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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