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Netflix posts 4K test video to streaming service as it prepares for planned 2014 launch

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Ask anyone what the largest issue facing 4K video is, and you'll likely be told that it's distribution; bringing the massive files — with four times the resolution of a 1080p video — to viewers' homes is an incredible challenge. Nevertheless, Netflix believes it will be able stream Ultra HD 4K videos to customers by next year, and it's already testing the feature, according to Gigaom. In fact, you can watch Netflix's test footage now, as a number of 4K "movies" have hit the service for internal checks on 4K performance. It's worth noting that the movies are all made up of test footage, and 4K quality isn't an option yet for subscribers.

Netflix hasn't kept its interest in streaming 4K video directly to subscribers' homes a secret. CPO Neil Hunt told The Verge this spring that "we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies and then over time become an important source of 4K," and CEO Reed Hastings said on a recent earnings call that "we want to be one of the big suppliers of 4K next year." The company also teamed up with Samsung to demonstrate live 4K streaming at CES this past January. While it's unclear if Netflix will be able to meet its goal of a 2014 launch, it looks like there will be some good content once it does arrive: the company's very own House of Cards will be among some of the first video on the site offered in 4K.