Netflix values HDR over 4K in picture quality

Netflix said it believes that High Dynamic Range will be more impressive than 4K alone, as Ultra HD TV manufacturers gear up to enter the consumer market.

HDR in video increases the quality of pixels making them brighter and sharper—the higher the dynamic range of a video, the more realistic and engaging the picture. Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix, told the Daily Telegraph that HDR will create a more noticeable difference to TV viewers than 4K alone.

"With 4K, there are enough pixels on the screen that your eyeball can’t really perceive any more detail, so now the quest for more realism turns into, can we put better pixels on the screen?" said Hunt. "I think that’s actually a more important quality improvement to get to the brightness and detail in the picture than the 4K is by itself.”

Brightness is measured in ‘nits’ and while most TVs today have a peak brightness of around 100 nits, the brightness of an HDR television is around 1,000 nits. This ten-fold increase in the brightness of the highlights on screen, Hunt believes, will have a remarkable impact on viewer experience.

"Bright white clouds still have texture on an HDR screen instead of just being a washed out white patch. More importantly you end up with reflections from water and metal and glass being very bright, and representing the shape and colour of the reflection even more accurately than previously possible," said Hunt.

Netflix is working with the newly-formed UHD Alliance to incorporate HDR into the ‘Ultra HD’ standard, along with 4K resolution and a wider colour gamut. The on-demand streaming service is producing about 60 original series in 2015 and will produce 10 series, with big- budget action content, in HDR.

DTG Staff  |  23.01.2015

Previous story  |  Next story