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Netflix's 'House of Cards' makes power play for 4K TV

Jan. 6, 2014 at 12:55 PM ET

'House of Cards' will be streamed in 4K, Netflix announced Monday at CES.
Netflix
'House of Cards' will be streamed in 4K, Netflix announced Monday at CES.

Finally, a chance to see Kevin Spacey's smirk in four times the detail. On Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings announced that the second season of "House of Cards" would stream in 4K.

Once the new season premieres on Feb. 14, only owners of certain LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio Internet-enabled TVs will be able to watch the political thriller in its highest resolution. While you should be excited about the show regardless of what kind of TV you own, early-adopters should be especially pleased with this announcement. 

Also known as ultra-high definition (UHD), 4K is the general term for resolution that is four times that of regular 1080p HD. The technology has been around for a while, but it hasn't found its way into most living rooms because:

  • It has been difficult to find a 4K TV for under $3,000.
  • Even if you splurge on a fancy new TV, few companies make 4K content. Why spend all of that money only to watch shows in 1080p HD? 

This Netflix announcement could signify a shift in 4K adoption, especially paired with YouTube's announcement that it also plans to start streaming in 4K.

More TV companies are also getting into the game. On Monday, Vizio announced a new line of 4K TVs ranging from 50 to 70 inches. No prices were shared, but considering Vizio's successful strategy of under-cutting giants like Samsung, it's a good sign that the technology could be entering the mainstream soon. Polaroid — which, yes, makes TVs — also announced a 4K TV set. The appeal? It's selling for the relatively low price of $1,000.

Yes, it's only one Netflix show, available for 4K streaming only to a tiny minority of TV owners. But it's a mainstream, buzzed-about show that should attract more 4K customers than ultra-high definition cat videos on YouTube. 


Keith Wagstaff writes about technology for NBC News. He previously covered technology for TIME's Techland and wrote about politics as a staff writer at TheWeek.com. You can follow him on Twitter at @kwagstaff and reach him by email at: Keith.Wagstaff@nbcuni.com

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