Here’s Why 4K Netflix and Amazon Are Not Available For PC or Mac

Following Netflix’s lead, Amazon has also started streaming 4K Ultra HD instant video to Prime subscribers at no additional charge. However, both services seem to have limited Mac and PC users to 1080p video despite the hardware being ready for it. According to Richard Doherty, research director at the technology-assessment and marketing-analysis firm Envisioneering, this may just be another means of DRM (via MacWorld).

Netflix 4k ultra hd

Doherty believes that the decision is not anything against either platform or the processor. “It’s the matter of the security of the platform. The TV is secure and has no output to it. I and your readers on a PC or Mac could intercept the 4K [content] and therefore transmit it to a country that doesn’t have the rights”, he said. Doherty also pointed out, it took 18 months to develop the security that movie studios thought would sufficiently protect DVD playback on PCs.

“Soon after DVDs came to market, illicit movie theaters began popping up In countries such as India, where bootleg copies of movies would be shown at a fraction of the price legitimate movie houses were charging. These pirate palaces switched over to Blu-ray as soon as it was introduced, so Hollywood is concerned about its commercial 4K content getting into the digital wild.

With 4K, he predicts we won’t be able to stream to a PC or Mac until sometime next year, when the next version of HDCP is finalized. You can be sure that Intel, Apple, and all the PC OEMs will make sure HDCP 2.2 doesn’t leave their platforms behind, but that doesn’t help us now”.

Well, looks like that shiny new 5K iMac of yours won’t be streaming Netflix in 4K anytime soon. Isn’t it frustrating?

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  • Chrome262

    what about apple TV?

  • rvs007

    Apple TV can’t output higher than 1080p anyway.

  • jabohn

    What a waste of time. They will always find a way around the security measures.

  • Chrome262

    ah yes, you are correct. Not that I have anything close to 4k

  • Shorty_dammit

    4k is useless for a TV in your livingroom anyway. Go here to see how big you have to go and how far away you have to sit. Try punching in 1920×1080 and 60″ and see what you get. Coincidentally, my 60″ TV is 96″ from my couch. Now punch in 3840×2160 and 60″ and see what you get. Are you going to sit that far away from a 60″ TV? Change it to 120″ and see what you get. Are you going to sit that far away from a 120″ TV? I certainly am not. If I could even afford a 120″ 4k TV. Seriously, 4k is useless for a TV in your livingroom. Know what you watch that’s 4k? If you’ve been to a movie in a theater lately, *that* is where you have seen a 4k picture.

  • rvs007

    It doesn’t mean you *have* to sit as close as what the calculator suggests. It’s the minimum display to get retina so you can still sit further away. In my case, for my home theatre in the basement, I have a 106″ screen set up running 1920×1080 so the calculator says minimum distance is 13.75′ from the screen. But I prefer to have my couch at around 10-11′ due to space constraints. So if I switch to 4K projector & screen, then I can achieve retina since the minimum distance becomes 7 feet.

  • Shorty_dammit

    That’s not a minimum distance. That’s a *maximum* distance. Beyond that distance you’re wasting money on something you aren’t seeing. A 60″ 4k set in my current living room setup will be indistinguishable from my current 1920×1080 TV. That was the whole point of my example.

  • rvs007

    I guess it depends on the setup. Like I said, my current set up where I’m sitting I wouldn’t achieve retina resolution with a 1080p display. So I would see a benefit by going to 4k.

  • Shorty_dammit

    And preference as well, I suppose. I wouldn’t want a 120″ screen in my current setup, even if it were free. I certainly couldn’t afford a TV worth more than my car. And I would find it too big for my taste. I don’t want to be swivelling my head around all the time while watching something. 😉 I find the 60″ I have at the distance I have it to be just right for me. I guess I have to remember I’m not the same as everyone else. All I was really trying to point out was there are physical restrictions in our eyes that have to be remembered when trying to determine if more resolution makes any sense. And I think in most cases 4k doesn’t make sense for a home. A projector setup as you describe is likely much more affordable than a direct-view TV of a size to make 4k worthwhile. No reasonably priced 4k direct-view TVs on the market of a size worthwhile. The ones that are of a worthwhile size are like $85,000! No thanks. I’d find much better use for that kind of money. Hehe

  • rvs007

    agreed… more benefits when upgrading to 4k with a 100″+ screen size and much cheaper compared to direct-view TVs.

  • FamiGami

    Except that you can intercept the picture output on a smart tv so the excuse is meaningless.