Netflix and Nvidia team up for 4K streaming

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."

Comments closed
    • odizzido
    • 3 years ago

    As long as it remains HDCP only I am going to hope AMD DOESN’T add support. Netflix can go screw itself with this.

    • Krogoth
    • 3 years ago

    This is all DRM padding and forcing people to get “new” hardware platforms.

    4K media consumption is DOA at this rate.

    • brucethemoose
    • 3 years ago

    [quote<] 3GB of VRAM [/quote<] What the... WHY does a GPU need 3GB of VRAM to decode an encrypted HEVC stream? Maybe it has to buffer all the data in GPU RAM, so they don't sit in main memory where they could potentially be intercepted. But 1GB of 25mbs content is like 5 minutes of video (more than Netflix typically buffers). And 1GB is 80+ raw 4k frames if I'm doing my math right, way more than it needs to buffer. Hmmm... Maybe the stream has to be decoded immediately as part of the standard, so Nvidia has to buffer the stream as raw 4K frames in GPU memory.

    • Chrispy_
    • 3 years ago

    When are these idiots going to realise that people won’t buy expensive DRM hardware just to get minor quality bumps?

    People got stung by region-locked DVDs and encryption
    People got stung by HDCP 1.x and 2.0
    People got stung by Blu-Ray releases that didn’t add anything worthwhile over DVD
    People got stung by cable provider A throttling cable provider B’s shows.

    There is no trust, we’ll just keep using the normal 1080p stuff until all of this DRM rubbish is invisible and costless to us.

      • Glorious
      • 3 years ago

      How many people have 4k monitors?

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        I’m guessing more people have 4K TVs than 4K monitors, many of whom use Netflix, just because the price and feature points of 4K TVs make them an easy buy at Costco/Walmart/BestBuy.

        Now the question of how interested they would be in 4K streaming, and even more specifically, how interested they would be in streaming from a PC with nvidia Pascal graphics, (probably) makes for a small subset.

        • terranup16
        • 3 years ago

        (Raises hand)

        To be fair, my workstation is in my bedroom, servers as my work PC, serves as my gaming PC, and serves as the “TV” in our bedroom. So I have a 27″ 4K LG IPS which is quite snazzy for watching things on. Also very nice for work.

        Going to have to see if the need to have HDCP 2.2 on ALL ATTACHED monitors ends up burning me or not for this though.

        • egon
        • 3 years ago

        I often watch YouTube videos in 4K on my 1920×1200 monitor because they look a lot nicer than the 1080p version, which is so heavily compressed that it’s basically faux 1080p.

        I’d do the same for Netflix if it were possible, in the absence of higher bitrates that’d make 1080p look as good as it should.

    • Voldenuit
    • 3 years ago

    Aand… the content distributors continue to have no clue how *not* to drive users to piracy.

    Goddamnit, people. Make your service so convenient that people would rather pay than pirate, that’s how you get subscribers. Put up a bunch of arbitrary gates and paywalls and watch yourself lose customers.

      • The Wanderer
      • 3 years ago

      Yep – it is, and always has been (for values of “always” dating back at least to the days of the original, pre-lawsuit Napster), far more about convenience than about money.

      Having to pay is inherently inconvenient; in order to get people to do it, the inconveniences associated with not paying have to be greater than the ones associated with paying. (And you also have to have a product people want badly enough to overcome either set of inconveniences, of course.)

      So far the distributors, et cetera, seem to be trying to change that equation overwhelmingly more by making piracy less convenient than by making legal purchase more convenient.

      Commonly, however, the measures they take in pursuit of making piracy less convenient actually make [i<]both[/i<] approaches less convenient - with the unsurprising result that those measures don't really change the balance of motivations at all. There's also the way I saw it put on another site a few days ago: "If your work isn't being pirated, you haven't made it worth pirating - which means you also haven't made it worth buying."

      • Captain Ned
      • 3 years ago

      Aye, but the problem lies not with the distributors, but instead with the content owners. They are the ones who force distributors to use DRM schemes as a condition of licensing them to distribute the content.

      If you want to change the system, you need to convince the Hollywood lawyers that it will be in their financial best interests. Good luck.

      • shank15217
      • 3 years ago

      Netflix is perhaps the most consumer friendly, almost all of their original content can be downloaded for offline viewing, the 4k bit rate issue will resolve itself over time as newer pcs and hardware become compliant. Not sure who you are blaming here.

    • davidbowser
    • 3 years ago

    TL/DR – You need a mid-high end Win10 PC and 4K monitor that you built within the last year to make this work.

    So I had to pull together my “WTF?” list for why this hasn’t happened yet.

    1. DRM driver support (Microsoft Playready 3.0)
    2. 10-bit HEVC (h.265) hardware support (AMD Polaris, nVidia Pascal, or Kaby Lake)
    3. HDCP 2.2 on both video card, cable, and monitor (hardware and drivers)
    4. 25Mbps from ISP

    Did I miss anything?

      • Welch
      • 3 years ago

      Exactly my point, but apparently you I get down voted for pointing out the inaccessibility of Netflix 4k at the moment.

      I suspect DRM is the majority of the reason. HDCP 2.2 on ALL monitors connected. Sounds like you still have to screw with cables pretty much. When is the industry going to learn they spend more money trying to lock things down only to have it cracked shortly after.

      YouTube has had 4k videos since 2014. Granted different encoding, lack of DRM, ECT. So I don’t think it is technical but more monetary protection.

      • rudimentary_lathe
      • 3 years ago

      Yeah, still cheaper to get a dedicated streaming box.

      It’s a shame we can’t do this on Linux. Then again, we’re technically still not allowed to play Blu Ray’s on Linux all these years later.

    • SuperSpy
    • 3 years ago

    How did I miss the fact that Bill Nye has a Netflix show?

      • davidbowser
      • 3 years ago

      He is also doing a book tour. My kids just met him lasts week.

        • Welch
        • 3 years ago

        Sorry to hear that.

          • shank15217
          • 3 years ago

          wtf does that mean?

      • Welch
      • 3 years ago

      Damn good question with all of the non-science content in a “science” show and the big headlines it made due to controversy… I’m very surprised you hadn’t heard.

        • Voldenuit
        • 3 years ago

        I would totally watch a 40 minute show of Bill Nye yelling at dumb people every week.

        • demani
        • 3 years ago

        You prefer to “teach the controversy”?

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 3 years ago

      You’re not missing much… [url<]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wllc5gSc-N8[/url<] Another segment where he says the western world should stop procreating because we put off more carbon emissions than 3rd worlders. So yeah, its agenda-driven trash.

        • slowriot
        • 3 years ago

        I watched the entire run. It’s a disaster. Beyond the climate change episode there’s basically no science and a whole bunch of agenda pushing. The “experts” he brings on are often a complete joke. In some cases, like the infamous episode that clip you posted is from, he is staggeringly anti-science. There’s basically zero representation from people who don’t also follow Nye’s opinions on an issue.

      • rudimentary_lathe
      • 3 years ago

      I made it through 10 minutes of the first show and couldn’t carry on. It’s awful.

    • sreams
    • 3 years ago

    Chromecast Ultra is only $69 and does 4K.

    😛

      • End User
      • 3 years ago

      I fracking love my Chromecast Ultra.

      • demani
      • 3 years ago

      Does Netflix deliver in 4K on that? Might be handy for me…

        • titan
        • 3 years ago

        Yes, but you either need to have 802.11ac wifi or gigabit Ethernet.

          • havanu
          • 3 years ago

          It’s only 25mbits/s. 2.4ghz will do just fine if you’re not to far from a router.

      • Airmantharp
      • 3 years ago

      But will it stream Amazon 4k HDR?

    • Welch
    • 3 years ago

    Granted by the time this goes mainstream it may not be a big deal… But those requirements and caveats are pretty darn stupid. Its about as accessible as an Intel Optane drive.

      • EndlessWaves
      • 3 years ago

      Well, people were complaining they had no reason to upgrade.

    • RoxasForTheWin
    • 3 years ago

    I’m not sure my internet is up to snuff for 4K streaming

      • davidbowser
      • 3 years ago

      The recommendation is 25Mbps or higher.

      [url<]https://help.netflix.com/en/node/13444[/url<]

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