Netflix is a godsend for laggards who prefer to marathon a whole TV series in a weekend rather than wait for it to air episode-by-episode, particularly now that the hit show "Breaking Bad" is available in its entirety. Those with 4K TVs have it even better, as Netflix can now stream all of "Breaking Bad" at 4K (aka UHD) resolution.
The announcement came from Netflix's tech blog, which explained that all 61 episodes of the acclaimed drama are available for 4K streaming right now, provided that you have a TV that supports them. Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company behind "Breaking "Bad," will also be working with Netflix to refine and reinforce its 4K infrastructure. By standardizing a format for 4K streaming files, Netflix and Sony will be able to make the necessary coding easier, and speed up the process by which 4K content can get from a TV or movie studio to Netflix's streaming queue.
Even if you have one of the new TVs that support Netflix's 4K format (Netflix offers a list of compatible TVs (opens in new tab) on its website), streaming in full 4K resolution is no mean feat. You'll need Netflix's default HD plan from Netflix ($7.99/month for current members or $8.99 for new ones), so don't worry too much about this. In addition, you need a "High" streaming quality setting in your Netflix options (this is also easy to adjust) and a steady Internet connection of at least 25 Mbps. The last element is the rub; the average broadband speed in the United States hovers around 10 Mbps.
It's also worth noting that "Breaking Bad" has only ever aired at 4K resolution through Sony's own 4K televisions before. Users with certain Sony TVs could download the episodes, although this marks the first time that Sony users can stream them, or non-Sony users can watch them in 4K at all.
Not every 4K TV support the stream; codecs to stream Netflix at this definition are not universal, and require very specific hardware. If you connect to streaming services via a Roku, Chromecast, Xbox One, PS4 or other conventional streaming device, your resolution will max out at 1080p.
"Breaking Bad" joins the second season of the American "House of Cards" remake to represent the only 4K TV shows available on Netflix. In terms of movies, Netflix hosts the "Moving Art" documentary series, "Smurfs 2," "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters 2" in 4K. All of these movies are also Sony properties.
Even though you almost need to be an artisanal meth cook to afford a 4K TV and an Internet connection to stream 4K content to it, it's still good to see more content available for the platform. At present, pickings are still a bit slim.