Netflix logo from the Windows 10 app on a PC

Netflix offers a variety of TV shows and movies in 4K. You can watch these on your PC, but you’ll need the right hardware, internet connection, software, and Netflix subscription. It’s not as easy as streaming Netflix in 1080p HD.

The Hardware You’ll Need for 4K

To stream Netflix in “Ultra HD” on your TV, the only hardware you need is a 4K TV and a 4K-capable streaming box. That’s pretty simple. On a PC, it’s a bit more involved.

You’ll need a PC with a 4K display—that’s 3840×2160 pixels. You can check your display’s resolution by heading to Settings > System > Display and looking at the “Resolution” box.

The resolution of your PC's display in Windows 10's Settings app

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 PC if high-bandwidth digital copy protection 2.2 is available.

Netflix also says your PC needs an Intel 7th generation (Kaby Lake) processor or newer to stream. However, some older processors reportedly work, and many AMD processors will also work. You won’t know until you try. You’ll just need a fast enough processor to handle decoding that 4K content.

You can discover whether your PC has a new enough CPU by heading to Settings > System > About. Look for the “Processor” information under “Device Settings.” To determine the generation, look at the number after the dash. For example, in the screenshot below, “i7-4790″ means we have a 4th generation Core i7 processor.

Viewing the generation of your computer's Intel CPU

Minimum Download Bandwidth for 4K

According to Netflix, you’ll also need an internet connection with at least 25 Mbps (Megabits per second) in download bandwidth for 4K streaming. Higher is better.

You can test your internet connection by heading to SpeedTest.net or by using Netflix’s own Fast.com speed test tool.

If your internet connection doesn’t meet this speed, you won’t be able to stream in Ultra HD 4K on any device. Netflix says 5 Mbps will enable standard HD streaming in 1080p, however.

Netflix's Fast.com speed test showing 500 Mbps

Software Requirements for 4K

Even assuming you have the hardware and internet connection to enable 4K streaming, you have to use the right software. You can’t just head to Netflix’s website in Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Netflix won’t stream in 4K with those browsers.

To stream Netflix in 4K on a PC, you have to use Windows 10—you don’t do this on Windows 7. You must use either use Netflix’s website in the 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 by running Windows 10 in a virtual machine or via Boot Camp.

Netflix Windows 10 app showing Wine Country film teaser

The Netflix Plan You’ll Need

Even if you’ve got everything else, you can only stream in 4K if you’re paying for the right streaming plan. Only Netflix’s most expensive “Premium” streaming plan offers 4K content.

You can see which Netflix streaming plan your account is using by heading to your Account page on Netflix’s 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, it does allow for streaming on four devices a month instead of two. Perhaps you could upgrade and share a Netflix subscription with someone?

Netflix standard HD plan vs. premium Ultra HD plan

Even once you’re paying for 4K, you’ll have to ensure Netflix is set to 4K playback. Head to the Account page on Netflix’s website and click “Playback Settings.” Ensure it’s set to “Auto” or “High.”

If it’s set to “Low” or “Medium,” Netflix will use less bandwidth to stream, but it won’t stream in 4K.

Netflix data usage per screen playback settings

RELATED: Why Netflix Doesn’t Care If You Share Your Account

How to Find 4K Content on Netflix

Finally, not everything on Netflix will stream in 4K. Only some of Netflix’s content is even available in 4K. You can search Netflix for “4K” or “UltraHD” to find 4K content.

Searching for 4K content in Windows 10's Netflix app

Chris Hoffman Chris Hoffman
Chris Hoffman is Editor in Chief of How-To Geek. He's written about technology for nearly a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The New York Times, been interviewed as a technology expert on TV stations like Miami's NBC 6, and had his work covered by news outlets like the BBC. Since 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have been read more than 500 million times---and that's just here at How-To Geek.
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