Netflix and Nvidia team up for 4K streaming


— 10:00 AM on May 1, 2017

Devices as inexpensive as a $70 Xiaomi's Mi Box can stream 4K video from Netflix when connected to a compatible TV. To date, the only way to replicate such a feat with a PC was to use the integrated graphics on an Intel seventh-generation Core processor. That meant that HTPC users with Kaby Lake CPUs that wanted a bit of gaming performance were left choosing between 4K streaming, the ability to play games, or fiddling with cables. Thankfully, an upcoming Nvidia driver will allow for Netflix 4K streaming on Pascal graphics cards with at least 3 GB of RAM.

Driver version 381.74 will be initially distributed only to Windows Insider Program users through Windows Update. No other GeForce drivers will allow for Netflix 4K streaming. The feature will only work in conjunction with HDCP 2.2-compatible monitors, too. Multi-monitor systems are supported, though all attached displays must support HDCP 2.2. Also, Netflix 4K streaming so far only works in Microsoft's Edge browser and the Netflix app distributed through the Windows Store.

Configurations with multiple graphics cards are also supported, but only when SLI is disabled. The half-dozen users with SLI'd Pascal cards in an HTPC setup will surely be bummed out. The VRAM requirement means that the desktop GeForce GTX 1050 and the rumored GT 1030 will be left out of the party, as will cards based on Nvidia's older Maxwell and Kepler architectures. For anyone keeping track, in practice, that means that only users with GeForce GTX 1050 Ti cards or above need to apply.

Personally, I am crossing my fingers that AMD will counter this move with updated Radeon Software Crimson ReLive Edition drivers that offer the same feature. The combination of 4K streaming from the most popular paid video streaming service and AMD's power-saving framerate limiter would truly allow systems to "Netflix and Chill."

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