4K is the next generation standard of high definition programming, offering a massive increase in resolution compared to previous HD standards like 720p and 1080p. Think of 4K as ultra-high definition TV viewing. Please read on to learn more about 4K, including availability, benefits and how to watch 4K programming in your home.
What is 4K?
4K, also known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), is a standard of resolution for both content (such as TV and movies) and the screens that display that content (your television or computer monitor). With the advent of HD programming, consumers were offered 720p, then 1080p and now 4K UHD (compared in the graphic below). 1080p is standard high definition and 4K is essentially four times the resolution of 1080p, offering a vastly more detailed image.
The best 4K content (just as with 1080p) is captured with a 4K camera and played on a 4K screen. The resolution refers to the number of tiny pixels in the screen of your television, the more pixels, the more detailed the image on the screen. As 4K UHD is simply more resolution, any 4K television will be compatible with legacy specifications like 1080p/720p and with non-4K equipment like HD cable boxes, DVD players and video game consoles.
While there are a handful of other resolution standards surrounding 4K (like 4K DCI or 5K), from the standpoint of currently available consumer televisions, 4K UHD is the top specification.
How to watch 4k content
First, you'll need a 4K compatible television. While many new TVs offer the 4K compatibility, there are still televisions on sale today that offer a maximum resolution of 1080p HD or even 720p. Please refer to your televisions user guide to discover the screen's maximum resolution.
Netflix on BlueCurve TV
4K (Ultra HD) content is available with Netflix on BlueCurve TV. To view 4K Netflix shows on BlueCurve TV, it is required to have:
If you have a 4K television that offers "smart TV" features, content can be readily found using the YouTube or Netflix apps included with the TV. On YouTube, 4K is called "2160p", and on Netflix it's called "Ultra HD".
While accessibility of content shot in 4K (native 4K programming) is still very limited, more and more solutions will be available in the coming years, including 4K Blu-ray players, 4K cable channels and more.
4k streaming and bandwidth usage
Streaming 4K UHD content requires a great deal of internet bandwidth. Netflix requires an internet connection with speeds of at least 25 megabits per second and with high speeds come high bandwidth usage, with netflix estimating that 1 hour of Ultra HD programming will account for up to 7 GB of bandwidth.
Does Shaw provide 4k service?
Shaw does not currently provide any 4K channels or services. However, 4K content is available with Netflix on BlueCurve TV--see the How to watch 4K content section above for more information.