Why Netflix Isn't Streaming In 4K And How To Fix It

Streaming Netflix in 4K is probably the best way to watch your favorite shows and movies since it guarantees the highest possible quality. At 4K, you can expect to see every detail, crisp visuals, and vivid colors. However, if you're watching Netflix and you find that the quality is not quite that mind-blowing, it might mean that your Netflix isn't really streaming in 4K.

There can be a number of reasons why Netflix isn't streaming at 4K. The problem may lie in your Netflix plan, your internet connection, the device you are using to watch, or even just a simple Netflix setting. If you want to check why Netflix isn't streaming in 4K and learn how to fix it, keep reading as we explore different possibilities.

Before we delve into technical solutions, make sure that your plan supports 4K streaming. Here's a quick rundown of these plans, according to Netflix US:

• Basic ($8.99/month): One screen, no HD

• Standard ($13.99/month): Two screens, basic HD (up to 1080p)

• Premium ($15.99/month): Four screens, Ultra HD (up to 4K)

Assuming you are on the Premium plan, Netflix should be available in 4K. If you can't get it to stream in high quality, first ensure that the title is available in 4K. Netflix doesn't disclose this on title cards, but searching for "4K" in the search bar will only display titles that offer Ultra HD streaming. If your movie or show of choice is available in 4K, try to check your Netflix settings.

Check your Netflix settings

By default, Netflix won't always stream in 4K. The default streaming quality setting is set to "Auto," meaning the best possible mix of quality and data usage. However, to make sure you're streaming in 4K, you should change the setting to the highest possible option.

Start by loading the Netflix profile you want to make changes to. This is easier to do on desktop, but can equally be done on mobile devices. Click your profile picture in the top-right corner and enter the "Account" section.

Next, click "My Profile" and then "Playback Settings." Choose "High" to make sure that your data usage is the highest it can be and isn't being throttled at the cost of quality.

Keep in mind that choosing this option will apply to each and every show and movie you watch. If you're on a tight data plan, it might be worth going back to these settings and turning them down when you're approaching your monthly limit.

Check your device

Whether you're watching on a TV, a laptop, a mobile device, or using a streaming box, it's possible that your particular device is not compatible with 4K. In such situations, Netflix may still try to stream at 4K (and thus consume more data,) but your device won't display it as such.

Many modern TVs offer 4K streaming, but there are plenty that are only HD-Ready and those do not stream in 4K. Similarly, streaming boxes usually come in several variants, and oftentimes only the highest possible configuration offers 4K streaming.

Mobile devices, such as phones or tablets, usually don't have the option to stream in 4K. Fortunately, smaller screens don't really require that kind of resolution to offer high image quality.

The best option is to check exactly what type and model of device you're watching on. Search the full model name on the internet and double-check whether it supports 4K or not. If it does, it's time to check your internet connection.

Test your internet connection

According to Netflix, you need "a steady internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher" in order to be able to watch in 4K Ultra HD. Even if your internet plan goes above that speed, it's possible that your actual connection is not quite as fast. This is worth checking before you contact Netflix to resolve this problem.

You can check your connection speed through a quick and easy internet speed test. We recommend using the Ookla Speed Test. Head on over to that website and simply let the test run. Make sure you turn off Netflix before running the speed test, as simultaneously streaming will artificially slow down your internet speed.

Take note of the download speed as the speed test concludes. If it's above 25 MB/s, you're in the clear, and your internet should not be the problem. However, speeds under 25 megabits per second indicate that your connection is not fast enough to handle 4K streaming. Check again at other times of day, as internet speeds are rarely the same throughout the day.

If you tried all of these methods and nothing proved successful, you should check other tips provided by Netflix that will show an exact list of devices you can use for 4K streaming. Contact Netflix support if everything checks out and your streaming quality is still sub-par.