Yes, that’s right. Even though you have been able to stream at 4K on smart televisions and streaming boxes forever, it’s only now you will get 4K Netflix streaming on PC. Unfortunately, there’s a but. And it’s a big but (no sniggering in the back).
You will need to have a seventh generation Intel Kaby Lake processor for it to work. Which pretty much restricts you to a few high-end laptops at the moment. Zero desktops have been released with Kaby processors yet. If that was not restrictive enough, you also must be on Windows 10. Oh, and you must be using the Edge browser. Sigh.
Just to really top it all off, Microsoft announced the news on their blog, using f*cking Gilmore Girls as an example. Somehow, I don’t think people wanting 4K on their high-end computers are going to be watching Gilmore Girls.
They also stated, and I quote:
When streaming Netflix on Microsoft Edge you can get through at least one more full episode of Gilmore Girls than when streaming on Chrome on battery*** – and you know one episode can be the difference between Chris and Lorelai casually dating and being a married couple.
Don’t know about you, but I’m sold. No, not really.
I have to wonder why the high restrictions for 4K streaming. It seems to be a combination of DRM and partnership with Microsoft. On my work PC, I still have an Sandy Bridge i5 2500K overclocked to 4.4GHz. Which is more than capable of streaming at 4K. What it does not have though, is the right sync decoder. This is where the problem lies. Because of Netflix’s DRM not allowing software decoding, this is the situation it causes. Using bleeding edge processors just restricts Netflix’s reach and puts people off their product.
Couple that with Microsoft’s eagerness to prop up their failing Edge browser, which nobody uses, and you have a disaster in the making. You would think that with the proliferation of streaming services (Amazon, Hulu etc) Netflix would be making their service better and more accessible. The complete opposite of what they are doing here. All this will lead to is more piracy. People don’t mind paying for content, they do mind over egging the DRM pudding, limiting their options.
So to sum up, if you have a high end brand new laptop featuring Kaby Lake, your good. The rest of us can whistle. 4K Netflix streaming on PC won’t be coming to us anytime soon.