, are now being offered via Netflix's global 4K catalog.
Netflix is adding a few more 4K movies for U.S. subscribers, Evers said in an email, noting that 4K versions of Smurfs 2, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 will be joining the streamer's Ultra HD mix later this month.
Update: Kevin McEntee, Netflix’s VP, digital supply chain expanded on the company’s latest 4K moves in this post on the Netflix tech blog, noting that the streaming giant and Sony agreed to an early subset of IMF (Interoperable Master Format) for the transfer of the video and audio filed for Breaking Bad. IMF is “an emerging SMPTE specification governing file formats and metadata for digital media archiving and B2B exchange,” McEntee wrote, adding that such building blocks are poised to improve the efficiency, accuracy and scale of the global digital supply chain.
In the U.S. cable operator realm, Comcast is preparing to launch of a 4K VOD app that's expected to debut later this year on new Samsung 4K TVs, and deliver content over the customer’s high-speed Internet connection. The operator is also developing next-gen boxes for its X1 platform that use HEVC and can decode native 4K signals. Comcast’s current-gen boxes for X1 will be capable of delivering 1080p HD that can be unconverted by Ultra HD TV sets.