Nvidia quietly opens 4K Netflix streaming on GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards

No Kaby Lake processor, no problem.

A Kaby Lake processor is no longer the only way to get Netflix in 4K on a PC. Nvidia recently launched a preview version of Netflix streaming in 4K for its GeForce GTX 10-series graphics cards, which use the Pascal GPU architecture.

Nvidia’s GTX 10-series cards launched nearly a year ago with the GeForce GTX 1080. One of the items we noted in PCWorld’s GTX 1080 review was that it and other Pascal GPUs would be able to play 4K Netflix content, because Pascal was certified for Microsoft’s PlayReady 3.0 DRM that Netflix requires for 4K streams on Windows PCs.

But the promise of 4K Netflix for GeForce cards never materialized in the months following our review. Nvidia was then surpassed by Intel in November, when Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors became the first hardware capable of streaming 4K Netflix on a PC, using Windows 10’s Edge browser.

The requirements

The hardware and software needs for Nvidia’s version of 4K Netflix are a little more complicated than Intel’s for now, though you don’t need a cutting-edge processor to get it to work. The CPU doesn’t matter since the 4K decoding is happening on the discrete graphics card. Nvidia requires a GeForce GTX 1050 graphics card or higher with at least 3GB of RAM to stream 4K Netflix videos.

gtx 1080 ports Nvidia

Those HDCP 2.2-compatible ports are key.

That effectively means you need the GTX 1050 Ti or greater since, there’s only a 2GB version of the GTX 1050—unless Nvidia just inadvertently tipped its hand for a future product release. As this is an early preview, perhaps the 3GB requirement will change, because frankly that limitation really sucks for anyone who bought the GTX 1050 as an ideal discrete graphics card for a home theater PC.

Beyond the graphics card, you need an HDCP 2.2 capable monitor or television set, and an Internet connection around 25 megabytes per second or faster.

As for the software, 4K Netflix needs a Windows Insider preview version of Windows 10—presumably the more recent post-Creators Update releases. The reason being is that the required GeForce driver for 4K Netflix—381.74—is only available for Windows Insiders right now. As with Kaby Lake's 4K Netflix support, you’ll need to stream the content via Microsoft Edge or the Netflix app in the Windows Store. Other browsers will stream at lower resolutions.

Nvidia is also adding two very important caveats. 4K Netflix will only work if all your active monitors support HDCP 2.2. Anyone with a multi-monitor set-up will have to deactivate monitors with HDCP 1.x when streaming. SLI fans are also going to have problems. Currently, 4K streaming doesn’t work on PCs with multiple graphics cards, meaning you’ll have to unlink your GPUs.

The story behind the story: It’s not clear when Nvidia’s 4K Netflix streaming will go mainstream. AnandTech reports that the Creators Update added several new API calls for PlayReady, suggesting that the operating system may have been the hold-up in getting 4K Netflix on Pascal GPUs.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags nvidianetflixWindows 10

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Ian Paul

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?