NETFLIX 4K COMES TO THE PC
4K TVs are now a dime a dozen. In that sense, you’d be mad to buy a new HDTV that wasn’t 4K. That’s true despite the fact that there’s relatively little 4K content to watch. For the PC, however, the same logic doesn’t quite apply. At least, it hasn’t done up until now.
That’s because what little 4K content does exist hasn’t tended to be available on the PC. Mainly, that reflects DRM and pirating concerns, which meant streaming video providers like Netflix have declined to open up their 4K streaming for the PC. It’s been reserved for closed settop boxes and smart TVs.
However, that could all be set to change with the introduction of Intel’s new Kaby Lake seventh-generation Core CPUs, known as the 7000 Series. The big news involves new DRM features built into Kaby Lake’s 2D video engine. Reportedly, it could be enough to convince Netflix and other rights holders that the PC is now sufficiently secure for premium 4K content streaming. For sure, Intel has confirmed that Kaby Lake will be certified for Sony’s 4K movie and television streaming service, known as Ultra, sometime in 2017. So, fingers crossed.
Another aspect of Kaby Lake that could make having a 4K monitor worthwhile again relates to that new 2D video engine. It has full fixedfunction hardware acceleration support for the most important 4K video codecs—HEVC 10 and Google’s VP9. The upshot is that a Kaby Lake chip can decode eight 4K streams in parallel. In other words, pairing a Kaby Lake thin-and-light laptop with an external 4K monitor is a goer in terms of 4K video. For games, not so much. But all in good time.