Netflix starts testing 4K videos, wants to launch Ultra HD next year

Netflix (S NFLX) quietly added a handful of 4K HD videos to its catalog this week to prepare itself for a wider launch of ultra high-definition video content in the coming months. So far, the titles added to the catalog only consist of footage that Netflix regularly uses for internal tests — but a spokesperson confirmed that the company “hopes to launch Ultra HD next year.”

It looks like Netflix added a total of seven videos to its catalog earlier this week. One is titled El Fuente: 24 MP, and its description promises “an example of 4K at 24 frames per second.” The footage itself includes people riding on bycicles, scenes of a wholesale produce market and kids playing in a fountain — test footage to examine the quality of 4K streaming under different conditions.

But soon, Netflix could offer a lot more compelling 4K fare: CEO Reed Hastings said during the company’s most recent earnings call that Netflix wants to be “one of the big suppliers of 4k next year.” It’s expected that Netflix will kick off 4K, or Ultra HD, as some prefer to call it, with its own original content, but it might also get some movies and TV show content from its licensing partners in ultra high-definition.

Netflix is known for regularly testing all kinds of things on its service, and those often mildly strange test videos have become somewhat of a secret cult hit among Netflix members, who have in the past left dozens of mock movie reviews, going as far as calling one of the test clips “the greatest story ever told.”