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4K Netflix Arrives On Windows 10, But Only Via Microsoft's Edge Browser (theverge.com) 126

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Netflix 4K streaming is finally heading to Windows PCs this week. While a number of TVs and set-top-boxes already support 4K Netflix streams, the PC has largely been left out of the high-quality streams due to piracy fears. Netflix is now supporting 4K streaming through Microsoft's Edge browser, but you'll need a new PC to actually make use of it. Netflix is only supporting 7th generation (Kaby Lake) Intel Core processors, and there aren't many laptops that actually support both the 4K display required and the new Intel processors. As a result, Microsoft is using the 4K Netflix support as a marketing effort for its Edge browser and to encourage people to upgrade their hardware to watch new episodes of the Gilmore Girls. It all might seem like a bit of a con, but it's largely the fault of DRM requirements from Hollywood studios and TV networks. Content providers have strict controls for 4K playback, so that streams can't be captured and redistributed illegally. The latest hardware decryption features simply aren't available on older Intel processors, and the new Kaby Lake chips now support 10-bit HEVC, a popular 4K video codec.
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4K Netflix Arrives On Windows 10, But Only Via Microsoft's Edge Browser

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  • If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rockoon ( 1252108 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:04PM (#53334947)
    If only things could be decrypted without "hardware decryption features."
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'm guessing they are taking advantage of the new memory protection feature of the selected Kaby Lake processors.

      • Are you talking about SGX? I thought that was only going to be for specific enterprise features? If not, that's going to open up the possibility of impossible to detect malware.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Don't be silly, Windows 10 is the most safe and secure OS in the history of the universe.

    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:40PM (#53335179)
      Content providers have strict controls for 4K playback, so that streams can't be captured and redistributed illegally

      And somewhere, a pirate goes "Another challenge! Bring it on."
      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Way ahead. You have been able to get HDMI capture cards capable of receiving 4k video for a while now. Combine with a device to degrade the HDCP version to one it can handle and job done.

        The company that makes those devices counts Netflix among its customers, presumably as they need it to rip 4k BluRay into a format they can stream.

    • Re:If only... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:41PM (#53335183)
      Of course they can be decrypted in software. The fly in the ointment is that Netflix can't stream the movies and TV shows without Hollywood's approval. And Hollywood insists only on approving solutions on a hardware device basis. This is what delayed Netflix coming to Android. The software itself was easy enough, but Netflix had to get Hollywood's stamp of approval for every Android handset out there running the same software. That's why during the rollout, the Netflix app for Android was or wasn't available in Google's Play store depending on which phone or tablet you had.

      So likely Hollywood is pulling the same shenanigans again, and only approved 4k Netflix streaming for Kaby Lake and the Edge browser at this time. Maybe they'll give approval for older processors and different browsers in the future. Maybe not. It's up to Hollywood - their content, their rules. If you don't like it, support independent artists and producers instead of the Hollywood establishment.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        What about Netflix's original content? Last I checked, they still cap the resolution at 720p for people using HTML5 + Widevine, which is how I use it on my Linux laptop.

    • If only things could be decrypted without "hardware decryption features."

      They can, there's plenty of different processors that support 10-bit HVEC decoding, in fact there's even many Android set-top boxes with ARM processors that can do it just fine. In this case their decoder implementation is taking advantage of Kaby Lake features because they are more efficient at doing it.

  • Is the human eye even capable of perceiving the difference between 1080p and 4k on a desktop/laptop monitor? This just seems so pointless. Of course it makes sense on a large TV, and I realise some people are silly enough to output their PC signal to their TVs instead of getting a dedicated box, but surely they are in the minority. I think I've only used Netflix in a browser a couple of times since I subscribed several years ago, and that was just for testing. What use case am I missing here?

    The DRM inv

    • Is the human eye even capable of perceiving the difference between 1080p and 4k on a desktop/laptop monitor?
      Absolutely.

      I realise some people are silly enough to output their PC signal to their TVs instead of getting a dedicated box, but surely they are in the minority
      Of my world view of people I know in real life and people I know online, a majority do just that

      The DRM involved in this is absolutely despicable
      Sure it is. But it is probably a necessary caveat in contract negotiation for netflix to be
    • by SumDog ( 466607 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:22PM (#53335065) Homepage Journal

      YES! I own a 4k MSI laptop and can totally tell a difference with 4k. I can even use that laptop to power a 4k DCI display:

      http://penguindreams.org/blog/running-a-lg31mu97-on-linux-at-4096x2160-at-60hz/

      It is night and day; even on small screens. If you do a lot of photography work and have a camera that captures over 4000x?, it's really amazing. I love being able to pull up photos in Lightroom and see the entire image in fullscreen without scaling. They're really amazing:

      http://journeyofkhan.us

    • I've got a 32" 4K monitor on my desk. At the viewing distance on a desk, it's probably relatively larger than a 75" TV is at normal couch viewing differences. If you've got even a 24" monitor, you should be able to notice the difference. Now 4K on a 13" screen on a laptop, I'm not sure I see the point.
    • MHZ/GHZ marketing and penis waving. Again.
    • Is the human eye even capable of perceiving the difference between 1080p and 4k on a desktop/laptop monitor?

      Yes easily, though most of the extra resolution 3K->4K is beyond what you can see unless you have a literal home cinema with projector and a hundred square yard canvas.

      The full difference is only seen on sharp details like text (like on a computer monitor), and less so on moving pictures with natural gradients, such as movies. So yeah, the difference in resolution itself is not that visible. The HD

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Yes, the human eye can tell. I have a 4K monitor, a 23.8" monitor to be exact.

      The right question is "does that extra detail amount to anything?" No, not really. 4K is great for photography because you can zoom in and see details. 4K is not really as good for video because video compression tends to destroy 75% of the details to begin with. Most HD video uses a YUV420p colorspace, which means that only 25% of the pixels contain color data. A 444 colorspace would retain that color, hence we get into "HDR" vid

    • Is the human eye even capable of perceiving the difference between 1080p and 4k on a desktop/laptop monitor?

      My eye is, easily. In fact I find that a 1080p monitor is a recipe for eyestrain.

  • Meh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by markdavis ( 642305 )

    Yawn.

    Wake me up when more than even a fraction of 1% of the population can even tell the difference between 1080P and 4K (much less UPSCALED 1080P and 4K). At any reasonable size or distance it really doesn't matter much.

    • Agreed. Unless you have a gigantic screen it's hard to tell with video content. Games, maybe. But definitely not video. Besides that my internet connection would never handle 4K so makes no difference to me.
    • Yeah yeah, we heard the same thing going DVD to Bluray and going from standard smartphone/tablet/laptop screens to retina-level displays and now we're seeing it yet again with 1080p to 4k. Yes not everybody can tell the difference, if you can't then obviously this isn't relevant to you, for those that can it is relevant to them.
      • There is a hugely diminishing return. I guarantee if you double-blind test 1000 random people and place them 10 feet from two identical 70" 4K TV's both playing the same identical video, one playing it from 1080P video upscaled to 4K and the other playing the 4K native, almost nobody would be able to notice any difference, resulting in about a 50/50 chance. And remember, we are not talking about text and stills on monitors... we are talking about Netflix video.

        Sure, there are some small cases where it wil

        • I have a 2K and a 1280p Sony tablet - same size. The difference is very visible, especially for text.

        • There is a hugely diminishing return. I guarantee if you double-blind test 1000 random people and place them 10 feet from two identical 70" 4K TV's both playing the same identical video, one playing it from 1080P video upscaled to 4K and the other playing the 4K native, almost nobody would be able to notice any difference, resulting in about a 50/50 chance.

          Well it depends on what your eyesight is like, how big your TV is and how far you sit from it. The same as with 720p vs 1080p or retina-level screens on smartphones, tablets or PCs. Obviously if those variables align such that you can't tell the difference then it has no value to you so you don't invest in it, otherwise it does. But like I said, if you can't tell the difference then fine, it doesn't matter to you so why are you so worried about it?

          If they focused on things that actually matter, like HDR or color space, it would be different.

          They are doing HDR. Netflix aren't beholden to only doing th

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      I'll wake you up for the next round of marketing 3D in 4K.

      • > I'll wake you up for the next round of marketing 3D in 4K.

        At least 3D is *meaningful*. One can argue how useful it is or how much it is abused with "fake" or invented 3D instead of being shot natively. But most people can easily tell the difference 2D and 3D , and 3D can very much add to an experience (when done right). But yeah, I am sure it will be resurrected again when they run out of 4K hype.

  • How long can the average american stream a 4k movie with the typical data cap they enjoy for a month?
    • by sims 2 ( 994794 )

      88 hours Netflix claims to need 25Mbps for 4K
      Most providers (comcast,att) are switching to a 1TB cap now.
      Or did you mean those of us that can't get wireline service? Oh they're still pretty screwed they either can't get the speed required to watch 4K or can't afford the GBs required to watch it.

  • by BrookHarty ( 9119 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:30PM (#53335117) Homepage Journal

    4k looks night and day different on a 1080p monitor compared to a normal 1080p blueray. When downsampled, the picture looks more detailed.

    There are some 4k nature demos on youtube, using chrome you can test multiple resolutions, 4k/2k/1080 on your monitor and test for yourself the difference.
    4k sampled down, I can see higher detail in the water compared to a 2k resampled. Check out the Nature Relaxation [youtube.com] channel to check out its demo videos, they are watermarked, but make great test videos.

    I saw a video blog that said the reason that 4k on a 1080p looks so well, is the 4 pixel blocks downsampled are no longer sharing chroma, but each pixel is independent, so the higher detail. (I'm recalling from memory, so forgive me if I'm wrong).

    I have a 2560x1400, and 4k looks great even it. So people who say you can see a difference, really need to try some of those 4k youtube videos on chrome.

    • If that's true, then it's a case of bad compression rather than any upsides of 4k.

      • by dwywit ( 1109409 )

        I think it shows up the compression that has to be done get a film to fit on a blu-ray - the Digital Cinema Package files I get to see are "2K", but they're also upwards of 100 or even 200GB - whereas a 2K blu-ray is 25 or 50GB - so there's a lot of data lost from a film when mastered to fit on blu-ray. We're even starting to see 4K DCP disks turn up - I was worried our server or projector wouldn't cope, but apparently it'll just downsample the 4K stream to 2K - so it's throwing away roughly 3 of every 4 pi

      • Technically yes. Realistically no. Content is produced to okay standards of the target device. There are restrictions on bandwidth and common standards at play. You're not going to get that incredible level of graphics on a 1080p steam as a result.

    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I saw a video blog that said the reason that 4k on a 1080p looks so well, is the 4 pixel blocks downsampled are no longer sharing chroma, but each pixel is independent, so the higher detail. (I'm recalling from memory, so forgive me if I'm wrong).

      That is true. The native mode is YUV420, so for every 4 pixels, you have 4 samples of luminance, and 1 sample each of U and V. This is h.264 natively and what Blu-Ray and others use.

      So yes, downsampling does increase quality because you effectively go from YUV420 e

      • Human eyes can barely tell the difference except in contrived cases.

        The more likely reason it looks better is that 4K will simply have had more bits thrown at it in the first place and therefore can still plausibly have more detail after downscaling than a compressed 1080p stream would.

    • I saw a video blog that said the reason that 4k on a 1080p looks so well, is the 4 pixel blocks downsampled are no longer sharing chroma, but each pixel is independent, so the higher detail. (I'm recalling from memory, so forgive me if I'm wrong).

      I saw the video you were referring to, and it was partly true. Yes, of course a higher chroma resolution will look better. But the answer is more complicated than that.

      I say partly because over the years many video players have taken shortcuts on quality in the name of performance or ease of implementation. Video has by and large looked worse than it needed to. Things like disabling deblocking, point resampling chroma, and imprecise YCbCr -> RGB conversion were very common and contributed to a dramatic d

    • by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @10:06PM (#53336613)

      It is true that basically all video encoding these days is done with a 4:1 luma:chroma ratio. So ya 4k video has 1920x1080 chroma samples. However another, probably more important part when talking Youtube is just bitrate. Youtube is pretty aggressive about the bitrates they use to save on bandwidth costs and play on a wide variety of connections. For 1080p30 it uses a bitrate of about 2.5-3mbps. That's pretty crap, considering Blu-rays are usually more in the realm of 25mbps at the same picture size. More bits = more detail in compression, regardless of how many pixels.

      Well it gets a lot better at higher picture sized. 2.5k video is about 8-9mbps and 4k video is about 16-18mbps (these are all for VP9 streams). It's a big jump, more than the resolution increase itself would require for equal quality. Hence, a better output even when downsampled.

      In fact if you were to take a 1080 video from a camera, upsample it to 4k at a high bitrate and feed that to Youtube, the result would look better played at 4k and downsampled to 1080 on your screen than if you just uploaded the 1080 video directly to Youtube simply because Youtube will allocate more bits to its compression.

  • by WaffleMonster ( 969671 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @05:32PM (#53335125)

    4k is an interesting marketing scam given perceptible "quality" issues are a direct result not of limited resolution but rather deliberate efforts to minimize bandwidth requirements for Internet streaming, satellite and cable to just below the threshold where most people would bitch.

    Hey Russia if you could "locate" documents demonstrating collusion with what remains of the Wintel cartel I would be most grateful.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    With piracy you can have all the 4K content on Linux you want.

  • I like seeing technology advance and 4K video looks fantastic but there are still few devices capable of displaying video at these resolutions. Furthermore, Big Telecom isn't a fan of giving people large amounts of data for cheap so anyone that has both limited broadband and limited mobile data will be unable to partake in this offering. The harsh, cold reality is that data infrastructure is pathetically weak in the United States. Since there is virtually no competition with the few big telecoms out there h
  • Use UltraFlix (ultraflix.com) instead for 4K on Windows PCs.
    They stream in 4k without requiring Kaby Lake:
    http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]
  • However, since the folks who own the pipes continue to put caps in place, I don't see 4K streaming going very far.

    Can't have that silly online streaming service compete with our own data exempt offerings. . . no sir. . :|

  • I tried to warn you. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gravis Zero ( 934156 ) on Monday November 21, 2016 @06:07PM (#53335357)

    I told you this was coming but nobody listened. [github.com]

    the lack of a CDM specification was an intentional action by the companies currently drafting the EME for the express purpose of creating hardware dependance. While the EME does not preclude a system agnostic CDM specification, the companies drafting the EME have a vested financial interest in preventing it. If it's too late in the process to add a CDM specification, then the EME should be withheld from the approval process until an accompanying system agnostic CDM specification is approved.

    This has already had real consequences.

    Due to the lack of a proper CDM specification, Microsoft was able to make deals with major content providers to require Microsoft Playready 3.0 [pcworld.com] which uses a CDM that only works on a few browsers, only on Windows platforms and only if you have the latest Intel or AMD CPU. This is also the reason why Linux computers cannot view 4K videos on Netflix website. The only Linux computers that can view 4K content are SmartTVs made by companies that paid Microsoft.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      DRM exists so that approved parties can do approved actions, if everyone could use the CDM (content decryption module) to do anything it wouldn't be DRM at all. The EME (encrypted media extensions) is basically a framework to interact with a locked box but the actual lock is left to the implementation. Just like in the real world where you have tons of different locks and authentication schemes and what you trust to be "good enough" and who should have keys evolves. One "CDM to rule them all" would be like

  • So that actually means it does not arrive on Windows 10 at all.
    Hell, I only just discovered that there is this abomination on Windows 10, next to Internet Explorer, called "Edge" that purports to be some Windows app-version of a browser?
    How many people actually know that "Edge" thing even exists?

  • I know I am an extreme case, probably, but I reallly can't imagine why I would want to pay for a thing like Netflix in any form. I think it has been years since I watched any entertainment programme and enjoyed it - actually, that isn't true, there is something called "Have I got news for you" on BBC, which is occasionally intelligently witty, but it's been a while since I watched it. But if people around here really are interested in sciency/techy stuff, there are several good collections on youtube, such

  • Gilmore Girls (Great show) surely requires 4K. Sarcasm and great quotes sounds better in 4k.
  • I imagine the restrictions will lead to poor uptake. Lots of hassle and 4k, vs little or no hassle and full hd, will lead most to decide that full hd is good enough. Porn sites, on the other hand, are churning our drm free downloadable 4k porn. I can imagine a scenario where a disproportionately high amount of 4k entertainment watched is porn for just this reason (though there again we have the full hd is good enough thing).

  • by allo ( 1728082 )

    - Buy Windows 10
    - Install Edge
    - Rent Netflix
    - Watch Movie
    - On 4K Monitor
    - Cut the Cable inside the monitor and grab the signal after the HDCP-Decoder
    - Send torrentz plz!!!

    As soon as there is unbreakable DRM, someone will start doing so and every new DRM will just be costly to the video service, but cannot help against this method, which just doesn't rely on decrypting it itself.

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