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Netflix Adds HDR Support, but Some US, UK Subscribers Face Price Rise

Photo of remote control with Netflix button (Photo Credit: televisione @ https://www.flickr.com/photos/televisione/18526855496/, CC 2.0)
Sean Fang Thu, 14/04/2016 - 15:47

Without much fanfare, Netflix has started adding HDR support to its library, but so far only one title has received the picture upgrade.

That title is season one of Netflix's Original Programming, Marco Polo, but the company says more titles, including Marvel's Daredevil, will be updated to include support for HDR.

Just what is HDR? HDR stands for High Dynamic Range and it's a picture quality enhancement available on selected 4K Ultra HD television sets that increases the difference in the level of contrast between the brightest and dimmest parts of a scene. It makes pictures stand out more and gives the viewer a more realistic image that's more like what we see in real life.

There are currently two main competing standards for HDR, Dolby Vision and HDR10. Luckily, Netflix has chosen to be format agnostic and will support both formats as part of its HDR support.

While early adopters of HDR will be well served by Netflix in the coming months, some of Netflix's oldest subscribers will be feeling the pain of a price rise starting next month of more than USD $2 per month. While new subscribers have been paying $9.99 for the standard (HD capable) plan since October last year, those that jumped on the Netflix bandwagon first have been paying the old grandfathered price of $7.99. At the time of Netflix's first $1 price rise in 2014, the company warned that while existing subscribers would continue to pay the original $7.99 price, this benefit would expire in two year's time. Netflix subsequently introduced another $1 price rise in October last year. So when the grandfathered price guarantee expires next month, 17 million subscribers, or up to 37% of Netflix's US subscriber base, will face the prospect of paying more for Netflix (and many, up to 80% of these users, do not realise a price rise is going to happen, according to research by JP Morgan).

Australians who were early adopters of geo-dodging also faces a difficult decision - to continue with their US account that will soon cost more (and with the exchange rate being unfavourable right now in terms of paying for services in US dollars), or to cancel it and sign up to an Aussie account (which can still support geo-dodging) and possibly pay less.

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