Skip to main content

Breaking Bad Streams in 4K on Netflix

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.

MORE: Where Can You Get 4K Video?

Even if you have one of the new TVs that support Netflix's 4K format (Netflix offers a list of compatible TVs 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.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorof and on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+ 

  • sabicao
    But was it actually shot in 4k? I'm guessing it wasnt shot in film, so it must have been shot in a resolution higher than FullHD, otherwise this is pointless.
    Reply
  • dimar
    This is awesome. I guess they're using some sort of h265/HEVC codec. Hopefully Western Digital will release WD TV Live 4k UHD soon.
    I wonder if it's physically possible for Netflix to stream high frame rate movies like 4k UHD 120fps at 200Mbps or something like that.
    Reply
  • c123456
    This is awesome. I guess they're using some sort of h265/HEVC codec. Hopefully Western Digital will release WD TV Live 4k UHD soon.
    I wonder if it's physically possible for Netflix to stream high frame rate movies like 4k UHD 120fps at 200Mbps or something like that.

    The technology exists, but the failure point is residential internet. You might have a decent 100Mbs connection, but the issue becomes if 5 other people next to you have 100Mbs as well, and the pipeline going to your house only supports 500Mbs simultaneously. There's clearly a deficit here, so the ISP will throttle everyone a bit. There's no regulation preventing them from doing this either.

    Now to avoid derailing this into a thread about net neutrality: I'd really like to see this.
    Reply
  • cknobman
    Not if Verizon is your broadband provider.

    They will choke it down to barely pixelated view-able and then blame Netflix.
    Reply
  • dstarr3
    I'm glad to see that companies are really trying to push 4K into the mainstream, but there's just so much work ahead of ISPs and their technology before it's not a hugely cumbersome burden to stream that much information to that many people.

    I'm glad to see everyone's trying, but it's still just not ready yet.
    Reply
  • cats_Paw
    Problem is, even if "I have" 50 Mbps, that dosent mean that the servers that are in between me and netflix are all 50 Mbps supported "just for me".

    4K might hit mainstream faster than other technologies since this one actually makes sense, unlike 3D ...
    Reply