Is Nexflixs HD 720p or 1080p

How to force HD on Netflix

There's nothing like watching a box set or series on Netflix while the weather isn't great outside or when you don't want to go out. But what's the point of a huge HD or 4K large-screen TV if your stream is "only" in SD? If you find yourself in this situation, then you need to force HD on Netflix. Here is how.

High Definition (HD) is more detailed, offers better colors and improves the viewing experience massively. When it was new, HD was seen as a fad that would happen without making a huge impact like 3D TV. However, as soon as people started watching an HD broadcast, that attitude changed. Because of this, all TVs sold now are at least HD.

I'll go into more detail on the differences between SD and HD shows in a minute, but for now we shouldn't bury the headline.

Force HD on Netflix

To get HD playback on Netflix, you need a Standard or Premium account. The basic package only supports SD playback. If you're a Basic subscriber, you'll need to upgrade to get HD viewing on Netflix.

Otherwise:

  1. Log into your Netflix account.
  2. Select Playback Settings and Data Usage.
  3. Select High to enable HD playback.
  4. Choose Save.

You'll need to repeat this process on each device you're watching Netflix on as it's a device-specific setting. Changes can take a while to be activated. Netflix says you should allow up to eight hours for such changes, so make the change in advance if you have to.

Turning on HD playback on devices that use cellular data may not be a good idea as the download size will increase significantly. SD playback consumes around 350 MB per hour, while HD streams can record up to 3 GB per hour. If you stream Ultra HD (4K) that increases to up to 7 GB per hour!

That's fine if you're using Wi-Fi, but not as good on a cell phone. Even so-called unlimited data plans have fair use guidelines that can slow down data traffic after 23 GB or less. That's only three hours of Ultra HD playback or 7.5 hours of HD playback per month.

If you want to force HD on Netflix, you don't want to view it in a web browser. Microsoft Edge and Safari are the only browsers that can play 1080p. Google Chrome, Firefox and Opera can currently only run 720p. That will likely change at some point, but at the moment HD playback is not possible in these browsers. Use the app instead.

SD vs. HD

I mentioned above that people were initially skeptical of HD and thought it was a fad like 3D TV. Until people tried it and saw the difference. Broadcasters and networks took over the standard and started making programming in HD, and as soon as we were exposed to it we quickly became addicted.

What's the difference between SD and HD?

Standard Definition TV was what we had before HD came along. It meant a resolution of about 400 lines on the screen for analog or up to 720 x 480 pixels (720p for the vertical resolution of 720 pixels) for a digital display. SD is usually formatted as 4: 3 even for older screens. If you are viewing SD content, your screen or the broadcaster reformatted it to 16: 9 if you have a newer TV or if your TV does it for you.

High definition TV is technically anything above 720p, but is usually measured at 1080p. Some older TVs that say "HD ready" aren't actually HD as we know it, but they are 720p. True 1080p is 1080 x 1920 at 16: 9 and is often referred to as "Full HD". A lower standard of 1280 x 720 is also considered HD, but is not as widely used as Full HD.

So these are just numbers. What do we actually see?

The HD format has many more pixels per inch than SD. This allows more of a scene to be displayed at a time. This adds detail, a lot of detail. When you view an SD and an HD program side by side, the SD card appears as blurry and out of focus. The HD screen shows a lot of detail as it can contain more than four times the size of an SD display.

When you view a program with four times as much detail on the screen, the viewing experience increases exponentially. As long as your Full HD TV is a good TV, Netflix in HD can make you even more addicting, and these box sets are even harder to put up!