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Why does Netflix look so much worse on my new 4K TV than it did on my previous 1080p set?

Netflix's streaming quality is limited to a maximum of 1080p for most of its content, even on 4K-capable devices.

This is because Netflix's compression algorithms are optimized for lower resolutions to save on bandwidth.

Your 1080p TV likely had better upscaling algorithms than your 4K TV's built-in upscaler.

Many budget 4K TVs use subpar upscaling, resulting in a less-than-ideal image quality.

Netflix's bitrate, which determines the amount of data used to encode each frame, is often lower on 4K plans compared to 1080p plans.

This can lead to more visible compression artifacts.

Your internet speed may not be fast enough to consistently deliver a 4K stream without buffering or quality drops.

Netflix recommends at least 25Mbps for 4K streaming, but real-world conditions can vary.

The type of content you're watching can also impact the perceived quality.

Fast-paced action scenes or dark scenes tend to show more compression artifacts than slower-paced, brightly lit scenes.

Netflix's content library is not uniformly encoded for 4K.

Some older titles or less popular content may not have been remastered in high-quality 4K.

Your TV's picture settings, such as sharpness, noise reduction, and color accuracy, can significantly affect the perceived image quality.

Proper calibration is crucial.

The video codec used by Netflix, typically H.264 or VP9, may not be as efficient as newer codecs, like AV1, which can deliver better quality at lower bitrates.

The distance between your TV and your seating position can also impact the perceived image quality.

The closer you sit, the more noticeable any artifacts or flaws will be.

Ambient lighting in your room can affect the contrast and perceived sharpness of the image.

Bright rooms can make compression artifacts more noticeable.

Netflix's adaptive bitrate streaming, which adjusts the quality based on your network conditions, can sometimes lead to quality fluctuations during playback, resulting in a less-than-ideal viewing experience.

The type of HDMI cable you're using can also impact the image quality.

High-speed HDMI cables are recommended for 4K playback, but cheaper cables may not be able to handle the increased bandwidth.

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