How to Watch Netflix in 4K on a Mac

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Watching 4K Netflix on a Mac is unnecessarily complicated. MacOS is not currently supported by Mac, so you need to run Windows on your Mac. Even then, you will still be limited to the Edge browser. But this can be done.

Why is 4K Netflix a problem for Macs?

4K content itself is not the problem; it's a problem of compatibility, codecs and DRM (Digital Rights Management). And it's not just Macs: 4K streaming is a problem in general. When you show videos on any platform, they must be in a format that your computer understands. The exact method for this is calling a video encoding formatand the program that performs the packaging and unpacking is called a codec. With the rise of 4K content, the world of technology is moving to new codecs and all are arguing about it.

Codecs are built into your computer but may vary from browser to browser. YouTube uses only the VP9 codec for 4K videos, but Safari does not support VP9. 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 browsers to support HEVC playback, it seems that Netflix 4K should be supported in Safari.

But another problem arises with DRM, a way to protect the series against copying and hacking. The DRM used by Netflix for 4K content is the new HDCP 2.2 (Broadband Digital Content Protection), which macOS does not support from Mojave. HDCP is compatible with operating systems and can not be fixed with a more sophisticated browser. You will need Windows (or a virtual machine running Windows) to watch Netflix, all to make sure you do not record shows. And the most important thing is that DRMs do not really work, because the shows will be hacked anyway (often automatically a few minutes after their release), so all that it does, especially in the case of Netflix, is: harm consumers.

You can still watch 4K Netflix content on your Mac, but it will not be easy and it certainly will not be a good solution.

Run Windows on a Mac to watch Netflix

In summary above, you will need:

A 4K TV compatible HDCP 2.2, if the built-in display of your Mac is not 4K or higher. The TV and the HDMI cable must both be Compliant with HDCP 2.2 or nothing will work. You will not see any benefit in streaming 4K content on a 1080p TV or 1440p display on your Mac because it contains more pixels than it can display.
A Mac with an Intel Kaby Lake (or higher) processor: Most Macs manufactured after 2017 will have one. Only Kaby Lake processors or higher have specialized hardware to decode HEVC much faster. Edge only supports decoded HEVC hardware, but since it is the only Windows-based browser that supports it, we need to use it. Safari supports HEVC software decoded on older processors, but since it does not support HDCP 2.2, we are stuck on Windows using Edge. And even if you could use software decoding, you might experience performance issues depending on your model. Yeah, 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 have four simultaneous streams from the same account.
A copy of Windows 10 and the will to double-boot your system or run it on a virtual machine. You will also need Edge, but it is included in Windows 10.

If you have everything on the list and you really want Netflix 4K, the process of running Windows on Mac is quite simple. You have some options:

Run a Windows virtual machine. A virtual machine runs Windows in macOS, so you do not have to switch to Windows completely. You will notice a slight drop in performance as you run two operating systems at once. The VM we recommend for macOS is The parallels. It's not free, so you can try VirtualBox if you wish, but Parallels has much better performance and is designed for macOS.
Double boot with Bootcamp, permanently installing Windows on your hard drive next to (or above) macOS. This is an extreme solution, because you will have to restart under a different operating system to watch Netflix, while offering better performance than others. It is also less subject to bugs than virtual machine software.
Why not the two of them? Parallels support run your boot camp partition as a virtual machine. This way, you can start Windows completely if you want, but you can still access it from macOS. If you have enough space on your hard drive and the extra configuration does not bother you, this is the best solution.

Whichever option you choose, once you use Windows, load the Microsoft Edge browser and start watching. A new category called "Ultra HD 4K" containing all UHD content will appear. You can also use Windows application of Netflixbecause it supports HEVC and HDCP 2.2. You can not use Google Chrome, Firefox or another browser.

In the end, HDCP 2.2 is the main problem and, from Mojave macOS, HDCP 2.2 is still not supported. Support can be added to macOS in the future, which will correct this mess. But this has been a problem for a few years now, so do not wait too long. the Apple TV 4K support 4K Netflix, so maybe Apple just wants you to buy it instead.

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