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Web firms to benefit most from 4K, says Netflix CEO

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Netflix co-founder and CEO, Reed Hastings

Ultra High Definition, also known as 4K, will benefit online firms before traditional broadcasters, with the technology still years away from being deployed by cable and satellite firms, according to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings.

Speaking in an interview with the BBC at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Hastings said that 4K was shaping up to be “the first format that is internet only.”

“It’s really focused on internet delivery. So broadcast, cable, satellite – they’re not going to have Ultra HD, at least not in the next five years,” said Hastings.

The comments came after Sony announced at CES that it is collaborating with Netflix, optimising its 2014 line of 4K Ultra HD TVs to support 4K streaming from the company and other forthcoming 4K video services.

Netflix reportedly added a small number of Ultra HD videos to its US site in November, ahead of a wider planned push for the technology this year.

Hastings confirmed this week that firm is filming the second season of its original drama series House of Cards in 4K, and in the firm’s last earnings call in October Hastings said “we want to be one of the big suppliers of 4K content next year.”

Discussing Netflix’s wider growth plans, Hastings told the BBC: “We’ll continue to invest in more content, improving the service, improving what we do and expanding countries for many years ahead.”

He also stressed that Netflix was largely an “additional” service to traditional TV subscriptions, claiming that “in the US we’re [at] over 30 million subscribers and yet cable and satellite subscribers have stayed constant at 100 million and not gone down.”

“We’re at the very beginning of internet television – this bringing together of the internet and video so that people can choose what they want to watch, when they want to watch it,” said Hastings.