Image: Apple

It’s been a long time coming, but Mac owners will finally be able to stream their favorite shows on Netflix in Ultra HD (4K) quality soon. The only problem is that they’re going to need a T2 Security Chip to do it, which is exclusive to newer models.

The hardware requirement was outed by Netflix, which updated the Ultra HD portion of its Mac support article with the following information:

  • A Mac computer with macOS 11.0 Big Sur installed.
  • The latest version of Safari browser
  • Select 2018 or later Mac computer with an Apple T2 Security chip
  • A 60Hz 4K capable display (with HDCP 2.2 connection if external display).
  • NOTE: Every monitor connected to your computer must meet these requirements to successfully stream in Ultra HD.
  • A plan that supports streaming in Ultra HD. You can check which plan you’re currently on at netflix.com/ChangePlan.
  • A steady internet connection speed of 25 megabits per second or higher.
  • Streaming quality set to Auto or High. More information about video quality settings can be found in our Playback Settings article.

The T2 Security Chip requirement means that only the following Mac devices can stream Netflix in 4K:

  • iMac introduced in 2020
  • iMac Pro
  • Mac Pro introduced in 2019
  • Mac mini introduced in 2018
  • MacBook Air introduced in 2018 or later
  • MacBook Pro introduced in 2018 or later

“The Apple T2 Security Chip is Apple’s second-generation, custom silicon for Mac,” Apple explained. “By redesigning and integrating several controllers found in other Mac computers—such as the System Management Controller, image signal processor, audio controller, and SSD controller—the T2 chip delivers new capabilities to your Mac.”

There is no explanation as to why the T2 Security Chip is a requirement for streaming Netflix in Ultra HD on Mac platforms. What’s funny – as one r/Apple user points out – is that the majority of 4K and 5K iMacs (i.e., the devices that could actually benefit from Ultra HD content without an external monitor) don’t have the specialized chip.

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2 Comments

  1. Interesting.

    I ahven’t had a Netflix subscription in years.

    Do any other platforms require special hardware DRM chips in order to view 4k content?

  2. Interesting.

    I ahven’t had a Netflix subscription in years.

    Do any other platforms require special hardware DRM chips in order to view 4k content?

    This is the first one that I know of. Both Amazon and Netflix just requires HDCP 2.2, if I’m not mistaken. I don’t think Netflix supports AMD video cards, so you either need to stream with a Skylake iGPU or a Pascal and newer NVIDIA GPU for 4K.

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