Netflix’s 4K Steaming on PC Comes with a Big Catch

/ 3 years ago

Netflix’s 4K Steaming on PC Comes with a Big Catch

4K streaming content has been available on Netflix for the past two years, but has been limited to certain capable streaming boxes and smart TVs. Now, Microsoft has revealed that 4K streaming is finally coming to Windows 10 PCs, but with one major caveat: only systems running Intel’s seventh generation Kaby Lake CPUs will have access to it.

4K steaming was deliberately withheld from PCs over piracy fears from Hollywood studios. The combination of Windows 10 – which, from its Anniversary Update onwards, carries the PlayReady 3.0 hardware-based DRM system – and Kaby Lake processors – the only Intel CPU capable of decoding the 10-bit HEVC video codec, which comes with HDCP 2.2 protection support – has now provided Netflix with enough security to protect against its 4K content from being ripped by pirates.

While the move might be great news for the handful of people running Kaby Lake systems – mobile versions of the seventh generation chip have been released, but the desktop versions are not expected until 2017 – another disappointing catch with Netflix’s 4K streaming is that it is locked to Microsoft Edge, since it’s the only browser that supports PlayReady 3.0.

It seems that Netflix’s strict control against piracy of its 4K content is locking out the majority of its PC-owning userbase, which will surely take a few years to catch up to the video-on-demand service’s hardware requirements. Hooray for DRM!

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