Talking tech since 2003

4k-videoTelevisions supporting Ultra HD, or “4K” resolution, aren’t all that affordable yet. But Netflix has been ahead of the curve with the technology, offering super-high-resolution streams for shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards.

Up to this point, any Netflix-subscriber-slash-4K-early-adopter has been able to watch these shows in all their Ultra HD glory. According to Variety, however, that is going to change.

The $8.99 individual plan, which I imagine many of you are using, will no longer host 4K streams for TV shows and movies. Instead, Netflix is reserving that content for those on the “Family Plan.” That’s the $11.99 per month tier that allows four simultaneous streams on one account.

Bottom line: if you want 4K, you’ll have to pay an extra $3 per month.

The reason for the change is actually quite simple: 4K content is more expensive for Netflix to acquire. And while the company didn’t mention it specifically, it likely costs the company more to deliver 4K TV shows and movies to customers, as higher video quality means larger file sizes and more bandwidth.

Speaking of bandwidth, if you’re dead set on paying Netflix a little extra for 4K, you’ll want to make sure your Internet download speed is at least 25 Mbps. Any slower, and you’ll find yourself sitting through an awful lot of buffering, looking at high-resolution stills instead of watching high-resolution video.

This might not affect a lot of Netflix customers right now. As I stated earlier, 4K televisions aren’t mainstream just yet, mostly because of price. In another year or two, that could change. It’ll probably be around that time that we’ll start to hear from people unhappy about the $3 price increase for 4K content.

How do you feel about Netflix putting its 4K Ultra HD streams in a higher tier? Leave us a comment below.

[Source: Variety]

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