Watching 4K Netflix on a Mac is unnecessarily complicated. It is not currently supported in macOS, so you need to run Windows on your Mac ̵1; and even then you are still limited to the Edge browser. But it can be done.
Why is 4K Netflix a problem for Mac?  The 4K content is not the problem; It is a problem with compatibility, codecs and DRM (Digital Rights Management). And it's not just Macs-4K streaming is a problem in general. When you stream video on any platform, it must be packed to something your computer can understand. The exact method for this is called a video encoding format, and the program that packs and unpacks is called a codec . With the increase of 4K content, the technology world is currently changing to newer codecs, and they are all struggling to do so.
Codecs are built into your computer but can vary with browser. YouTube only uses the VP9 code for 4K video, but Safari does not support VP9, so you need to use Chrome to watch 4K YouTube videos. Netflix supports many codecs, but only uses HEVC for 4K. Because Safari is one of the few web browsers that support HEVC playback, besides Edge, it seems that 4K Netflix should be supported in Safari.
But another problem arises with DRM, a way to protect the show from being copied and pirated. DRM Netflix uses for 4K content is the new HDCP 2.2 (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection), which macOS does not support from Mojave. HDCP is an OS compliance and cannot be fixed with a more advanced browser, so you need Windows (or a virtual machine running Windows) to watch Netflix, so you won't be recording any shows. And the kicker is that DRM doesn't even really work because it will be pirated regardless (often automatically within minutes of release), so everything does it – especially in Netflix's case – damaging consumers.
You can still watch 4K Netflix content on your Mac, but it won't be easy, and it certainly won't be a good solution.
Running Windows on a Mac to watch Netflix
In summary, from above, you need:
- An HDCP 2.2 compatible 4K TV if your Mac's built-in screen is not 4K or higher . Both the TV and HDMI cable must be HDCP 2.2 compatible or nothing will work. You will not see any benefits flowing 4K content on a 1080p TV or your Mac's 1440p screen because there are more pixels than can be displayed.
- A Mac with a Kaby Lake (or higher) Intel processor: Most Macs after 2017 will have one. Only Kaby Lake or higher processors have specialized HEVC decoding hardware much faster. Edge only supports hardware coded HEVC, but since it is only the only browser on Windows that supports it at all, we must use it. Safari supports the software decoded HEVC on older processors, but since it does not support HDCP 2.2, we are stuck on Windows, with Edge. And even if you can use software coding, you may run performance issues depending on your model. Yes, it's complicated.
- A Netflix "Premium" account, which costs $ 15.99 per month . This is the only plan with 4K support, but you will also be able to have four simultaneous streams from the same account.
- A copy of Windows 10 and the willingness to either dual-boot your system or run it in a virtual machine. You also need Edge, but it is included in Windows 10.
If you have everything on the list and want 4K Netflix, the process of running Windows on Mac is pretty simple. You have some options:
- Run a Windows virtual machine. A virtual machine runs Windows inside MacOS, so you don't have to switch to Windows completely. You will notice a small performance factor because you run two operating systems at the same time. The World Cup we recommend for macOS is Parallels. It's not free, so you can try VirtualBox if you want, but Parallels has much better performance and is built for MacOS.
- Double boot with Bootcamp, permanently installs Windows on the hard disk next to (or on top) Mac OS. This is an extreme solution, as you will have to restart in another operating system to watch Netflix, but will offer better performance than the others. It is also less prone to bugs than VM software.
- Why not both? Parallels supports running your boot camp partition as a virtual machine. This way, you can fully boot into Windows if you want, but can still access it from macOS. If you have the place on your hard drive and don't mind the extra installation, this is the best solution.
Whatever option you choose, when running Windows, upload Microsoft's Edge browser and come to watch. You will see a new category labeled "Ultra HD 4K" containing all UHD content. You can also use the Netflix Windows app, as it supports HEVC and HDCP 2.2. You can't use Google Chrome, Firefox, or any other browser.
Ultimately, HDCP 2.2 is the primary problem, and for MacOS Mojave, HDCP 2.2 is still not supported. Support can be added to macOS sometime in the future, which will fix this mess. But this has been a problem for some years now, so don't put your hopes too high. Apple TV 4K supports 4K Netflix, so maybe Apple just wants you to buy it instead.