Fact – it’s finally possible to stream Netflix to your PC in 4K quality. Reality – your PC almost certainly isn't capable of doing so. Here’s why.
Up to this point, the only way to stream Netflix in 4K quality was to either use a compatible Smart TV or a 4K streaming device like one of Roku’s new set-top boxes. That restriction has always been a bit of a bummer for viewers with high-end PCs technically capable of driving a 4K streaming experience.
One would think that now, with that restriction lifted, PC users would be jumping for joy. Nope, not even close.
As it turns out, there are some serious restrictions in place for prospective 4K PC streamers. For starters, you’ll need to be using Windows 10 and naturally, you’ll want a 4K-capable display. Furthermore, one can only watch Netflix in 4K using Microsoft’s Edge browser.
The real kicker, however, is that you must be running a seventh-generation Intel Kaby Lake processor to reap the 4K rewards. This means that even Microsoft’s brand new 27-inch Surface Studio all-in-one can’t view Netflix in 4K. There are only a handful of laptops and convertibles on the market using Kaby Lake processors; desktop parts won’t be here until sometime early next year.
Who is to blame for this atrocity? Hollywood, of course.
As The Verge highlights, DRM requirements from Hollywood studios and TV networks are incredibly strict as they’re dead set on preventing users from capturing 4K streams and distributing them illegally on the web. Kaby Lake, as it so happens, is the only Intel processor family that supports 10-bit HEVC (a popular 4K video codec).
That said, your best bet today to watch Netflix in 4K is either through a Smart TV or dedicated streaming device.