Netflix has quietly added an HDR upgrade for 4K TVs – read on for the full story.

Netflix Premium Enhancing user experience

Picture showing screen of Netflix

Have you recently noticed a substantial boost in Netflix’s visual quality on your 4K TV? You should have if you’re a Premium tier subscriber. According to a post on the Netflix Technology Blog, the streaming behemoth just finished a streaming catalogue upgrade aimed primarily at improving video quality for 4K HDR content. Dynamic optimization, a video encoding approach, was used to accomplish this increase.

Given the recent price increase, the timing of this upgrade is especially advantageous for Netflix Premium tier users. The Premium subscription fee has increased from $19.99 to $22.99 per month in the United States and from £15.99 to £17.99 in the United Kingdom. While the Premium tier is more expensive, Netflix remains one of the best streaming providers. The HDR upgrade intends to improve performance on the top 4K TVs, thereby relieving the financial hardship that Premium users may be suffering as a result of the recent hike in subscription fees.

From static to dynamic

While Netflix’s technical blog post has a lot of technical jargon and graphs. It plainly states that the improvements are the consequence of adopting an HDR edition of VMAF (Video Multi-method Assessment Fusion) video quality metric. The VMAF’s’ multi-method’ component includes both objective and subjective video resolution measurements, measuring aspects such as motion, visual information fidelity, and information loss.

The newly created HDR-VMAF is the result of a collaboration between Netflix and Dolby Laboratories. It entails “subjective assessments with 4K-HDR content using high-end OLED panels in regulated parameters created in participants’ homes,” according to Netflix’s article. Furthermore, HDR-VMAF is format neutral, assessing quality equally for Dolby Vision and HDR10 programs. It computes scores using an “ideal display,” which is described as “capable of displaying the entire brightness range and color”,

One notable benefit of HDR-VMAF is its involvement in easing Netflix’s transition to dynamically optimized (HDR-DO) encodes for 4K HDR video. According to a technical blog article published by Netflix, HDR-DO not only outperforms fixed-ladder encoding in terms of quality. But it is also more efficient, taking up just 58% of the identical storage space on average.

Netflix clearly summarizes the favourable consequences of HDR-VMAF and HDR-DO implementation:

  • Rebuffering events are reduce by 40%.
  • Video quality improvement for both bandwidth-restricted and unrestricted sessions.
  • Reduce the starting frequency
  • improved starting quality
  • Playback latency relimination.
  • Reduced volatility in video quality supplied
  • Reduce Internet data usage, particularly on mobile devices and tablets.

Netflix Improves HDR Experience – at a Lower expense

A comprehensive update of Netflix entire 4K HDR collection utilizing HDR-DO in the first half of 2022. Premium members may already expect enhanced streaming for any movie or program with Dolby Vision or HDR10 high dynamic range. According to the company’s new 4K HDR image quality criteria.

While the visual improvements are visible on 4K TVs. The upgrade is also designed to improve viewing on tablets and phones, which are supporting HDR Personally. The question is whether the outstanding video quality on phones and tablets is worth keeping a more expensive Premium-tier Netflix service. In my instance, the answer is probably no. Rewatching The Killer in 4K and Dolby Vision on a 65-inch TV. While, on the other hand, revealed excellent visual quality. Regardless of personal tastes, Netflix’s ability to dynamically adjust its 4K HDR streaming for different screen sizes and internet connection situations. HDR-DO stands out as a major benefit. Netflix in an increasingly competitive streaming environment, where subscribers are fast to quit services.

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