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Netflix 4K streaming finally hits the PC, but there’s a big, annoying, Edge-shaped catch

Published Nov 26th, 2016 9:55AM EST
Netflix Streaming

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By now, most of you have probably already seen the magical and jaw-dropping video quality that 4K content provides. Clearly representing the future of where TV is headed, the sad reality is that we’re still not living in a world overflowing with 4K content just yet. Still, progress is being made slowly but surely.

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While Netflix hasn’t issued an official comment on the matter, it appears that Netflix is at long last bringing 4K video to PC users. Of course, there is a gnarly catch you should be aware of. As it stands now, Netflix users who want to take advantage of the streaming giant’s 4K content will need to use Microsoft’s Edge browser on a Windows 10 PC.

Sounds great, right? Yes, but unfortunately there’s another catch to be aware of: 4K streaming via Netflix is only supported on Windows 10 machines running Intel’s next-gen Kaby Lake processors.

As Ars Technica points out, this effectively makes 4K PC streaming available only to a small subset of users:

4K streaming only works in Microsoft Edge, because it’s the only browser that supports PlayReady DRM. Basically, streaming 4K Netflix on a PC requires a CPU that’s in barely any devices right now (desktop chips aren’t expected until sometime in 2017), the latest version of Windows 10, and using an unpopular browser, making it a largely useless feature.

If you’re in the market for a new Windows PC that can handle 4K streaming from Netflix, Microsoft keeps a running tally of 4K-capable devices over here. Note, though, that you’ll still need to take a look at the specs and make sure that the machine you have your eye on has a Kaby Lake processor on the inside before pulling the trigger.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.