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Netflix HDR playback comes to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium

Netflix has been ridiculously picky about what devices and formats for ultra-high-definition it supports, and as such Netflix has been slow to allow it on any device, with the LG G6 being the sole phone supported for Netflix's HDR playback... until now, that is. Another phone is crashing the party, and it's the Sony XZ Premium.

HDR playback on phones might not be the biggest deal for users or for Netflix, as most phones probably don't have the resolution for it to matter, but for bleeding-edge flagships that have both the resolution and the supported HDR standard, Netflix will let them stream the good stuff. Why do we still need Netflix to okay it for each device that supports it? That could have to do with how picky Netflix is being with the HDR standards it supports (opens in new tab), and it could also be at Netflix doesn't want to send out a bunch of HDR streams to phones that can't display them properly.

Whatever the case may be, we have now doubled the available phones with Netflix HDR from one to two. That's a 100% increase! If you're the proud owner of a Sony XZ Premium, you need to have a Premium Netflix subscription, internet speeds around 25Mbps, and video quality in the app set to high. Enjoy all those pixels, and make sure you don't blow your data limit.

Netflix has doubled mobile streaming quality in the last year

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

21 Comments
  • Thats cool, but what about Samsung GS8. or i might not understand the requirement and there is a good reason one of the best selling flagship is not on the list.
  • ¯_(ツ)_/¯
  • You dropped this: \
  • Thanks, the comment formatting keeps dropping it.
  • I'd guess because Netflix supports Dolby Vision, which is a licensed "enhanced" version of HDR compared to HDR10- and Samsung has likely been unwilling to license it (unlike LG and Vizio), and then mucking out titles by supported content type is likely too much for Netflix to figure out while they still fight over standards support in it's TV apps - much less it's mobile apps. I say this because I own two HDR equipped TV's - a Samsung Ks9k and an LG B6 - I can see which types are supported on the LG TV app, but not on the Samsung - I just get "HDR" in some titles. I'm hoping Netflix gets this sorted out now that Chromecast officially supports it - and that's s a lot more users than those that just own high end TV's with app support
  • Netflix might not be ready, or willing just yet to open the flood gates for the higher bandwidth streams to a device that's in the millions just yet.
    This is probably a way of testing impact. Rest assured, once this takes off, more phones will be added (this would be my guess)
  • I initially thought it was because the LG G6 and Galaxy S8/S8+ had different HDR formats was the reason behind the Galaxy S8/S8+ not being certified by Netflix yet...but the Sony Xperia XZ Premium is the same HDR format as the Galaxy S8/S8+ (HDR1O) so I think the comment above mine is the most probable and accurate.
  • I thought the galaxy s8 had it? Is this the same thing as video enhancer mode on s8 because when I check it and uncheck it with Netflix on it looks noticeably different and better with it on.
  • I'd imagine if it were compatible you would see an hdr popup in the corner momentarily much like it does on tvs right now.
  • No. Video Enhancer is utilized to "spruce up" video that isn't in HDR format. I use Kodi and the places that provide content in 4k is definitely native 4k so the Galaxy S8 supports it for sure. The difference between the Kodi 4k content with Video Enhancer and Netflix with 1080p and Video Enhancer is dramatically different.
  • Your S8 doesn't play 4k videos...it's only got a 2k screen. Does Kodi scale the videos back to 1440p? Hadn't heard that before....
  • With Netflix the HDR symbol will go from the grey HD symbol to the white HDR symbol for UHD compatibility. On Amazon Prime Video it will be white UHD symbol when it's UHD compatible.
  • I love Sony just wish they would shake up the market. Again the Z3 compact was one of the best phones I ever owned. The software looks dated and the hardware has not changed a lot.
  • I've always had a sweet spot for Sony as well. I use icon sets and nova Launcher on my Sony Xperia XZ Premium so the dated looking software to me isn't noticeable and I happen to like the classic design that Sony brings to the table. So much so that the XZP has replaced my S8+ as my daily driver.
  • That is awesome. The slo mo on that phone is amazing
  • Ya too bad you would need a REAL unlimited data plan. One movie is probably 7g of streaming from the last article that was about streaming data. That's why it makes no sense for the xz to have 4k no data plan can support it. Even my xfinity caps at 100g and I've gotten to it once with a lot of downloads. Steaming 4k I'd get there no problem every month. I wish Sony would make a 2k emoled screen for vr. Loves Sony phones still using my z3.
  • No - on average, the netflix file size for a 4k video is around 1.7gb - with HDR support...it grows by about 8%. I have my router kick out all sorts of neat details while streaming :)
  • Oh you most definitely will need an unlimited data plan or decent wifi. 4k uses anywhere between 15-25mb per second. I am actually amazed that most countries do not have unlimited data plans.
  • I think 30mb/sec is a requirement to get UHD quality - hDR doesn't use much more...it's about the encoding - not lots of superfluous data
  • As for the Galaxy S8 it's not a 2k screen it's 3k with 4k playback capability. That's why it's WQHD+. 2K is QHD+. The Galaxy S8 doesn't have to scale back anything. It shows supported content on Kodi in 4k.
  • As for comparing screens even with the ppi being higher on the Sony Xperia XZ Premium there's a reason the Galaxy S8 again won the title of Best Display in 2017. Sony dropped the ball putting 4k on an LCD display. 4k on LCD screens is a waste of hype. This isn't the first 4k screen Sony has released and it will eventually sell about the same as the last one. Who pays premium price in the US for a smartphone that doesn't have a fingerprint scanner. There are phones for less than $100 with that feature and a better design to boot.