Until now, 4K Netflix streaming has been limited to specific Ultra HD TVs and set top boxes, while the humble PC has lagged behind.
Now, Microsoft has announced Windows 10 users will finally be able to watch shows in glorious 4K on their PCs, but there’s a few caveats.
In fact, those caveats will likely mean that you’re unable to take advantage of UHD Netflix content on your device.
First of all you need the very latest 7th generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core processor, in your PC – and as of right now there are very few devices that use the chips.
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The requirement means that not even the new Surface Studio, which features a 4,500 x 3,000 display, can stream Netflix in 4K.
You’ll also need to make sure you’re using Microsoft’s Edge browser to watch the higher resolution streams, as well as a 4K montor, as there doesn’t seem to be an option to watch 4K on QHD or Full HD screens.
That immediately rules out most laptops, as UHD screens are far from ubiquitous on notebooks at this point in time.
Microsoft is using the advent of 4K on PC to promote its Edge browser, and has provided a new blog post where it’s trying to entice viewers to make the switch with the tempting offer of watching Gilmore Girls in all its 4K glory.
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We’re not sure Gilmore Girls is a good enough reason to invest in an upgrade to a Kaby Lake chip, but it may convince a few users who’ve been considering an upgrade.
In reality, the requirement for Intel’s latest processors is likely down to the fact that the chips support the HDCP 2.2 protocol, which prevents users copying 4K video.
It seems that DRM is behind this very limited UHD-on-PC rollout then, as content providers have strict rules when it comes to 4K playback.
Still, it’s a welcome development, and we hope to see full Netflix 4K streaming arrive on the PC (and hopefully Mac) in the very near future.
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Let us know if you’ve tested out 4K on your PC yet in the comments.