Netflix 4K Video Comes to Windows 10 … Sort Of

Posted on November 22, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Music + Videos, Windows 10 with 55 Comments

Netflix 4K Video Comes to Windows 10 ... Sort Of

This week, Microsoft claimed that 4K (UHD) content from Netflix was now available exclusively for Windows 10 PCs. It’s not true. On any level.

It’s not true because Netflix’s small but growing library of 4K (and HDR) content has been available for months on other devices, including the Roku 4K, Premiere, Premiere+, and Ultra, the Samsung TV I’m currently using, and many others. Here’s a list. Even the Xbox One S, a Microsoft device, already supports this functionality.

Looked at from another angle, even the availability of 4K video in Netflix for Windows 10 isn’t true for most people because you need two things that most users simply don’t have: A 4K/UHD display and a 7th generation Intel Core i7 processor. So if you’re rocking a Skylake-generation Core i7 processor in your PC, you’re out of luck.

(Oh, and you need to actually pay Netflix extra before you can even see the 4K content. So even those with a PC with the required specs might not even know this 4K content exists. But I digress.)

Why would they even make this claim? And why on earth would they tie this announcement to … a Gilmore Girls revival series that no one with the required PC would ever want to watch in the first place?

One can only wonder. So let’s look at the actual announcement. I’ll try to skip over as much of the Gilmore Girls stuff as I can.

“Today we are happy to announce 4K content from Netflix is now available exclusively for compatible PCs and 2-in-1 devices with Windows 10,” a Microsoft blog post notes. “Microsoft Edge [is] the only browser that supports Netflix 4K content.”

So, wait a second. This support comes via the Netflix website in Edge, and not via the Netflix app for Windows 10? LOL. Oh man.

Microsoft then goes on to tout the battery life advantages of using Edge vs. the browser everyone actually uses, Google Chrome.

“When streaming Netflix on Microsoft Edge you can get through at least one more full episode of [a TV show] than when streaming on Chrome on battery.”

Good God.

Here are all the caveats you see in the footnotes to the post, plus a few Microsoft fails to mention explicitly.

Ultra HD availability subject to your Netflix subscription plan, Internet service, device capabilities, and content availability. You also have to pay extra for 4K capabilities in Netflix.

To run Netflix in 4K on a PC device, it must have a 4K-capable screen and use a 7th Gen Intel® Core™ Processor. What percentage of the PC user base has both? 1 percent? Less?

Battery life varies significantly with settings and other factors. So that claim about Edge battery life might in fact be bogus.

You have to use Edge. Does the Netflix app for Windows 10 even support 4K video? Microsoft doesn’t say.

Seriously, Microsoft. The Gilmore Girls?

Note: Want to gouge your eyes out? Watch the trailer.


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Comments (55)

55 responses to “Netflix 4K Video Comes to Windows 10 … Sort Of”

  1. 5592

    Actually it is exclusively available on Windows 10 PCs. Note PCs. The phrasing could have been clearer but it means that the ONLY way you can watch Netflix 4K Video ON A PERSONAL COMPUTER is if it is running Windows 10 and the Microsoft Edge browser.

    You can't watch it on a macOS PC (or Mac OS X or OS X or whatever Apple calls it this year)

    You can't watch it on an Android PC

    You can't watch it on an iOS PC (If you consider an iOS device an actual Computer as Tim Cook does)

    You can't watch it on a ChromeOS PC

    You can't watch it on a PC running an earlier version of Windows

    You can't watch it on ANY PC that isn't running Windows 10 and Edge.

    If you want to watch Netflix 4K video on a PC, it is exclusively available on Windows 10 with Edge.

    (Oh, and if you consider an Xbox One a PC then it works, too. After all, it's a PC running Windows 10 and Edge)


    Clear now?

    • 248

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      This comment is what this article should have been lol

    • 1294

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      Thank you!  I also though the announcement was clear, I guess not for everybody

    • 5592

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      And, to be thorough...

      It doesn't run on any PC using "the browser that everybody uses" (actually, the browser 55% of people use), Google Chrome

      It doesn't run on any PC using Microsoft Internet Explorer

      It doesn't run on any PC using Mozilla Firefox

      It doesn't run on any PC using Apple Safari

      It doesn't run on any PC using Opera

      It exclusively runs on PCs using Microsoft Edge


  2. 3958

    Hey, I actually enjoyed Gilmore Girls.

  3. 5534

    "Looked at from another angle, even the availability of 4K video in Netflix for Windows 10 isn’t true for most people because you need two things that most users simply don’t have ..." 

    It's AVAILABLE for everyone. But obviously, just like any other 4K service, 4K capable equipment is required to actually use it.

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    Netflix 4K streaming is coming to Windows PCs later this week—but only for the lucky few using seventh generation Kaby Lake processors from Intel.

    Netflix launched 4K streaming in 2014 on a select number of TVs before rolling it out to dedicated streaming boxes like the Amazon Fire TVRoku, and Nvidia Shield. 4K streaming on PC was notably missing from the rollout, due in part to piracy and DRM concerns from Hollywood studios and TV networks.

    In an effort to placate the studios, Microsoft introduced "PlayReady 3.0" with the Windows 10 Anniversary update. PlayReady 3.0 is a hardware-based DRM (digital rights management) system that requires dedicated decoding hardware, either on the CPU or on the graphics card, preventing the video stream from being captured in software or via an external capture device

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  27. 2073

    So I can play AAA games on a Skylake/GTX1080 desktop at 4K, but I can't watch Netflix in 4K? wtf. No specifics about HDR support either.

  28. 8640

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  29. 8892

    "Looked at from another angle, even the availability of 4K video in Netflix for Windows 10 isn’t true for most people because you need two things that most users simply don’t have ..." 

    It's AVAILABLE for everyone. But obviously, just like any other 4K service, 4K capable equipment is required to actually use it.

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