Several Mac desktops and laptops have all the hardware they need to stream 4K HDR video from services like Netflix, but they’ve been hamstrung by Safari’s limited video codec support. Luckily, Apple is updating its stock browser with support for the HEVC codec so users can finally watch 4K HDR shows and movies on Netflix directly in Safari.
HEVC is coming in this year’s big Safari 14 update, which is included as part of macOS Big Sur. The Big Sur update is still a few months away from public release, but you can try it out early by downloading the developer beta right now.
This is a great upgrade for Mac users, but you’ll need more than just macOS Big Sur and Safari 14 in order to play 4K HDR Netflix streams. Only a small number of Mac devices have the necessary hardware to stream 4K HDR content on Netflix. These include:
- 2018 or 2019 MacBook Pro
- 2018 Mac mini
- 2019 Mac Pro
- iMac Pro
Supported MacBook Pro and iMac Pro models can play the video natively on their displays, but you’ll need to be using a 4K HDR monitor or TV in order to watch with a Mac mini or Mac Pro, or if you’re connecting your MacBook Pro or iMac Pro to an external display via HDMI or DisplayPort. You’ll also need an Apple USB-C Digital AV adaptor or an HDMI cable in order to connect your Mac to your 4K TV or monitor.
The other necessary piece of the 4K HDR puzzle is a strong wireless network. Streaming such high-resolution content requires a solid, speedy connection, so make sure your home network is up to the task.
4K HDR Netflix support is just one of the many new features coming later this year with Apple’s new OS updates. Be sure to check out our roundup for all the upcoming iOS 14 features, and read Apple’s patch notes for the upcoming Safari 14 release here.