Netflix has just added support for playing HDR videos on Windows 10, both via the Netflix app and Microsoft Edge browser. There are, of course, several requirements before any of this could work.
Netflix HDR: Windows 10 Requirements
For starters, HDR is only accessible for subscribers paying for Netflix's most expensive plan — the one that costs $13.99 and allows up to four streams at a time, on top of 4K and HDR playback. Without this, users won't be able to stream HDR at all, regardless if they have the technical requirements.
Speaking of technical requirements, subscribers must also be using a Windows 10 PC running the Fall Creators Update. Not only that, their machine also has to be powered by at least an Intel seventh-generation Kaby Lake processor.
"Intel's 7th generation and higher CPUs provide that capability needed to play the Netflix HDR10 encodes," Netflix confirmed in a blog post. As for those with AMD chips, Netflix has yet to confirm whether they'll be supported as well.
The requirements aren't that surprising, considering HDR is pretty power-intensive. This is also perhaps the reason why HDR, though slowly becoming a staple in the living room, have so far been sluggish to work on PCs — right now, only a few Windows 10 computers offer it, and only a handful of apps utilize it.
As it stands, Netflix has a smattering of HDR-capable content available, including the critically acclaimed Stranger Things, Chef's Table, and Bright, its upcoming original film. The company says it currently has over 200 hours of HDR content available, and it's safe to assume that more will be arriving next year.
What Is HDR?
For the uninitiated, HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It's a complex technology, but to the typical user, it just means they get to watch better contrast, more accurate and vivid colors, and a significantly improved picture quality. Simply put, it makes films and TV shows appear closer to reality. The idea behind HDR is that human eyes are able to perceive brighter whites and darker blacks than traditional TVs have been able to display.
As mentioned, a lot of TVs already support HDR, but not a lot of PCs do the same. Netflix adding support for Windows 10 is a small step in the right direction.
Thoughts about HDR playback on Windows 10? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!