Can My UHDTV Stream HDR Content From Netflix?

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Q I bought my Samsung UN65JS9500 Ultra HDTV back in 2015.  According to Samsung, it supports high dynamic range. However, when I browse the Netflix app on the TV, the listings will indicate if a program is 4K/Ultra HD, but not if it’s high dynamic range. I’ve asked both Samsung and Netflix tech support what the problem is, but have yet to receive a clear answer. Can you help? — Jon Fraser

A The good news: your 2015 Samsung UHDTV is compatible with high dynamic range (HDR) content. Not only that but, with a 10-bit panel, full-array local dimming backlight, and Wide Color Gamut capability, it can be relied upon to do a very good job of displaying HDR.

The bad news — at least for the time being — is that the UN65JS9500 isn’t capable of streaming HDR programs from Netflix. How did I get that information? A support page on the Samsung website clearly states, “Only 2016 Samsung SUHD and UHD TVs are capable of streaming Netflix HDR content for now.” It also states that, “2015 SUHD and UHD TVs can play 4K Netflix content,” and that a firmware update to enable HDR on 2015 models is targeted for December 2016.

So, while you’re waiting for December to arrive, you can in the meantime check that your Netflix plan and Internet connection are up to snuff. To stream HDR, you’ll need a subscription to the company’s 4 Screens + Ultra HD plan ($11.99/month). For Internet, you’ll need a connection that supports 25Mbps or faster download speeds. ( Click this link to check the performance you’re currently getting from your ISP.) Finally, you’ll need to set playback settings to High in the My Profile section of the Netflix My Account screen.

When the pieces finally fall in place for you to stream HDR from Netflix with your UN65JS9500, you’ll be able to tell which titles support the format by an “HDR” logo located next to the program description. The same thing goes for programs with Dolby Vision, although current Samsung TVs don’t support the Dolby Vision HDR format. Unfortunately, a specific browsing category isn’t provided for HDR, so you’ll need to type “HDR” into the Netflix search window to find relevant programs.

jnemesh's picture

If you plan on buying Samsung's UHD Blu-Ray player, the UBDK8500, it will stream Netflix in 4k with HDR...if you didn't want to wait for the firmware upgrade.