Netflix goes HDR for sharper streaming

Netflix gets on board with HDR to bring you new shows in vastly improved picture quality…

14 Jan 2016


If you followed our CES coverage, you’ll know that one of the biggest trends to hit the tech world in 2016 is high dynamic range – or HDR – TV. For all the details on HDR tech at CES, see our HDR lands at CES article.

Now Netflix is set to bring you a host of shows to watch on your HDR-compatible TV. Chief executive Reed Hastings has announced the streaming service will start offering HDR content later this year.

Speaking at CES in Las Vegas, he said viewers would be treated to a ‘visceral sensation that’s pretty amazing’. In other words – Netflix fans will soon be able to enjoy a huge range of shows and films in better quality than ever before


Films and TV

There’s plenty of great content on the way to make the switch to HDR worth your while.

One of the first programmes to be given the HDR treatment will be the drama series Marco Polo, about the famous explorer’s years in the court of Kublai Khan. 

With its sweeping, epic shots of rural China and its thrilling action scenes, it’s sure to make for an enthralling viewing experience. By adding even more detail to your screen, HDR also promises to make addictive shows like Breaking Bad even more compelling viewing.

It will add extra realism to those scenes set in the New Mexico desert, while also making the explosions and shoot-outs even more gripping.

But it’s not only your favourite series that you’ll be able to enjoy in vastly improved picture quality.

Big name blockbusters like Skyfall and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon could be given the HDR treatment, while there are also plans to shoot future movies in the new format.

House of Cards on NetflixCredit: Netflix

Boosting image quality

The technology works with 4K TV, which increases the number of pixels on your screen. Discover more about how HDR can enhance your viewing experience in our What is HDR TV? article.

But instead of altering the quantity, HDR boosts the quality of pixels, making whites appear whiter and blacks look deeper and more vibrant. This means that you get a picture that’s much more true to life – made with many more shades of brightness and even more detail.

One downside, though, is that the tech calls for more data than many TVs can currently supply.


The rise of HDR

But a growing number of TV companies are starting to back the tech – with the likes of Samsung, LG, Sony and Panasonic all making big HDR announcements at this year’s CES.

And as Amazon has already started offering HDR content, there’s really no denying it’s the next big thing to hit our screens. Its Instant Video streaming service launched in HDR last year – allowing viewers to stream the first series of Mozart In The Jungle in the new format.

The pilot episode of another of its original series – the comedy Red Oaks – was also being offered in HDR.


HDR, it seems, is here to stay.

Make sure you’re up to date with the exciting announcements made at CES.