Got the Right PC or Laptop? You can Now Watch Netflix in 4K and Even With HDR

by on January 16, 2017

Stephan Jukic – January 16, 2017

Now that 4K ultra HD content and even HDR 4K content are becoming increasingly popular with users of all the major 2015, 2016 and soon 2017 4K TVs, some 4K PC users might be wondering when they can get their hands on all those sweet extra pixels in their desktop and notebook machines.

This is a fair question and Netflix has finally answered it, as we’d covered earlier on this site briefly. The home entertainment production and streaming giant is now making ultra HD video content from its service available to PC users of the right kinds of machines so they don’t absolutely need to get a shiny new 4K TV to get the benefits of 4K and even HDR for their favorite programs and movies.


The availability of 4K content is coming to Microsoft’s latest version of the Windows 10 OS and will be available to a range of desktop and laptop machines which feature Windows 10 and also happen to come loaded with Intel’s new 7th Generation Kaby Lake Core CPUs.

If a user has both of these requirements covered in their PC machine, they can straight up stream 4K programming of any kind from Netflix on their PC just as they would on a 4K TV. Of course, all of this also requires a user to actually own a 4K PC monitor or laptop with ultra HD display and then there’s also the internet connectivity issue, which remains the same as it’s ever been with 4K content streams, requiring a minimum connection speed of 20 to 25 Mbps.

If you’ve got all of these bases covered, then you’re good to go on PC 4K movies and Netflix Original Series.

According to Netflix itself:

“For the last several years, we’ve been working with our partners across the spectrum of CE devices to add support for the richer visual experience of 4K.  Since launching on Smart TVs in 2014, many different devices can now play our 4K content, including Smart TVs, set-top boxes and game consoles.  We are pleased to add Windows 10 and 7th Gen Intel Core CPUs to that list”

The streaming service provider also mentions to its customers that

Microsoft and Intel both did great work to enable 4K on their platforms.  Intel added support for new, more efficient codecs necessary to stream 4K as well as hardware-based content security in their latest CPUs.  Microsoft enhanced the Edge browser with the latest HTML5 video support and made it work beautifully with Intel’s latest processors”.

We’re fully expecting this trend to continue as more desktop and notebook devices and new generations of CPU come with 4K UHD resolution support and more importantly start to include key elements such as HDCP 2.2, HEVC and VP9 for 4K content compatibility. These core features, once only available in ultra HD TVs are now on the way to becoming widespread in PC display.

Intel's 7th Gen Kaby Lake 4K-capable CPUs

Intel’s 7th Gen Kaby Lake 4K-capable CPUs

What makes things even more interesting here is the arrival of new 4K PC monitors with high dynamic range display capacity of the highest caliber in 2017. Since we’re now seeing the unveiling of PC displays from brands like LG and Samsung which can render HDR brightness, color and contrast as well as many premium 4K HDR TVs, users of PCs compatible with the 4K content of Netflix should also be able to enjoy it in full HDR glory.

What makes this last possibility particularly enticing to PC users of Netflix in 4K is that while the ultra HD resolution might not even be visibly superior to normal HD in such smaller displays, the HDR will absolutely deliver superior a content viewing experience in the PCs that can render it. Unlike 4K resolution, HDR formatting can be noted for its superior visual quality on a compatible screen regardless of its display size.

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  • Philip Pantano
    January 17, 2017 at 4:30 am

    You should also add that you will need a Netflix 4K account to view the 4K offerings. Not just a regular account.


    • Stephen
      March 18, 2017 at 9:17 pm

      Hey there Philip, this is a good point. We’ve mentioned it under the Netflix section of our “Movies” page but it will be added into this article. Netflix also makes pretty clear that their 4K service is part of the pricier package when a new user is choosing between subscription options.


  • John
    January 19, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    Does the requirement of having a 7th gen Intel chip only come into play when using on board graphics or can PC users with older chips still have access to this content when using a supported high end graphics card?


    • Stephen
      March 13, 2017 at 7:23 pm

      Im sorry John, could you rephrase that question a bit, it’s somewhat unclear. If I do understand you correctly, no, you do need Kaby Lake 7th Gen chips in order to have 4K consumer content support, regardless of the GPU you use, at this time.


      • Greg
        April 4, 2017 at 1:12 pm

        I can answer this :

        He is asking if having a higher end GPU instead of a higher end CPU will be sufficient in streaming 4k on Netflix.
        The answer to this is No. CPU and GPU are two different types of processors. In fact GPU has no effect on what resolution Netflix can stream. Only CPU is used.


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