Netflix has a decent selection of 4K content now available to enjoy, including the likes of Stranger Things, Glow, Marco Polo, Orange is the New Black, plus a number of movies. These delights can be fervently binged on your PC too, provided you have the right kit. We show you what you need to watch 4K Netflix content on your computer.
Will my PC work with 4K content on Netflix?
Obviously, the demands of streaming and rendering 4K content is a lot more challenging than the 720p or even 1080p videos you might already be watching on Netflix. This quick checklist shows everything you'll need:
- Broadband with a download speed >25Mb/s
- 4K (3840x2160 pixel) monitor or TV
- Windows 10
- Fast processor
- Netflix subscription which includes 4K
The first consideration is whether your broadband is fast enough to handle the large amount of data required to smoothly deliver 4K. Netflix states that this needs to be at least 25Mb/s, with a higher number being preferable.
If you’re unsure how fast your current supply is, try visiting SpeedTest.Net and using its eponymous diagnosis program. This only takes a minute or so, and will give you an accurate speed rating.
If the Downloads result is higher than 25Mb/s then you’re in luck, otherwise you’ll have to satiate your hunger with HD content instead.
Should you find your connection too slow, but remain adamant that 4K is what you want, then take a look at our Best Broadband Deals guide to see whether there are faster services available in your location.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a 4K monitor to view Ultra HD shows. To check this, go to Settings >System on your Windows 10 PC.
At the top of the left-hand column you’ll see the Display section. Select this then in the main panel look for the Resolution section.
If the figure is below 3840 x 2160 then you won’t be able to watch 4K content. Well, technically, your monitor will just scale down the video to fit - what we're saying is that there's little point as you won't see the extra detail as your screen simply cannot display it. You can, of course, upgrade your screen to a 4K model from our roundup of the best monitors.
Bear in mind that the monitor will also need an HDCP 2.2 connection to support 4K playback. You’ll be able to discern this from the manual that came with the display, or by Googling the model number and checking out the manufacturer's specifications.
Another stipulation from Netflix is that your PC has to have an Intel 7th generation Core CPU or better. These are better known as Kaby Lake processors, and only launched in 2016, so your PC will need to be reasonably new. However, certain older processors will be able to play 4K video if they're powerful enough, and there are also lots of recent AMD processors which can also handle 4K playback.
A decent test is to go to YouTube, find a 4K video to watch. Ensure the video is set to display at 4K by clicking the cog icon at the bottom right of the video player and selecting 4K. If everything plays smoothly, it should also be fine with Netflix.
To check which CPU you have in your PC go to Settings>System>About and you’ll see it listed.
It might not say which generation the chip is, but you can garner this from the first digit of the model number. In this case, our tired old rig is running an i5-2467M, the 2 denoting that it's a second-generation chip.
It’s advisable to be on the most up to date version of Windows 10 (previous versions of Windows are not compatible), so be sure to install any upgrades that you might have pending. These can be found be going to Settings>Update & security>Windows Update, and clicking the Check for updates button.
You’ll also need to use Microsoft Edge as your browser, or download the Netflix app from the Windows Store.
Finally, you’ll also need to be on the Netflix Premium tier to be able to receive 4K content. At the moment this costs £9.99/€13.99/$13.99 per month.
Changing your Netflix settings
If you meet all the requirements listed above then all that’s left to do is change the settings on your Netflix account to allow 4K shows and movies.
Open either the Netflix app or point your Microsoft Edge browser to Netflix.com. Log in and then click the Account icon in the upper right-hand corner. From the drop-down menu select Account.
On the Account page scroll down to the My Profile section and click on Playback Settings.
You’ll next be presented with a list of options that range from Auto to High. Choose the latter, click on Save, and you’ll be good to go.
That’s it. You’re should now be able to revel in the glory of 4K content.
Just remember that this will use up a lot more data than HD shows (typically one hour of HD content uses 3GB, while 4K is more than double that at 7GB), so if you have a data cap on your internet connection you’ll want to break out the calculator.
Also find out how to get Netflix on Sky Q.