Netflix HDR update is good news for Google Pixel owners

Netflix has just announced some good news for Google Pixel owners: You can now watch (some of) your favorite shows and movies in HDR and HD quality. When a new device comes out, Netflix doesn't immediately add HD and HDR support, and owners of these phones or tablets typically have to wait until the necessary software support is put in place on a device-by-device basis. In the case of these new Google Pixels, some users have been waiting quite a long while.

According to the Netflix support page, Netflix in HD and HDR is now (as of January 27, 2022) available for the Google Pixel 5a, Google Pixel 6, and Google Pixel 6 Pro. It's about time: The Pixel 5a launched in August 2021, and up until now, it could only play Netflix in standard quality regardless of the Netflix plan in use. As for the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, these phones have been around since October 2021, so that was still quite a long wait.

As noted in our review of the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, these phones have pretty fancy displays: The Pixel 6 sports a 6.4-inch OLED display with FHD+ capabilities and a 90Hz refresh rate, while its Pro sibling has a 6.7-inch LTPO OLED screen with QHD+ and a 120Hz refresh rate. In other words, these phones definitely deserved to get Netflix in HD, because they can make the most of it. But obviously, not everyone can watch Netflix in HD and HDR.

Who can watch Netflix in HD and HDR?

Netflix has three plans, and of those three, only two support HD and HDR (Ultra HD) respectively. The prices have recently been increased, so trying out HD costs more, but it could be worth it for users of high-quality phones like the latest Pixels. In order to get HD-quality streams, you will need to upgrade to the Standard plan, and for Ultra HD, the Premium plan.

The Netflix Standard plan costs $15.49 per month and offers streaming on up to two devices at a time, plus HD-quality streams on supported devices. The Premium plan can be used on up to 4 screens at once, all on Ultra HD quality, but it costs nearly $20 per month.

However, before you upgrade your Netflix plan, keep in mind that you won't always be able to stream in HD — regardless of Netflix adding HD capabilities for the Pixels. Your internet connection is important too. If you're using a cellular connection or have a limited data plan, you may be unable to stream Netflix in HD on your Pixel, even with the correct plan.

Once you're sure that your Pixel ticks all the boxes, enabling HD is easy and can be done through the Netflix settings for each profile. Check out the Netflix support page for information relevant to your device.