There's little doubt that the major story of CES 2013 has been Ultra High Definition (UHD), the name attached to what many still call 4K video. Every major manufacturer has a range of TVs featuring the higher resolution of 3840 x 2160, some LED some even OLED. However, the big question has been, "Will there be any content to play on it?"
This is where, Netflix, among other content providers, comes in. Hidden in between massive tellies lurked a demo of 4K UHD streaming. It's the result of a partnership between Netflix and Samsung and, we have to say, it looks very promising.
A Samsung UHDTV was running what was claimed to be streamed 4K video. Unfortunately, there was no indication of how it was being streamed - whether through the internet or a direct line to Netflix - but the quality of the content was as impressive as much of the native video being played on UHDTVs elsewhere on the stand.
There was no audio, which helps. The new codec of H.265 is claimed to allow for further file size compression of 40-50 per cent more than H.264 video, with no loss in picture quality. It can ensure UHD images are streamed efficiently using existing bandwidth, but streaming 5.1 or 7.1 audio will still take up as much bandwidth as before. So file sizes will naturally be larger, with all things considered.
For those who already get low bit rates on Netflix video, this isn't going to be a technology for you, at least for a while. Mind you, by the time bandwidth issues are resolved, 4K UHDTVs might actually be affordable.
As a proof of concept, though, this Netflix demo sure does get us excited.