Netflix offers a variety of TV programs and movies in 4K. You can watch these on your computer, but you need the right hardware, internet connection, software and Netflix subscription. It is not as easy as streaming Netflix in 1080p HD.
The hardware you need for 4K
To stream Netflix in "Ultra HD" on your TV, the only hardware you need is a 4K TV and a 4K skilled streaming box. It's pretty simple. On a computer, it is a bit more involved.
You need a computer with a 4K display, that is 3840 × 2160 pixels. You can check the screen resolution by going to Settings> System> Screen and looking at the "Resolution" box.
The display must be capable of running at a 60 Hz refresh rate. It must also support HDCP 2.2. Check the manual that came with your monitor or look at the manufacturer's specifications online to see if the monitor has this feature. Netflix will only offer 4K streaming on your computer if high-bandwidth digital copy protection 2.2 is available.
Netflix also says that your computer needs a processor from Intel 7th generation (Kaby Lake) or newer to stream. But some older processors are working, and many AMD processors will also work. You won't know until you try. You just need a fast enough processor to handle the decoding of the 4K content.
You can find out if your computer has a new enough CPU by going to Settings> System> About. Look for the "Processor" information under "Device Settings." To determine the generation, check the number after the hyphen. For example, in the screenshot below, "i7- 4 790" means that we have a 4th generation Core i7 processor.
Minimal download bandwidth for 4K
According to Netflix, you also need an Internet connection of at least 25 Mbps (Megabits per second) in download bandwidth for 4K streaming. Higher is better.
You can test your internet connection by going to SpeedTest.net or by using Netflix's own Speed.com test tool.
If your internet connection does not meet this speed, you will not be able to stream in Ultra HD 4K on any device. Netflix says that 5 Mbps will enable standard HD streaming in 1080p, however.
Program Requirements for 4K
Even if you assume you have hardware and internet connection to enable 4K streaming, you need to use the right software. You can't just go to Netflix's website in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Netflix will not stream in 4K with these browsers.
To stream Netflix in 4K on a computer, you must use Windows 10, you do not do it on Windows 7. You must use either the Netflix Web site in Microsoft Edge browser or stream with the Netflix app from the store.
Netflix doesn't let you stream in 4K on a Mac either. The only way to watch Netflix in a 4K on a Mac is to run Windows 10 on a virtual machine or through Boot Camp.
Netflix Plan Need
Even if you have everything else, you can only stream in 4K if you pay for the right flow plan. Only Netflix's most expensive "Premium" streaming plan offers 4K content.
You can see which Netflix streaming plan your account uses by going to your account page on the Netflix website and clicking "Change plan".
The 4K Ultra HD plan is $ 15.99 per month – $ 3 per month more expensive than the standard HD plan. However, this makes it possible to stream four units a month instead of two. Maybe you can upgrade and share a Netflix subscription with someone?
Even when paying for 4K, you need to insure Netflix is set to 4K playback. Go to the Account page on the Netflix website and click "Playback settings." Make sure it is set to "Auto" or "High."
If set to "Low" or "Medium", Netflix will use less bandwidth to stream, but it will not flow in 4K.
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How to find 4K content on Netflix
Finally not everything on Netflix will flow in 4K. Only some of Netflix's content is even available in 4K. You can search for Netflix for "4K" or "UltraHD" to find 4K content.