Over the previous 12 months, it’s typically appeared as if Microsoft and Netflix have completed all the pieces they may probably do to stop 4K streaming on PCs. Whereas 4K began rolling out on Netflix a number of years in the past, solely a handful of good TVs have been supported. The scenario has solely improved barely since then. Technically, you possibly can watch 4K Netflix from a PC now, however provided that you run Home windows 10, use Microsoft Edge, and have a seventh technology Intel Kaby Lake CPU. An upcoming Nvidia driver goes to alter that scenario considerably, although there are nonetheless some vital limitations on 4K streaming assist.
If you would like 4K streaming at this time, you could have to join the Home windows Insider program to get the Nvidia 381.74 driver. Nvidia’s site notes that No different GeForce driver will assist this performance presently (emphasis authentic). The Nvidia web site contradicts itself on which GPUs are functionally supported. It states that prospects should have at the very least a GTX 1050 with 3GB of RAM, however at the very least in keeping with Newegg there aren’t any GeForce 1050s with greater than 2GB of RAM. Functionally, this implies you want at the very least a GeForce GTX 1050 Ti. Additionally, you’ll want a 25Mbps Web connection.
You probably have a number of displays hooked as much as your system, the entire shows have to be appropriate with HDCP 2.2. In the event that they aren’t, you’ll both need to disconnect a show or shut it off to observe 4K UHD content material. In case your shows aren’t HDCP 2.2 appropriate, the system will nonetheless stream however will default to 1080p, as proven within the desk beneath.
Lastly, SLI configurations aren’t supported. In the event you run Pascal GPUs in an SLI configuration you’ll need to disable it for 4K (the monitor guidelines nonetheless apply).
That is… higher, marginally, but it surely’s a great distance from strong 4K streaming assist. The potential is simply supported on Pascal GPUs, so these of you with older merchandise are out of luck. Nvidia’s cell GeForce 10 GPUs are all primarily based on Pascal as an alternative of leveraging Maxwell-era rebrands, so at the very least you recognize you’ll be superb when you purchase one among these options, however 4K remains to be content-gated to an terrible small variety of methods.
We noticed the same downside when 1080p video was new, but it surely’s gotten worse now. Again then, you wanted an HDCP-compatible show, a comparatively high-end CPU (or a GPU with VC-1 / H.264 offload, which each AMD and Nvidia rolled out to all of their numerous merchandise inside pretty brief order) and both Home windows Vista or a third-party utility for Blu-ray / HD-DVD playback. Now, you want a complete chain of secured units with the intention to be allowed to observe video from a service you legally bought on a tool you legally personal. (It might be simpler to dismiss Richard Stallman as nothing however a crackpot if some of his predictions weren’t slowly tiptoeing in the direction of actuality).
Nonetheless, this new Nvidia driver will enhance entry to 4K content material for customers that at the moment can’t watch it, and that’s a great factor. Hopefully AMD will observe with a driver of its personal within the not-too-distant future.