Pirates might have managed to break the copy protection on Netflix's Ultra HD video. TorrentFreak reports that a 4K copy of the first episode of Breaking Bad has been posted to a private torrent tracker site. The Verge hasn't verified the existence of the file, which is supposed to be nearly 18GB, and TorrentFreak doesn't report testing it firsthand. But if the episode is real, it would be the first known case of someone cracking Netflix's 4K anti-piracy measures.
Netflix started offering 4K, or Ultra HD, content in April of 2014, starting with its political drama House of Cards. It's added a handful of other shows since then, including Breaking Bad, which was added in June of 2014 through a partnership with Sony Pictures. Along with Amazon Instant Video, Netflix remains one of a very few ways to watch 4K video, as Ultra HD Blu-ray players are still a work in progress.
On Netflix, customers can only watch the streams using a 4K TV that supports High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2, generally models from 2014 and 2015. HDCP 2.2, an Ultra HD-focused iteration of the 15-year-old standard, is supposed to prevent pirates from capturing video over an HDMI or other connection. A screenshot posted by TorrentFreak says that the file was, in fact, captured from Netflix over HDMI. Netflix wouldn't comment on whether the video is real, but the company has told TorrentFreak and The Verge that it is looking into the situation.