Netflix can only be streamed in 4k in the browser with Intel Kaby Lake processors

Netflix has started streaming to browsers in 4k. The option only works with systems that have an Intel Kaby Lake processor. In addition, for now, only Windows 10 systems with the Edge browser are eligible.

Microsoft mentions the requirement for a Kaby Lake processor when announcing the arrival of 4k Netflix to the Windows 10 Edge browser. For now, Edge is the only browser that can display 4k streams from Netflix via HTML5. Neither Microsoft nor Netflix provide details about the reason for this exclusivity.

Edge can pick up on the h265 codec and the hdcp 2.2 security for drm that supports Windows 10. Netflix uses h265, or hevc, for its html5 streams and requires hdcp 2.2 support for 4k playback. The video service found in testing that h265/hevc was more efficient than vp9 at resolutions above 1080p. This codec is used by YouTube for its 4k streams.

Intel Kaby Lake processors have a new decode engine compared to previous chip generations, which provides efficient hardware acceleration of 4k playback based on the 10-bit h265 encoding and hdcp 2.2 support. Edge on Windows 10 can have video decoded hardware thanks to the engine, so that this does not have to be done in software. Currently there are only a few economical laptop processors of the Kaby Lake generation. Desktop processors and mobile quad-cores will follow early next year.

There are more ways to watch Netflix in 4k. There are many UHDTVs and Blu-ray players that can do this, but also the Xbox One S, the Chromecast Ultra and a growing number of set-top boxes from providers. The display also requires a screen with a minimum resolution of 3840×2160 pixels and a stable bandwidth of 25Mbit/s or higher. Netflix has listed the exact details about 4k playback.

Netflix Html5
Browser Maximum resolution
Microsoft Edge 4k
Internet Explorer 1080p
Safari (Mac OS X 10.10.3 or later) 1080p
Google Chrome 720p
Mozilla Firefox 720p
Opera 720p