Netflix PC Gets 4K Support, But Don't Get Too Excited Yet


For quite some time now, Smart 4K TVs have been enjoying a host of 4K content offered by Netflix from its expansive library, and PCs can now join the move forward.

Netflix, in partnership with Microsoft, opened up 4K video streaming to PCs on Monday, though the computer needs to be a fairly recent one in order to hop on the 4K bandwagon.

Netflix 4K For PC Requirements

As per Microsoft's requirements, if the machine is neither powered by a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor nor boasting a 4K display, then forget the whole 4K thing, because the computer won't be supported. Also, 4K streaming will only be available on Windows 10 using Microsoft's own browser, Edge. Sorry, MacBooks.

These very demanding requirements only make for a small pool of PC owners able to stream 4K content from Netflix. If one's machine, like say, the Lenovo yoga 910, has compatible hardware corresponding to Netflix's requirements, then the user may go ahead and try it for himself. For the rest of us sans Kaby Lake processors or 4K displays, we'll make do with Netflix's 1080p streaming cap for now.

Additionally, as part of the partnership, compatible PCs will be able to stream Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life ahead of everyone else, so fans of the series can gawk at Stars Hollow in all its Ultra HD glory.

Another thing that would be nice is for Netflix to finally support offline playback once and for all, though that isn't likely to happen any time soon, especially in the United States.

Why Is 4K Streaming On PC Restricted To Kaby Lake PCs?

It's easy to see why Netflix would limit 4K streaming functionality for seventh-gen Intel PCs since Kaby Lake processors have 10-bit HEVC decoding that enables 4K playback on computers.

It's also important to note that Netflix's content is protected by DRM and uses Microsoft PlayReady 3.0, which is available exclusively on Windows 10 and Edge. This is the reason why PCs needed to run Edge in order to stream 1080p content on Netflix, with other browsers maxing out at 720p.

If Netflix's 4k Streaming option for PC escapes you at the moment because you don't have any expensive gaming laptops or 2-in-1s lying around, you can always buy the Chromecast Ultra or the Amazon Fire TV and watch 4K content on your TV using these devices instead.

Do you have a compatible laptop or desktop computer that'll support 4K streaming on Netflix? Do you think Netflix should at least look into expanding the functionality to older laptops with older Intel processors? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!

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