A tip-off from Fox News has led to the discovery that not all Ultra High Definition Televisions (UHD TVs) can run Netflix 4K videos.
These UltraHD TVs come with built-in HEVC decoders and therefore are expected to play all videos with 4K resolution. High Efficiency Video Coding or HEVC, formerly called H.265, is a video compression standard, used to send 4K videos that occupy too much of space, via existing broadband networks with low speed of 15 to 16 Mbps.
The revelation included UHD TV sets made by some of the biggest television makers including LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony, which could play 4K videos such as “Smurfs 2” and “Ghostbusters” without a hitch. However, the stumble turned out on Panasonic’s TC-58AX800U, which couldn’t stream Netflix content with 4K resolution.
Netflix passes on its own certification program to TV set makers so that they receive Netflix 4K videos. And the American Internet-media provider’s certification program considers certain factors such as the picture quality, presence of HEVC decoder and fact whether the TV and its HEVC chipset can support a wide range of colors or not.
Manufacturers can put up their TV sets on sale even before receiving a passed Netflix certificate as the software can be updated for 4K video streams. However, in case the certification fails, the televisions cannot play Netflix 4K streams.
The Panasonic’s TC-58AX800U TV set tested here holds an HEVC chipset, which doesn’t meet the Netflix’s certification requirements.
Later this summer, the Japanese TV maker Panasonic plans to launch AX900 series, hopefully with support for Netflix 4K videos.