The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles are not capable of running games in 4K resolution. That is unlikely to change, but 4K video streaming is another story. At CES 2015, Netflix hinted that new versions of game consoles could support 4K video later this year, according to Forbes.
4K streaming requires HEVC
Sony and Microsoft usually do hardware refreshes of its game consoles every 2 to 3 years, mainly to reduce the size and power consumption. But Netflix believes that they could add the capabilities to stream 4K content and eventually 4K HDR content, according to Forbes. The Huffington Post was told the same thing.
Sony hinted at support for 4K video streaming shortly after introducing the PlayStation 4. Currently, neither of the two new game consoles incorporates a HEVC chip, which is used to decode 4K video. HEVC decoding is possible through software, but it is not optimal. The consoles also lack a HDMI 2.0 port that is used to connect them to Ultra HD TVs.
Still, there are rumors that the hardware of the current consoles can be updated to support HEVC decoding and HDMI 2.0, similar to how Sony updated the PlayStation 3 to support 3D Blu-ray several years after launch.
Netflix’s Neil Hunt said that Sony had “promised” 4K video capabilities for PS4. Netflix later emphasized that it is not in a position to talk about Sony’s future plans. The two companies have been closer partners for years, with PS3 serving as a “test machine” for new Netflix features. Sony and Microsoft did not want to comment on the rumors, but did not refute them either.